Change Property Purchase Legislation To Give People Better Guarantees

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Have you ever bought or sold property in England or Wales?

You need to read this. My issue effects all the sellers, buyers and property professionals (estate agents and solicitors) across England and Wales.

Currently, the law allows any party to withdraw from the purchase up until exchange of contracts without any penalty.

I hereby state my petition

Any such transaction may take several weeks depending on many factors -  local authority searches, proactiveness of agents, solicitors, buyers and sellers alike, it causes huge anxiety and stress to all the parties involved. People often put their lives on hold (and into their boxes) and unfortunately in some cases, when one party changes their mind and withdraws, people lose a considerable amount of money, their wellbeing is effected and lives are turned upside down. It is certainly not the way that this country should deal with the sale and purchase of property.

This process also effects the middleman – an estate agent. A good agent spends hours and hours negotiating and progressing a sale for their client and when the sale does not complete, this agent goes home hungry. Meaning they do not get paid, as commission is paid only on successful completion. This  effects profitability of the business and ability to offer employment, creating a vicious circle where there is no winner.

Solution

I believe we should look at the model of other administrations, such as Scotland or other countries, where once the buyer commits they have to stay committed or are subjected to a penalty. That means we get all the legal paperwork ready before a property goes on the market. We are transparent. We are honest, People know what they are buying, there are no nasty surprises.

As a consequence, any prospective buyer will have all information upfront and will have an opportunity to consider the paperwork, consult their legal representative and then make a legally binding offer. 

I believe it would be fairer to have a 14 days preliminary offer period, during which time the necessary legal activities could be carried out and everything would be ready for exchange and completion. During that period the property would be still on the open market unless the buyer is ready to close (confirm the offer legally) earlier.

My reason for petition

I am an owner of independent estate agency. I have also been a seller, buyer, tenant and landlord in my lifetime. I’ve seen it all. I know how stressful it is to prepare for a move and put your life into boxes just to find out someone pulled that ‘Welcome’ rug from under your feet. I’ve seen it in my business and I also experienced it myself.

We, collectively, as a nation started paying attention to mental health and I believe we need to address poor structure of property purchasing here in England. This for me means transparency, good business practice and reduction in emotional stress for sellers and buyers.  I also believe that if you do work, you should get paid (talking as a property professionals). I believe that if you make commitment, you should fulfil it.

I decided to write this petition after many conversations with clients over years where everyone is always concerned sale falls through and a recent experience where the seller is absolutely distraught when the buyer pulled out at the eleventh hour for no apparent reason.

I believe this is the most unfair legislative process of the English law with regard to the sale of property. I find it absolutely unbelievable how vulnerable sellers of property are, due to the lack of a secure sale. There are stories of many people’s lives being shattered when the buyer decides to terminate the agreement for no apparent reason.

As an estate agent we only get paid on the successful transaction of a sale. Due to the current law and process in England, with regard to the sale and purchase of property, we frequently find ourselves working  for nothing.  Notwithstanding the fact that the seller may be left distraught.

 I truly hope my petition will be read and considered to make life of property owners in England better and less stressful when it comes to buying and selling property.

Please seriously consider reviewing the current process for buying and selling of property in England at your earliest convenience, I would welcome the opportunity for further discussions on this serious matter

I look forward to hearing from you

Sarka Wilde