Estate agents are the next target for the government overhaul of the property market as new rules are explored to ban gazumping and referral fees.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid revealed his plans in a surprise out-of-hours media release over the weekend.

He wants to collect consumer and property professional views on how the house sales market works and if some practices need revising, including:

  • Gazumping – Tackling the uncertainty caused by buyers concerns of a rival coming in with a higher offer after a deal is struck
  • Referral fees – Are they are unfair to consumers who are pushed towards lawyers, builders and other professionals in return for commission payments
  • Lock-in agreements – Does the market need a new deal that stops sales falling through and the waste of hundreds of millions of pounds
  • Sale-ready deals – Encouraging sellers to do more before a sale to speed up the moving process
  • Going digital – While searching for property is quick and easy online, the government wants to hear about disruptive technology that will improve the housing market

“We want to help everyone have a good quality home they can afford, and improving the process of buying and selling is part of delivering that. Buying a home is one of life’s largest investments, so if it goes wrong it can be costly. That’s why we’re determined to act to make the process cheaper, faster and less stressful,” said Javid.

“This can help save people money and time, so they can focus on finding their dream home. I want to hear from the industry on what more we can do to tackle this issue.

“This exercise isn’t about adding extra work for buyers and sellers or seeing a return to Home Information Packs, this call for evidence will look at how we can further improve the home buying experience.”

Other recent consultations include a call for views on banning letting agent fees, regulating letting agents and a shake-up of leasehold home agreements.

Read the full home buying and selling consultation document – Open until 11.45pm on December 17, 2017