Home Buying and Selling Group unveils industry pledge

The Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) has unveiled an industry pledge to support home movers in England and Wales. Since lockdown, the HBSG has been working with the home moving industry to help ensure the home moving market operates as well as it can during COVID-19 and beyond.

The group produced pan-industry guidance on the day the moving market opened back on the 13 May, which included consumer guidance via checklists, however the group has now launched an industry-wide pledge to begin to introduce transparency, for the industry and for consumers buying and selling a home.

The pledge lays out what each profession within the housing industry needs to do and when. This hopes to help to ensure as much information is provided as soon as possible in the buying and selling process. Within the pledge, HBSG are recommending the industry to advise consumers to appoint a property lawyer on the day a property is marketed which already happens for auctions in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

HBSG are also recommending buyers to secure their decision in principle early and instruct a property lawyer before making an offer so their ID can be verified and money laundering checks carried out quickly.

The group claim that none of the advice is ‘new’, but that the industry has pledged to work together to offer consistent advice to all consumers, helping to ensure they play their part and put the emphasis on securing information, which could affect a sale or purchase, sooner rather than later in the process.

Many organisations and groups involved in the home buying and selling process have signed up to the pledge including NAEA Propertymark, The Law Society and RICS.

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.”

“We would welcome more organisations and companies to sign up to the pledge.”

Joe Arnold, managing director of Arnold & Baldwin Chartered Surveyors, added: “Delays in the home moving process are obviously a hot topic at the moment as the surge in transactions to make the Stamp Duty holiday window is putting pressure on capacity at every stage.

“But this pledge from the Home Buying and Selling Group isn’t just a temporary fix for a current problem, it forms the basis for a more efficient and effective market. The HBSG has taken input from professionals across the home buying process, including Arnold & Baldwin, and the pledge includes some really important suggestions and nuggets of advice that will help transactions progress more easily. If all documents are available up front, it sets everyone up for ultimate success.”

HBSG claim to have a series of communications planned to ensure consumers are reminded of what they need to do when moving home to protect themselves and those in the property profession from the spread of COVID-19. At the start of October, there will be specific consumer communication about the pledge and what consumers need to do to help make it work.