In April the government announced that it is to introduce full regulation of the estate agency sector. As professional and ethical estate agents in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Cambridge, at April Homes we wholeheartedly welcome this decision.

Under the new regulatory regime, all estate agents will be required to hold a professional qualification in order to make it difficult for ‘rogue’ operators to continue in the sector.

A founding partner of April Homes, Gareth Scourfield-Thomas already holds such a professional qualification: the ‘NFOPP Level 3 Award in Sale of Residential Property’. This qualification, along with more than nine years’ experience within the industry, gives Gareth the firm grounding and working knowledge required consistently to provide a first-class service to all April Homes clients – be they buyers or sellers.

Among further changes announced by the government is the obligation for estate agents to reveal any fees they receive for referrals to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers. Again, at April Homes we welcome this announcement as we will only recommend clients to local and reliable companies when they expressly mention a need for such services.

Encouragingly, the government has also determined to tackle ‘gazumping’, the situation where a seller deliberately pulls out of a sale in order to take a higher offer from another buyer. Under government proposals, buyers and sellers would instead be encouraged to sign so-called ‘lock-in agreements’ which would carry a penalty of losing money if either party were to back out of a deal without justification. Along with other estate agency colleagues, at April Homes we’re not yet sure how such a scheme will work in practice, but nevetheless we take a positive view of this attempt to rid the industry of gazumping.

In addition, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government also announced that it would:

  • require estate agents and freeholders to provide up-to-date lease information to an agreed timetable and to a set fee, which will end the current situation where leaseholders are at the mercy of freeholders and their agents
  • strengthen Trading Standards so that they are able to engage in more enforcement activity, including banning estate agents where appropriate
  • produce new information guides on ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ to make sure that the public are better informed about the buying and selling process and know what questions they should be able to ask.

April Homes are estate agents in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Cambridge, so if you’re looking to put your property on the market, why not contact us for an initial discussion? For us it’s as much about the people as the property…