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Friday, 22 September, 2000, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Concern grows over 'sellers' packs'
Estate agents boards
Sellers' packs could mean that sales go through more quickly
A government-devised scheme to take the stress out of home buying could prove too costly for some vendors, according to a new study.

Under the scheme, people would be forced to put together a 'seller's pack' containing a survey, a draft contract and search details before they put their home on the market.

This would give buyers access to vital information when they viewed a property and avoid them having to pay for a survey on it.

We invest a lot of money in our property and it is nice to have a seller's pack to identify any problems before you buy or sell

Home owner

But at a likely cost of between 500 and 700, 'sellers' packs' could make people in areas with low property prices more reluctant to sell, a study has found.

Minister encouraged

The findings from the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) follows a pilot scheme in Bradford and Burnley - both areas with low property values.

The study showed that the cost of sellers' packs would be a concern for some people - even though they recognised the potential benefits of the idea.

Critics of the scheme have pointed out that in parts of Northern England a terraced house can cost as little as 10,000, while a similar property in London could cost as much as 100,000.

But housing minister Nick Raynford said he was encouraged by the findings.

"The results show that sellers, buyers and local property professionals all believe that seller's pack can help solve some of the market problems currently faced in these areas and play a major part in making the home buying and selling process."

Jeremy Leith, of the Chartered Institute of Surveyors told Radio 4's Today programme that the scheme would bring more certainty to property transactions.

"It avoids re-negotiation later and makes the chance of a sale going through much stronger," he said.

Home owner Bill Wilson, who took part in the study, was in favour of the scheme, even though he was not charged for his pack as part of the trial.
Aylesbury estate agents' office
The Government wants to make house-hunting easier

He told the BBC's Mary Gahan: "It is like an MOT certificate for a car.

"We invest a lot of money in our property and it is nice to have a seller's pack to identify any problems before you buy or sell."

But Trevor Kent, former president of the National Association of Estate Agents and leader of a campaign against seller's packs, says: "Nobody has been asked to write a cheque for this seller's pack.

" All of the government's pronouncements have been based on people getting the pack for free."

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