Book a demo

Let a friendly Gnomen expert answer all of your questions and take you through the system online in 15 minutes. Just choose a time that suits you.

username pass repass
CAPTCHA Image Refresh
Sales: +44 (0) 208 123 9019 Support: +44 (0) 208 629 1208

Montana H

Business Development Director

Share Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

Professionalising the industry – what’s the future for agents?

For a while now the government has talked about its desire to reform and improve the home buying and selling process in the UK, and it recently announced measures to ‘professionalise’ house buying and the estate agency business as a whole.

In a statement released on Sunday April 8, a number of proposals on how to improve and regulate the industry were put forward.

This included plans to crack down on gazumping and sales falling through, as well as strengthening enforcement to root out rogue agents.

What are the new measures?

Sales and letting agents will be required to hold a professional qualification and be transparent about the fees they get for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers. The government will also set a timeline for local authority searches to allow buyers to secure the information they need within 10 days.

What’s more, guides will be published on ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ to make sure consumers are more aware of the process and have a better understanding of the questions they should be asking.

The government will also work closely with consumer groups and the industry to create ‘a consistent set of performance metrics for conveyancers’. This, in turn, will enable customers to make a more informed choice when it comes to the legal side of the buying or selling process.

Furthermore, the government will encourage the use of voluntary reservation agreements, designed to stop sales falling through and limit the unpopular and controversial practice of gazumping. And it will also seek to strengthen the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team to enable them to carry out a higher level of enforcement activity, including the banning of rogue agents.

How many agents will be affected?

Well, the government predicts that there are currently around 20,000 estate agent businesses operating in the UK, with anyone – regardless of qualifications or experience – able to practice.

The government says its proposals will change that, professionalising the sector, upping standards and creating a ‘more trustworthy and reliable’ industry who will be held accountable in a far better and more thorough manner.

More than one million homes are bought and sold in England each year, according to government data, with delays and complications during the process causing undue financial and emotional stress to customers. The uncertainty this causes can then, understandably, lead to hesitancy, confusion and delayed decisions – a big part of the reason why approximately a quarter of house sales fall through every year.

House sales falling through is bad news for everyone – the industry, the economy, buyers, sellers, agents, etc – and 25% is certainly a worryingly high number. The government is therefore keen to rectify this and make the whole process less stressful for all involved.

Recent research by the government shows how important reducing the hassle involved with a house sale is. With over six out of 10 buyers and sellers complaining of stress during the home buying and selling process, the need is there to find solutions.

What’s more, a quarter of sellers said they would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the selling process again, which suggests that certain agents are not living up to the standards that consumers demand.

Professionalising the industry across the board will help to drastically limit the number of rogue operators and root out those offering sub-standard service, while requiring every agent to have qualifications will give customers the confidence that they are dealing with someone who knows what they are doing and with the experience and credentials to back this up.

A positive reaction

While the majority of agents already offer a thoroughly professional and reliable service, there is clearly dissatisfaction with elements of the house buying and selling process. And, as with any industry, there is always room for improvement.

As such, the government’s measures were positively welcomed by agents and property professionals. Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, welcomed the commitment to further regulation, while others talked about how the industry had needed sharpening up for a long time.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said of the proposals to professionalise the sector: “Estate agents play a vital role in the sale and purchase of one of the biggest assets we’re ever likely to own yet for too long they’ve had no prescriptive rule by which to operate. This announcement will give homeowners and buyers greater assurances when getting involved in the buying and selling process.”

The conveyancing industry, too, backed the government’s reforms of the home buying and selling process.

The announcements to professionalise and regulate the estate agency sector followed hot on the heels of proposed changes to the lettings sector, with a mandatory code of practice and the implementation of a nationally-recognised qualification.

Professional agents need professional websites

An essential element of being a respected, professional agent is having a website and software that reflects this. At Gnomen we can provide both, with our cloud-based, all-in-one system enabling you to manage all aspects of your business at the click of a button.

These days, the best agents have well-designed and informative websites – our website design service can ensure yours stands out from the crowd with bespoke designs, unique features and easy usability.

For more information about what we can do for you, please get in touch with us on 0208 123 9019 or book a free demo here.

Share this article

Share Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

Montana H

Business Development Director

Twitter LinkedIn

Gnomen news

The countdown to GDPR why compliance is crucial

The introduction of strict new data regulations is now only a matter of days away.On Friday 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and apply to all countries in the EU.As Britain is still a member of the union at this point, the new rules will be unaffected by Brexit.

> Read more

Heres why the rise in Millennial renters is a good

> Read more

Build to Rent growth means letting agents

One of the fastest-growing parts of the private rented sector is Build to Rent, where large-scale, institutional investors pump money in to provide bespoke, purpose-built rental accommodation for tenants.

> Read more

Digital futures: Why HM Land Registry is the latest to embrace tech

For a well-functioning property market, with transactions occurring regularly and with minimum disruption,

> Read more

The rollout of superfast broadband can benefit letting agents

> Read more

How can estate and letting agents avoid customer problems during transactions?

Some 54% of people who have sold, rented or bought a property in the last five years have faced problems during the process, new research from NAEA and ARLA Propertymark has revealed.

> Read more

PropTech is mainstream and that is why agents need to embrace it

Before now, there could have been accusations that PropTech was a bit of a niche market; an outside disrupter rather than part of the in-crowd.

> Read more

Is bitcoin the future currency of property sales?

> Read more

Estate and letting agents 2018 dates for your diary

> Read more

latest budget outlines britains digital future

> Read more

agents benefit as property prices London

> Read more

Fees ban draft bill: 5 key questions answered

On November 1, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published the draft for what is to be known as the Tenants' Fees Bill.

> Read more

Property firms must come to terms with Artificial Intelligence

Property firms must come to terms with Artificial Intelligence Companies have been warned that they must get to grips with emerging, disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) or risk becoming obsolete.

> Read more

Agents need to be wary of fraudulent computer virus scams

Agents need to be wary of fraudulent computer virus scams Cyber-crime is one of the great challenges of our time, and it's something estate and letting agents need to be aware of.

> Read more

Range of lettings measures announced during party conference season

Range of lettings measures announced during party conference season The political party conference season usually springs a few surprises and it was those of us working in the property industry who this year were required to sit up and pay attention.

> Read more

MPs debate unintended consequences of proposed letting fees ban

> Read more

Busiest time of the year for letting agents almost upon us

If you are a letting agent it is likely that your workload is about to get a lot busier

> Read more

Agents urged to prepare for introduction of new data protection legislation

It might not be something you have given much consideration to but new data protection legislation is coming into effect from next year that will have a significant bearing on your estate or letting agency business

> Read more

Letting fees ban set to go ahead but no timeline specified

One of the most contentious issues in the lettings industry at present is the proposed ban on letting agents fees to tenants.

> Read more

Complaints against agents - are they on the rise

A few weeks ago, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) launched its latest annual report at the House of Lords, revealing a rise in the number of formal complaints resolved by the redress scheme as well as a record total of compensatory awards paid by estate and letting agents.

> Read more