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By Phil Spencer

Founder, Move iQ


Why Material Information could make 2023 a Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve recharged the batteries and have a shiny list of resolutions to make 2023 as successful as possible.

While no one should underestimate the potential for economic problems, I’m approaching 2023 with optimism. Few analysts predict more than a five per cent price correction and there are signs that inflation and interest rates may be at or near their peak.

What will be most concerning, however, will be transaction volumes - put simply, will people have enough confidence to take the plunge as sellers and buyers?


One way to encourage them will be for agents to make a virtue out of something that is gathering momentum in the industry - the demand for maximum ‘material information’ within listings on agents’ websites, in printed property details and on the portals.

This is a real way for agents to prove they are ‘honest brokers’ between sellers and buyers. But there’s work to be done.

Agents not yet compliant

Possibly lost in the noise just before Christmas was a worrying statistic produced by a conveyancing group that only 16 per cent of property listings have complied with the new upfront information rules.

Agents are currently required to include the property price, tenure and council tax information on listings under ‘Part A’ of Trading Standards’ new material information rules. Later this year - 2023 - will see Part B and Part C introduced, including features such as flood risk, broadband quality and the level of mobile phone signal.

This may be an additional chore for agents but there’s a more positive way to look at it.

As we move from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market, so the opportunity for agents to provide the maximum information on a property - upfront - should mean there are fewer fall throughs. Instead of purchasers discovering unexpected problems late in the day, these will be identified much earlier by the agent and vendor, and if possible ironed out.

If they are insurmountable, then the asking price and marketing campaign can take the issues into account early on, instead of being the cause of a lengthy time on the market and sales collapsing, adding to everyone’s frustration and costs.

The right tech for the job 

The portals are ahead of the game having made provision for these items of material information on their pro forma listings - but the problems with non-compliance appear to have come from agents’ own software.

A survey by the Conveyancing Association suggests that the Customer Relationship Management software used by some agents isn’t pulling down the right info from sources - making the details less comprehensive than they could be, or will have to be to conform with new Trading Standards rules in 2023.

Agents modifying the use of their existing CRMs, or chasing CRM providers to make the appropriate changes, will pay dividends and will mean the provision of the extra info is much more straightforward.

More consumer awareness

A measure of the seriousness with which the push for more material information is being taken is the arrival of a video, being promoted on social media and aimed at consumers.

It’s been produced by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team and came out just before the festive break.

It covers the Part A changes only but makes no bones about the long-term goal when it says: “Property listings are changing. If you are searching for a property to rent or buy you might notice that the property adverts now give you more detail than they used to. This is to help you make a more informed decision whether it might be the right home for you or make further enquiries about.

“These essential details are referred to as material information are appearing on property adverts such as those found on a property website or an agents particulars and provides some of the information you need to know before deciding to go ahead.”

You can see the video here

A resolution worth keeping

I’m firmly of the view that the more upfront information for the would-be buyer, the better - and not just because this may reduce fall throughs and speed up sales.

The provision of such information places the selling agent in the best light as authoritative and trustworthy. These are vital qualities to assist in the scramble for market share should the total number of transactions drop in the coming 12 months.

Good luck with material information and good luck with your trading in the year ahead!

*Phil Spencer is a presenter, author, businessman and property investor. Phil’s consumer advice platform Move iQ, is a website, YouTube channel and podcast. Each preserve and reflect the same impartiality that consumers trust and base their property moving plans.

  • Rob Hailstone

    Parts B & C may also require information on the type of title:

    Absolute Freehold or Absolute Leasehold
    Good Leasehold
    Possessory Freehold or Possessory Leasehold


    Length (term) of any lease
    Restrictive Covenants
    The accuracy of the title plan

  • Richard Copus

    The term of the lease has to be stated already. Not to include easements on the property particulars would fall foul of CPRs because a footpath going across the back garden or adjoining pony paddock, for example, would materially affect the buyer's transactional decision adversely, or in plain English - many people suddenly discovering there was a footpath right across their land would not be happy and feel that they had been misled. Some of these new information requirements are doubling up on consumer protection already in place. A classic example of too much regulation!


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