Agents and representatives from other property sectors have reacted enthusiastically to proposals to professionalise the industry.
As we reported yesterday, the government wants estate agents to have qualifications before they set up business, with comprehensive reforms to simplify house buying.
“We particularly welcome the commitment to further regulation - we have long argued that estate agents should be recognised as professionals, this is an important step towards achieving this and we look forward to working with the government” says Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark.
“If you sit in front of your lawyer or accountant you would expect them to be qualified; the same should apply to someone selling or letting your key asset - hooray and finally!” says Frank Webster, director of Countywide-owned lettings agency Finders Keepers.
Leading market commentator and buying agent Henry Pryor described the measures as “sharpening up the industry” while training guru and chair of Agents Giving Peter Knight said on Twitter: “At long last.”
Jeremy Leaf, a north London agent and former chair of the RICS residential faculty, also took to social media to say: “Another very welcome long overdue announcement - now look forward to further detail and timetable for delivery.”
Russell Quirk, chief executive of online estate agency Emoov, says: “This is really great news. The industry and government have talked to a long time to clean up house buying. If you add both speed and certainty to the process, there will be fewer transactions falling through, less wasted money, and less stress for the consumer.
“For far too long it has got away with being almost entirely unregulated. How can it be that financial advisers dealing with the loan for the property are vetted, but the people dealing with the asset itself and the trauma of a protracted process are not overseen or licensed?”
Meanwhile Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance consumer group, says in a statement: “It’s been clear for many years that the current system is not fit for purpose. Buyers and sellers regularly pay referral fees and other hidden charges without fully understanding what they’re paying for. As a weakly regulated and inadequately enforced industry, many agents themselves do not understand the consumer laws they are required to abide by. This causes a huge detriment of both buyers and sellers, and sales are falling through regularly causing heartbreak and costing thousands.”
Higgins continues: “Proper regulation of the estate agency sector is fantastic news. Estate agents play a vital role in the sale and purchase of one of the biggest assets were ever likely to own yet for too long they’ve had no prescriptive rule by which to operate. This announcement will give homeowners and buyers greater assurances when getting involved in the buying and selling process.”