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NAEA welcomes recommendations of the Carsberg Report

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) today welcomed the recommendations of the Carsberg Report discussing the future of the housing market in the UK.

The independent report, jointly sponsored by the NAEA, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), pulls no punches in its assertion that the market for buying and selling homes in the UK is simply not working. Sir Bryan Carsberg’s recommendations as to how this situation can be rectified lay down significant challenges for the estate agency sector and in its assessment of the role of Home Information Packs, which is sure to make uncomfortable reading for the government.

Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of the NAEA, speaking at the launch of the report, welcomed Sir Bryan’s recommendations:

“The estate agency sector in the UK is far from perfect and whilst the whole raison d’etre of the NAEA since its inception has been to promote and encourage best practice and provide a quality training infrastructure for agents, we know there is still more to be done.

“One or two bad apples can still affect the whole barrel and therefore Sir Bryan’s recommendation that all agents practicing in the UK should be registered by an official body and regulated by an independent standards board is one we wholeheartedly endorse. The NAEA and RICS are already working closely together to set up an independent standards board but it still remains voluntary for estate agents to be part of a regulatory body. The many recommendations put forward in Sir Bryan’s review on how to legislate the property industry as a more cohesive entity are a great starting point on what will no doubt be a lengthy consultation period on how best to look at reforming this area.

“I am delighted that Sir Bryan has highlighted our technical award as a blueprint for his recommended minimum training requirement for estate agents. We have always been passionate believers in the importance of training for our members and indeed it is now a mandatory NAEA membership requirement to pass our technical award. Extending such training to all practising agents will go a long way towards our goal of assurance of professional service.

“Sir Bryan’s insights into consumer behaviour, and particularly the lack of knowledge that many buyers and sellers have of the workings of the property buying process and the roles of the individuals within them, is a strong wake up call to the sector. We will be working very closely with our members over the coming months to look at ways in which we can better communicate with the general public in explaining exactly what estate agents do and what buyers and sellers should expect from our members. It is clear that this lack of understanding of what agents do and importantly who they work for is a significant cause of frustration for the general public.

“Whilst not directly under the control of estate agents, the NAEA very much welcomes the reports proposals with regard to simplifying and speeding up the legal processes surrounding house purchases and sales. Much of the public’s ire directed at our members is due to the time it takes from an offer being accepted until completion and Sir Bryan’s recommendations on such things as common draft contracts, increased land registry information and the speedier provision of search information would make a substantive difference to the transaction process were they adopted.

“Finally, we have long opposed the imposition of Home Information Packs and have always seen them as the wrong answer to simplifying the house buying process. I am delighted that Sir Bryan has endorsed our standpoint and recommended that HIPs become a voluntary requirement.

In summary the NAEA is very pleased to see our belief as to how the estate agency sector should develop in the coming years endorsed by such a credible and independent expert as Sir Bryan. Many of his recommendations are already policy drivers for the NAEA but we are not resting on our laurels and will take on board those recommendations where the report encourages us to do even better, most notably in our communication with the people who matter most in our industry, those that are buying and selling their homes.”

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