'Strong support' shown for home buyers' 'pack' proposal

A research summary report published today has revealed "strong support" among home buyers and sellers for the Home Condition Report, which forms part of the government's Home Information Pack proposals.

The proposals have been created to address the problems associated with selling homes in England and Wales. Around 60% of home sales involve chains, which comprise an average of four transactions, and if a single transaction fails the whole process can then collapse.

Under the present system key information required to inform buyers' and seller's decisions only becomes available after terms have been negotiated and agreed. Home Information Packs will address this by ensuring key information is available up front.

Housing Minister Keith Hill said: "Far too many home sales collapse or are seriously delayed because problems with the condition of the property only coming to light late in the transaction after terms have been agreed.

"The Home Condition Report deals with these problems by providing right at the start of the process objective, impartial, reliable information about the condition of the property"

The research, a consumer trial of the Home Condition Report (HCR) carried out by the Building Research Establishment among home buyers and sellers taking part in real home sales, found that: 95% found the HCR useful and 79% said it was very useful; and 88% of buyers and 78% of sellers believed the HCR accurately reflected the condition of the property.

And almost all (98%) of sellers interviewed and all buyers found the language used in the HCR very easy or fairly easy to understand.

Reactions of estate agents involved in the trial were also generally positive, with 70% of agents finding the report useful. More than half (55%) considered it was advantageous to them to have the report available for homes they were marketing, and 43% said it helped the sale of the home. Only 10% felt it hindered the sale.

The present home buying and selling process in England and Wales is among the slowest in Europe, is fraught with delays and failed transactions, encourages problems and does not look after the interests of home buyers and sellers, research has shown.

Legislation to introduce 'seller's packs' was introduced in Part 5 of the Housing Bill on 8 December 2003. The Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on 12 January 2004.


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