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Property specialist welcomes new measures to professionalise estate agents

Parkmans, property specialists in south east Wales, have welcomed new measures, announced this week to professionalise estate agencies in England, in order to bring rogue agents to an end, and hope similar measures will soon be introduced in Wales.

Westminster Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced the new measures which will be introduced to drive up standards. This comes after government research showed more than six out of ten buyers and sellers have experienced stress, and around a quarter of sellers said they would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again.

With over one million homes bought and sold each year, delays and complications during the process cause unnecessary financial and emotional stress to customers. This uncertainty can lead to delayed decisions and contributes to over one quarter of house sales falling through annually.

Charlotte Burles Corbett, Manager of Parkmans said,

“We very much welcome this announcement in England. I will be writing to the Housing & Regeneration Minister for the Welsh Government, Rebecca Evans AM, to encourage her to consider introducing similar measures in Wales. At Parkmans we insist that our estate agents are qualified but for many years that has meant we have had to compete against these sorts of rogue estate agents on an unfair playing field. We have always said that estate agents should be recognised as professionals in the same way as solicitors and accountants.”

Estate agents in England will now be required to hold a professional qualification and to be transparent about the fees they receive for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers. Other measures to make the system easier, faster and more transparent include:

  • Encouraging the use of voluntary reservation agreements to help prevent sales falling through and crack down on gazumping
  • Setting a timeline for local authority searches so buyers get the information they need within 10 days
  • Requiring managing agents and freeholders to provide up-to-date lease information for a set fee and to an agreed timetable which will end the current situation where leaseholders are at the mercy of freeholders and their agents
  • Strengthening the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team so they can carry out more enforcement activity which includes banning agents.

As a result of the new measures guides on ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ will be developed and published to ensure customers are better informed of the process and know what questions they should be asking.

The government will also work with consumer groups and industry to develop a consistent set of performance metrics for conveyancers, so consumers can make a more informed choice. Innovative digital solutions will also be developed to speed up the home buying and selling process.