The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agents (NTSELAT) recently led a consultation on “material information” and with it coming to a close, implications for the industry are a hot topic.
The NTSELAT suggest that providing more information on property listings upfront will allow agents to meet legal requirements at the very start of the consumer journey. They propose improvements to the content shown on portal property listings – usually the first step in a transaction as consumers search for their next home.
They argue that more information upfront will not only help buyers, but that there are benefits for Agents too; “Not only would timely provision of this information make the journey that much easier to navigate for potential buyers and tenants; it could also help to save time-pressed estate and letting agents many wasted hours spent on enquiries that don’t come to fruition.”
Under 2008 legislation, agents must include material information on property listings but there is evidence to suggest that practises around disclosure are far from consistent with uncertainty as to what constitutes as material information, which the recent survey sought to gather information on.
The NTSELAT says it is also working with property portals and industry bodies to look at how it can be made easier for agents to provide more material information in property listings, but with agents already under significant administrative and legislative strain, it may not be met with huge enthusiasm, even if beneficial in the long run!
iamproperty is already looking ahead with key product developments in this area with its innovative new solution; movebutler.
It’s been designed to make the home buying and selling journey easier for agents, sellers, buyers and solicitors whilst allowing agents to maximise revenue opportunities, speed up the process and save time; all whilst ensuring they are meeting the highest compliance standards; including fulfilling material information obligations.
movebutler provides agents with a Title Register check and download at the point of instruction– flagging any potential issues for resolution before a buyer is even found. This includes information relating to the property tenure; helping Agents adhere to TPO guidance on including “basic key information such as service charges; ground rent; the length of years remaining on the lease; any known special conditions, and advise sellers and prospective purchasers that there may be additional fees that could be incurred for items such as leasehold packs”¹.
By providing this information, agents are in a better position to provide guidance to sellers and prospective buyers, adding value through their expertise for an improved customer experience.
When onboarding, the seller can choose to provide an upfront Legal Pack which includes material information such as Title documents, EPCs and even surveys which can then be shared with any interested parties. Some of this information is already recognised as key “material information” and some Legal Pack options allow the seller to pre-instruct a Solicitor before a buyer is found to get the legal process started including pre-enquiries and draft contract creation.
By encouraging the creation and sharing of more information upfront, movebutler allows prospective buyers to make a more informed decision, helping to reduce the risk of a fall-through later in the process. It also helps pave the way for a smoother, quicker transaction resulting in a great customer experience and improved cash flow for agents with fees paid quicker –movebutler can reduce completion time by around 4 weeks*.
Consumers are looking for a better moving process with only 43% of consumers claiming a positive or very positive experience and 82% wanting to be able to access information in one place. By working with iamproperty agents can enhanced their existing offering to provide transparency and control via a personalised customer dashboard where clients can track their sale or purchase from start to finish.
It’s time for the modern move with iamproperty movebutler.
Find out more about movebutler or book a demo to see movebutler in action.
*Based on upfront legal preparation and draft contract when Solicitor instructed pre-sale.
¹The Property ombudsman Code of Practise for Residential Estate Agents Oct 2015 Point 7k. https://www.tradingstandards.uk/media/documents/commercial/codes-of-practice/tpo-sales.pdf
Source: “IMPROVING THE PROVISION OF MATERIAL INFORMATION FOR PROPERTY SALES AND LETTINGS” National Trading Standards, Estate and Letting Agency Team, 2020.