Which? calls for next government to review role of estate agents

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Consumer organisation Which? is calling for the next government to review the role of estate agents in the ‘out-dated’ home buying and selling process.

Which? also said that all political parties should set out in their manifestos how they intend to improve the home-buying process for consumers.

In particular, said Which?, parties should commit to ensuring that estate agents deliver a better service for both home-buyers and sellers, and that the conveyancing process is simplified.

The call comes after new research by Which? found that home buying and selling ranks as one of the top three consumer concerns for half (49%) of 18- to 34-year-olds.

Younger people consider it more of a concern than social care for older people (46%) or energy prices (34%).

For adults of all ages, three in ten (28%) cite home buying and selling as a top three priority for the next government, rising to four in ten (42%) for those living in London.

Which? research last year showed that three in ten (28%) house purchases fall through, leading to an average loss to the potential buyer of £2,200, and that it typically takes four to five months to complete a property purchase.

Which? says the next government should conduct a thorough review of the home-buying process to make the system easier particularly for buyers. The review must examine the role played by estate agents and conveyancers.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of Home Products and Services, said: “Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases consumers ever make and one of the most stressful life experiences.

“It takes people far too long to buy property and home-buyers are losing out on substantial amounts of money due to flaws in the system. The next government must fix the outdated home-buying process.”

Over a year ago, then Chancellor George Osborne said he would “shortly” be calling for views on how the home buying and selling process could be improved. That call never came.

Which? has been vociferous in calling for a ban on letting agent fees but this is an indication that it could be turning its fire on sales agents.

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Written by: Houseladder