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The homebuying process needs to change now ‒ Rudolf

by: Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association
  • 06/11/2023
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The homebuying process needs to change now ‒ Rudolf
Earlier this month, the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) – an organisation the Conveyancing Association is heavily involved in – launched its discussion paper: ‘How to improve buying and selling in England’.

It seems like such a simple statement to say that we all want to see improvements in the homebuying and selling process, that we want to make buying and selling homes ‘easier and more certain’, and that we want to see the speed at which transactions complete measured in weeks rather than months.

I can think of few property market stakeholders who wouldn’t want to see the same thing; indeed, an incredible number of stakeholders have been involved in a variety of workstreams which focus on just this.

And yet, we still find ourselves at a point where – even with a huge amount of work having been done, ongoing initiatives being underway, and a variety of solutions to many issues having been developed – we are still in need of a Discussion Paper which seeks agreement on how we get to this end goal, and what is required to get us there.

Why change is needed

My next point was going to be that ‘I think we would all agree that change is required’, but having thought about this and spoken to many people over many years, I’m not sure some people do think change is required.

Or perhaps they don’t think the change required is achievable?

And yet, any view of the current situation and the statistics that underpin it, should – in my view – lead you to a conclusion that the status quo isn’t working.

For example, the average time from sale to completion is 210 days, according to Rightmove, which somehow beggar’s belief.

As the discussion paper points out, why should people have to put their lives on hold for over six months in order to move, especially when there are no guarantees that the sale will actually go through?

And, according to ViewMyChain, almost one in four sales will fall through after an offer has been accepted, which of course leaves with it a trail of missed opportunities and incredible disappointment, not to mention all the wasted money, effort and resources for those involved.

It’s no wonder moving home is considered one of the top three most stressful events in life.

Of course, if we want to bring it back to ‘brass tacks’ within property-market-related sectors, then waiting for over six months for a completion, means waiting over six months to get paid.

How can you adequately plan for business and grow a pipeline when it takes so long for a case to go through?


‘Strong case’ for changing homebuying process

In just those few points, I think we have a strong case for changing the homebuying process.

But it is vitally important we now put forward how the process can be changed so those sale-to-completion day numbers fall, as well as the number of fall-throughs.

I’ll leave you to read the discussion paper, which outlines what the HBSG is calling for, but it’s important to be realistic here in terms of what is achievable and over what timeline.

It’s important to let property market stakeholders have their say on what’s on the table, what can work, what can’t, and any other suggestions which might get the right results, but in a potentially different way.

The paper also splits out the ways in which we can change the way we move now, and the ways in which we should move in the future, because these differ, and will continue to evolve particularly as the technology evolves.

And we are clearly going to be putting great faith in technology to help solve some of the issues we continue to encounter.

This is truly about getting a homebuying and selling process that works for all stakeholders, and is ‘predictable and transparent’. Advisers and lenders are pivotal to this and we want to hear from you regarding your views on what is proposed in the paper.

So, if you are able to read the discussion paper, available here, and would like to provide feedback, you can do so via the HBSG LinkedIn page, available here.

All thoughts welcome, no judgements made, and in my view, the more we can get consensus in these areas, the better the chance we have of getting what we want and need.

Imagine, just for one moment, if it were as simple as this:

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