he government has revealed that it is to begin a field trial of a binding standard reservation agreement that all buyers and sellers will have to sign at the start of the conveyancing process.
Announced in February, the idea is being developed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and a working group chaired by research firm TwencyCI and will be tried ‘later this year’.
Called the Home Buying and Selling Group, it includes solicitors and several estate agents and has spent the last 11 months considering different ideas including binding offers.
The field trial was revealed by housing minister Heather Wheeler at an industry conference organised by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.
During her speech, Wheeler said she wanted to “to increase people’s commitment by ensuring that they’ve got some skin in the game.”
“That’s why we’re taking forward our work to develop a standard reservation agreement, working with the industry-led Home Buying and Selling Group.”
The group is tasked with working across all the sectors involved in buying and selling homes in order to speed up the process and reduce the number of fall-throughs.
During her speech Wheeler reminded delegates that failed transaction cost buyers and sells £270m every year, and said that other reforms would be introduced to also improve information provision, accountability, consumer confidence competition and innovation.
“We not only want to protect consumers, we want to be their champion, because frankly, they deserve better than the current system allows,” says Wheeler.