New Guidance on Property Sales Released by OFT

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has released new guidance on property sales in the UK. The report is aimed at helping estate agents and investors in knowing how to advise customers on buying and selling real estate...

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has released new guidance on property sales in the UK. The report is aimed at helping estate agents and investors in knowing how to advise customers on buying and selling real estate. It covers the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.

Canvendish Elithorn, senior director of the OFT's Goods and Consumer Group, said: "Buying and selling a property is usually one of the biggest purchases we make and can also be one of the most stressful. Unfair business practices can cause substantial losses or frustration to buyers and sellers." Therefore, this guidance, which has been created by the Trading Standards Services along with those in the property sales industry, will help eliminate these bad procedures.

Among the guidelines are ensuring that all information regarding the property is accurate when marketing it, not leaving out important information for purchasers, not pressurising consumers to act quickly for the transaction to be completed and installing an effective customer complaints procedure. Ms Elithorn added that the guidance will "provide clear and comprehensive, but practical advice" that will help both buyers and sellers.

More people could benefit from the guidance after the Building Societies Association revealed that homebuyers think it is becoming easier to get mortgage finance. A survey found that 46 per cent of consumers' home loans were hard to access in September 2012, representing a drop of 13 percentage points in the number of people who thought mortgages were difficult to get in September 2011.

The Property Tracker report revealed that 21 per cent of homebuyers said they were concerned their income meant they would not be able to afford to borrow, while 16 per cent revealed press coverage over the lack of mortgage lending had dissuaded them and a further 16 per cent thought their deposit might not be big enough. Despite this, only a small proportion had actually spoken to a lender over the possibilities of getting mortgage finance.

- Wednesday 19 September 2012

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