Home Buying and Selling Group industry pledge to support home movers

We’ve worked with the property and conveyancing industry through the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) to produce a uniform industry pledge that can be provided to buyers and sellers in this unusual market.

The Home Buying and Selling Pledge

The pledge indicates some of the tasks that buyers and sellers can perform at an early stage which may operate as a small step towards progressing transactions.

Knowing that a transaction needs a certificate for fire safety for cladding or balconies (EWS1) at the earliest stage can reduce wasted costs.

There are no new obligations on solicitors or the other professionals involved.

Setting out all the obligations in a short statement should give information to buyers and sellers about some of the steps they need to take to enable the purchase and sale to go ahead.

The pledge's aims

The aim of the pledge is to reduce the current pressure on solicitors and industry resources by making a few changes to the way home movers buy and sell their home.

In addition, it could help your clients’ chances of being able to take advantage of the government’s stamp duty land tax holiday by the deadline of 31 March 2021.

We hope that the pledge will make consumers aware that the sooner their solicitors can carry out their work, the quicker the sale contract can be prepared.

What the pledge means for solicitors

The following pledges relate directly to conveyancing solicitors:

Seller’s property lawyer

  1. Where suitable, discuss the advantages and costs of preparing as much information as possible for the buyer at the earliest stage.
  2. Where suitable, check title information and provide advice to the seller about any issues that could cause delays and suggest solutions.

Buyer’s property lawyer

  1. Outline to the buyer the importance of obtaining a suitable level of condition-based home survey.

What the pledge means for buyers and sellers

The pledge recommends that sellers instruct a property solicitor on the day they market their property and fill in the property information forms as soon as they can.

It also recommends that buyers secure a mortgage agreement in principle and make sure the money they need is readily available.

The methodology

The methodology behind the pledge has already been tried and tested in Northern Ireland, where it had a positive effect on the time and ease with which people moved in a pre-COVID-19 environment.

Other evidence comes from:

  • the National Association of Estate Agents transaction reform trial, which reduced transaction times
  • UK property auctions, where all the information is provided upfront in a legal pack

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