Myth busting upfront Material Information

NTSELAT’s complete guidance on Material Information Parts A, B and C has been live in the property industry since Nov 23. And while Estate Agents have been working hard to get up to speed with the new guidance, it’s clear there are still some barriers to overcome and myths to bust when it comes to the law requiring Material Information and its ability to create a consumer-focused moving process.

Although we as property professionals understand that Material Information represents an opportunity to avoid fall-throughs and disinstructions as well as speed up transactions, there are still fears that Material Information might be disruptive to the moving process. These misconceptions can in part be explained by consumer psychology and how they feel after a sale is agreed – the sudden urgency to complete is driven by loss aversion, and as a result, they can interpret Material Information as an obstacle, rather than a benefit.

To help dispel these myths we caught up with Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at The Conveyancing Association, to discuss overcoming the perceived barriers to a consumer-focused home moving process.


Myth 1: Sellers won’t complete Material Information questionnaires before finding a buyer

Reality: Sellers are more comfortable completing forms early on

Experience shows that psychologically, sellers are more inclined to complete necessary forms at the point of listing their property. At this stage in the process, they are motivated to get their property market ready, they want to do everything they can to get their property ready for sale. But, once a buyer is found, sellers often become anxious about disclosing information that might deter the buyer and are preoccupied with their own move. By instructing the seller’s conveyancer at the time of listing, sellers can complete questionnaires more quickly and thoroughly and with the right motivations to ensure all property information is reviewed upfront.


Myth 2: Buyers cannot rely on seller-completed questionnaires provided by Estate Agents

Reality: They can, it doesn’t take away from necessary due diligence

As long as the seller completed the questionnaire or information comes directly from the relevant authorities or is verified by the seller’s conveyancer, buyers, lenders, and valuers can rely on it for due diligence. Of course, data from the Land Registry on the tenure is more reliable than a seller’s memory, which is why we get the official documents. But when it comes to the TA6 or BASPI questions we rely on the seller’s responses.  Where it is based on opinion or of particular importance to the buyer, the buyer’s conveyancers will do more due diligence, For example if the seller says they didn’t need planning permission for an extension but the buyer intends to extend further, then it is likely that you would check with the local authority or a specialist as part of your due diligence.


Myth 3: Buyers don’t read any information or advice given after a sale is agreed

Reality: Providing Material Information early encourages buyer engagement and informed decision-making

Once a sale is agreed, buyers are often more focused on their move and view any negative information as obstacles. Psychologically they see it as a challenge to be overcome, with loss aversion having a big impact when they have already put money into the transaction. By providing Material Information before an offer is made, buyers are more likely to read, absorb, and understand its implications. It will also reduce risk and wasted resource for conveyancers and Estate Agents, as buyers will be more inclined to offer on properties more suitable for them and select a lender who will lend on it.

89% of consumers who responded to the survey** thought it would benefit buyers or both buyers and sellers if the Material Information was available.


Myth 4: Sellers won’t pay for the Property Pack including searches to be provided

Reality: Most sellers support upfront Material Information

Consumer research shows that 98% believe the provision of upfront Material Information is a good idea, 71% think the seller should pay for it and 23% thought both buyer and seller should pay. 60% said they would pay £300-plus to provide it!

Those companies already providing a Property Pack advise that they have had no push back from sellers, who are not only willing to pay, but complete the questionnaires more quickly than when they instruct after they have accepted an offer.


Myth 5: Searches ordered at listing will be out of date by contract exchange

Reality: Most transactions complete within acceptable timeframes

9 out of 10 transactions complete within the six-month period, referenced by the UKF Handbook. Though this is an arbitrary timescale; searches of course are out of date the moment they leave the search company, you will not get an email from the Local Authority if they add another charge the day after they sent you the search – however they will serve notice on the seller and that is why the seller is obliged to notify their buyer of any notices received prior to completion.


Myth 6: A buyer can’t use the seller searches

Reality: We’re all protected by the same code

The Search Code provides liability protection to anyone relying on the search, regardless of whether it was obtained by the seller or buyer. The search result direct from the authority will have the same data and indemnity protecting anyone relying on it.

The Law Society Conveyancing Handbook B.10.2.1 refers to the seller including searches in the pre-contract pack.


Myth 7: Having to pay for Property Packs would reduce market activity

Reality: Historical data shows no decrease in listings

When Scottish Home Reports were introduced, there was no reduction in the number of properties coming to market. Similarly, companies offering Property Packs in England and Wales report no pushback from sellers. Providing upfront information doesn’t deter sellers but rather facilitates smoother transactions, reducing the number of failed transactions by two-thirds in Scotland. Companies in England and Wales also report that the production of a ‘Contract Ready Property Pack’ significantly reduces fall throughs and sellers dis-instructing and selling through competitors.

As with any new regulation, there is a learning curve for professionals and consumers to get to grips with how Material Information requirements impact the transaction process. Based on the evidence we have seen so far, and the projections of Material Information experts, the new requirements provide only benefits to the buying and selling journey – securing transactions with less chance of fall through and helping buyers make more informed decisions. To get more support on navigating the new Material Information requirements, visit our Material Information Hub at:

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