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Agents say slow house buying process is industry’s biggest issue

A survey of 5,000 agents suggests the slow house selling and buying process is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today. 

Respondents were asked to rank the biggest problems they faced in transactions.

Some 74 per cent cited the lack of speed in a transaction, followed by just over 40 per cent saying a lack of control over how the sale was progressing. 


The three next worst elements for the responding agents were a lack of visibility in seeing progress, concern about the poor experience consumers were suffering, and worry about insufficient revenue being earned from the sale.

The findings chime with comments last week by conveyancing industry chief Beth Rudolf who suggested the one change which would most improve the slow house buying process was the provision of upfront information.

Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, told BBC Radio 4 last week: “If we can get sellers … to collate their information together, they get their searches done themselves, if they’re selling a flat … then they get the leasehold information in, that means when a buyer is found they’ve got everything that the buyer needs, that their valuer needs, that their lender needs to be able to review the information.”

The findings of this latest survey - by portal OneDome - also echo those of recent research commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 



In its study of recent homebuyers and sellers, the BEIS found some 59 per cent of purchasers and 57 per cent of vendors found the process longer than expected - one in four said the process was much longer than expected.

When asked what could be improved, speed was the most common response, from 34 per cent of buyers and 31 per cent of sellers.

  • Mike  Stainsby

    To me this ranks right up there with 'Smoking is bad for you' and 'Having a huge cooked breakfast every morning probably causes heart disease'. Estate Agents and home movers being asked about the speed of transactions will always elicit the same responses and produce similar headlines over and over again. It is great to see a proportionate amount of column inches recently to solutions to the problem too. Home movers and Estate Agents need to seek out ways to speed up transactions upfront data is a good start.

  • icon

    Surely no one is going to question the findings above. The house buying and selling process involves a number of different parties, with no one party in overall control. This has created a blame culture, "the holdup is somewhere else in the process". We need to change this to "What can we do now to help different parties prepare for the sale". We need to help the consumers, the buyer and seller prepare for the process. Their understanding of the process needs to improve and all parties need to prepare and communicate better.


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