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News & Legislation October 15, 2019
     

New homemover guides highlight need for agent compliance

With the assistance of The Guild of Property Professionals and other experts, the Government has released a How To Buy a Home guide and a How To Sell a Home guide, which provides homemovers with an overview of the entire process of purchasing and selling a property. The guides give potential buyers and sellers the key steps in the processes, as well as which organisations they can contact for help if required. 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild, said: “We are very pleased to be a part of this project and to be able to assist the Government in educating people about buying and selling property. Buying a home is a massive step, in fact, for most people, it will be the largest financial decision they will ever make. It is vital homemovers are able to make informed, confident decisions, knowing what to expect from the process and their estate agents.”

The guides will act as a benchmark to determine what homemovers can expect when dealing with estate agents. “As much as the guides are aimed at sellers and buyers, estate agents will need to ensure that they are acting in accordance to the guides and ensure they are fully compliant,” says Paul Offley, The Guild’s inhouse Compliance Officer. “For example, agents need to ensure that they are adhered to the requirement to fully disclose referral fees.”

He adds that the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team issued guidance at the end of February regarding the requirement for agents to disclose the amount of fee agents may earn by referring a seller or a buyer to a third-party provider such as a conveyancer or mortgage/insurance broker. “These referrals all form part of the ‘journey of the transaction’ and are aimed at helping support buyers and sellers through that process. It is important that the industry is able to demonstrate full transparency on any fees they may earn as part of this referral process, this then enables sellers and buyers to be aware of all the facts before they make a decision. These new guides now include this information for sellers and buyers,” Offley explains. 

He continues that The Guild has been working with its Members to ensure this information is provided, and to regularly check on Members’ compliance with this requirement as part of its compliance assessment support it provides to its Members. 

According to McKenzie, while first-time buyers and sellers will find the guides particularly useful, they are also useful tools for all homemovers who can benefit from understanding the latest key steps.  

Essentially, the aim of the guides is to help people avoid stress and to speed up the process by knowing which questions to ask, what their rights are, and what responsibilities they have as homebuyers or sellers. “It is imperative that homemovers are aware of their rights and understand whether the agent they are dealing with is compliant and acting in accordance with the law. Guild Members have compliance tools at their disposal and we regularly present them with the updated information on the latest legalisation requirements. Our in-house compliance officer, Paul Offley, is also at hand to help ensure Members are giving the quality and high standards our customers have come to expect,” says McKenzie. 

For more information about the home buying or selling process or to download the guides visit gov.uk.

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