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Written by rosalind renshaw

A new campaign is being launched aimed at shaking up the way residential property is bought and sold.

Home owners would be required to have surveys done on their property before putting them up for sale, and make them available to prospective purchasers, while agents could be among those forced to pay damages if they drag their heels.

The Get A Move On campaign is calling for the introduction of a legally binding contract within a week of an offer being accepted, committing both buyer and seller to the contract, and a fixed timeframe of no more than six weeks for the deal to be completed.

The campaign also wants to see survey fees standardised across the country.

The campaign is launched by online agent Russell Quirk, of eMoov. He said changes were long overdue, with the way property is bought and sold having remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years.

He said that the way solicitors need to send documents manually back and forth makes the process cumbersome, and that this, combined with local authorities combing archives to establish the history of ownership, and lengthy property surveys, means that the entire process is too protracted, taking an average of ten weeks to exchange contracts.

Quirk says local authorities and solicitors as well as agents should be required to pay damages for maladministration should they slow up the transaction.  
It is estimated that one in three property purchases fall through, at an estimated waste of £800m.

Quirk said: “The aim of the campaign is to ensure that both the buyer and the seller are better protected and to reduce the stress of buying a home so that more people can take confident steps on the property ladder.

“We believe that the current system is antiquated and that a few simple legislative changes will hugely improve the process, saving consumers money, time and emotional stress. After hundreds of years, the time has come for change.”

He told Estate Agent Today that lenders and valuers are today’s major cause of delays.

He said: “Maybe with the advance of technology, surveys will be a thing of the past, given automated valuation models. Maybe surveyors could recruit more people.

“It’s not a difficult job, after all, given that every valuation survey results in the surveyor calling a plethora of estate agents for ‘comparables’ in any case.
“Lenders MUST be subject to legislation to ensure that they process offers quicker.

“The entire industry needs to be shaken up and despite there being some logistical issues as per ‘this is the way it has always been done’, the process has to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and improved.
“Change is needed and inevitable, unless the forces of apathy hold such an improvement back. We don’t ride horses to work any more, after all.”




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    Is it April 1st?

    • 02 November 2013 17:06 PM
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    Then Home report is still alive north of the wall, yes, but its far from well or adding any benefit to the process

    • 01 November 2013 13:36 PM
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    online agents............

    has he never heard of HIPS and does he not know that the Home Report is still alive and well in Scotland.

    what a total nonsense advert and the time i spent reading it i shall never get back!!

    • 01 November 2013 10:14 AM
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    What a hopeless idea! Forget it and move on.

    Yes, I just checked. It is April 1

    • 01 November 2013 09:33 AM
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    All well and good but we have a legal profession that cant deal with active sales/purchases as they are so short staffed, surveyors pretty much the same, so now every house that is listed needs all the same work up front.

    Just not going to happen unless its law, look at HIPs slated by EA and killed off. It did not go far enough.

    The lenders do not accept someone else valuations, they want to instruct the surveyor so they have the contract with them to sue them, the lender of course writes his cheque to the lender not surveyor for that very reason.

    • 31 October 2013 11:46 AM
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    A week to commit. That really would get people rushing into making decisions. Isn't a 14 day cooling off period the norm in most industries.

    I can however see his point, the legal side of buying and selling takes an age when it really doesn't need to.

    During a recent private sale I made, the buyers solicitor went skiing for two weeks and my solicitor had to sit on the paperwork until he returned.

    The system I am afraid definitely needs a kick up the jacksee.

    • 31 October 2013 11:39 AM
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    “It’s not a difficult job, after all, given that every valuation survey results in the surveyor calling a plethora of estate agents for ‘comparables’ in any case.

    So who should they ring to get the most up to date comparable evidence.

    • 30 October 2013 15:30 PM
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    @ fence-sitter,

    'primarily to suite facilitators who choose to work on a no sale no fee basis, seems to me a tad risky...'

    worth pointing out the instigator of this campaign is an online agent, who charges an up front fee, so the length of transaction, and whether it falls through has no bearing on his fee income.

    I can only assume therefore that Russell's motivation for this campaign is a genuine desire to improve the way the transaction works for all parties.

    • 30 October 2013 13:05 PM
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    @ Hound - If buyers and sellers are genuinely happy to commit so much earlier, and thereby surrender the freedom they currently enjoy, then fine. After all, they represent the market that we serve! But changing the way things work in such a fundamental way, primarily to suite facilitators who choose to work on a no sale no fee basis, seems to me a tad risky...

    • 30 October 2013 12:35 PM
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    The biggest issue and cause of most stress in the way property is bought and sold in this country is uncertainty.

    Not convinced that Russell's concept is perfect, but in my view, anything that removes that uncertainty is a positive thing for all concerned, including agents! Never been a fan of pre sale surveys, as I do believe the buyer should make their own investigations.

    @ Fence-sitter, totally agree that people have the absolute right to change their minds, but as with all things in life, not just a property transaction, sooner or later, one has to make a commitment or nothing happens, so why not sooner?

    Something broadly similar works in Scotland!

    • 30 October 2013 12:26 PM
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    Totally agree that there is plenty that could be done to speed up transactions - but whether that should include legally binding contracts within a week, I very much doubt. The fact is that the vast majority of fall-throughs happen simply because either the buyer or the seller changes their mind, for one reason or another. And why shouldn't they? After all, it's the biggest financial decision most of us ever make. Forcing both parties into a legally binding commitment so soon in the process could have a disastrous - and permanent - impact on transaction volumes.

    • 30 October 2013 10:55 AM
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    Is it April 1st?

    Another online agent trying to reinvent the wheel whilst getting publicity (well done on the publicity!).

    Russell Quirk - its a quirky idea but will fail

    Did you ever hear of HIPS..........

    • 30 October 2013 09:28 AM
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