An online petition has been started by an independent estate agent seeking a radical overhaul of how homes are sold in order to reduce fall-throughs.
Sarka Wilde, founder of Distinct Property Consultants in Chipping Norton and Banbury, says in her petition that sellers’ wellbeing and finances are both adversely affected by the uncertainty built in to the current way of transacting property.
“I decided to write this petition after many conversations with clients over years … and a recent experience where the seller is absolutely distraught when the buyer pulled out at the eleventh hour for no apparent reason.
“I believe this is the most unfair legislative process of the English law with regard to the sale of property. I find it absolutely unbelievable how vulnerable sellers of property are, due to the lack of a secure sale. There are stories of many people’s lives being shattered when the buyer decides to terminate the agreement for no apparent reason.”
In addition, she says it’s commonly the case that because of the high level of fall-throughs, estate agents effectively work for nothing on a number of deals that do not reach completion.
“A good agent spends hours and hours negotiating and progressing a sale for their client and when the sale does not complete, this agent goes home hungry. Meaning they do not get paid, as commission is paid only on successful completion. This effects profitability of the business and ability to offer employment, creating a vicious circle where there is no winner” she states on her petition, which has been posted on the Change.Org website.
Instead, Wilde advocates the adoption of a Scottish-style system, where a much higher volume of information is prepared up-front to give the buyer the maximum data on which to make - and stick with - a decision to purchase.
In that system “once the buyer commits they have to stay committed or are subjected to a penalty. That means we get all the legal paperwork ready before a property goes on the market. We are transparent. We are honest, People know what they are buying, there are no nasty surprises” claims Wilde.
She calls for a 14 day preliminary offer period, during which some legal paperwork could be sorted. “During that period the property would be still on the open market unless the buyer is ready to close (confirm the offer legally) earlier” she suggests.
The petition - which has so far received only minimal publicity in the industry press - will ultimately go to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
You can see the petition here.