Conveyancing Association urges all member firms to endorse HBSG buying and selling pledges

The Conveyancing Association (CA), the leading trade body for the conveyancing industry, has today urged all its member firms to endorse a series of home buying and selling pledges for property stakeholders, designed to make the progress of transactions as quick and smooth as possible.

The pledges have been put together by the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) and all those who sign-up, will be encouraged to follow-them and urge other stakeholders to do the same.

By doing this, the HBSG believes a more streamlined home purchase/sale process can be delivered which will cut down on the average time taken to complete a transaction – currently 20 weeks – and also give purchasers the best chance of taking advantage of the Government’s stamp duty holiday which runs out at the end of March 2021.

The pledges – which only apply in England and Wales – outline the measures each stakeholder can take to give the transaction the best chance of completing, covering off the Seller, Buyer, the Selling Agent, the Seller’s Property Lawyer, the Buyer’s Property Lawyer, the Buyer’s Mortgage Adviser, and the Buyer’s Surveyor/Valuer.

As a starting point, the HBSG is urging both the Seller and the Buyer to take preliminary action to reduce the time it takes to sell or purchase:

  • Sellers should instruct their Property Lawyer on the same day as they market their property and fill in the property information forms provided to them as soon as possible.
  • Buyers should make sure they have received a ‘mortgage offer in principle’ or, if paying with cash, make sure they have evidence of the funding available to them.

The CA is fully supportive of Sellers and Buyers taking these measures and wants its member firms to spread the message of the pledges in order to help achieve a successful sale or purchase in the quickest time possible.

The CA has also urged member firms to follow the pledges that pertain to them.

Specifically, for conveyancers, the pledges urge the Seller’s representative (where suitable) to discuss the advantages and costs of preparing as much information as possible for the buyer at the earliest stage, and to check title information and provide advice about any issues that could cause delays and suggest solutions. The buyer’s representative should outline to the buyer the importance of obtaining a suitable level of condition-based home survey.

The full list of industry pledges can be viewed at: https://www.conveyancingassociation.org.uk/download/5389/

Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at the Conveyancing Association, commented:

“Post-lockdown there is a considerable amount of focus on what we can do as an entire industry to speed up the home buying and selling process. In order to get to completion as possible, every single stakeholder can make – and follow – these specific HBSG pledges that are relevant to them.

“We all know that, when working for the seller, the sooner the conveyancer can begin carrying out the legal work, the quicker they can prepare the sale contract, and the better chance we have of hitting the ground running. Also, by checking the title of the property upfront we can head off any potential issues or problems early on, ensure no documents are missing, and again process the transaction far more quickly.

“This is why we’re urging not just our CA member firms to adopt these pledges, but every single property market stakeholder, in order that we can carry out the work relating to our own part of the transaction quickly, but also encourage all others to do likewise.

“We have a real opportunity here to improve the home buying and selling process for every single person involved in it, and these industry pledges will go a long way to doing just that.”

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, said:

“This Government is committed to ensuring the housing market works for everyone, and our work with the industry has helped to restart the market in a way that is safe. I welcome this pledge from the industry and look forward to seeing it deliver a smoother and more efficient experience for all those looking to buy or sell their home.”

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