Private home sales to be ‘easier’

Property websites will be given more of a free hand to matchmake private buyers and sellers under government plans .

At present, some websites that display property for private sale are treated as estate agents by the law.

This means that they need to check that the descriptions of homes in adverts are accurate.

This responsibility is set to be lifted from websites, but an industry group warned that buyers could now get a worse deal.

Traditional estate agents charge a fee for selling services and offer advice. Some people may want to avoid these fees by making a private sale, and websites have been set up aiming to link them to potential private buyers.

The government plans to allow the two types of business to operate under separate rules.

But Peter Bolton King, of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "These [planned changes] mean that prospective homebuyers and sellers will find it harder to distinguish between intermediaries and traditional estate agents.

"Consumers could, perhaps unknowingly, be left responsible for undertaking their own detailed sale negotiations without the advice and guidance of a property professional.

"This could lead to delays, increased costs and even sales falling through, causing frustration and stress for all involved."

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