Monthly Archives: October 2017

Improving the home buying and selling process

Improving the home buying and selling process. Image of various estate agents' sold and to let signs

Dept of Communities and Local Government wants to improve the process of home buying and selling.

The Department of Communities and Local Government is looking at ways of improving the home buying and selling process in the UK. Except Scotland, where it’s different.

Well, I say Three Cheers for them for finally addressing this problem. For too long, sellers have been able to gazump and buyers to gazunder, just before Exchange of Contracts. This is incredibly stressful and costly for both the gazumpee and the gazunderee – words as ugly as the practice itself!

I believe that the solution to improving the home buying and selling process is relatively simple. At present, when contracts are exchanged, the purchaser is required to deposit up to 10% of the purchase price. Very very rarely do people withdraw after this.

The Mini Deposit – Improving the home buying and selling process

So, all we need is a Mini Exchange of Contracts when an offer in writing is made and formally accepted. This is the point at which an agent typically issues a Memorandum of Sale. At this point both buyer and seller should be required by law to deposit a relatively small sum of, let’s say £1000 in Escrow. If either party choses to withdraw, offer less or demand more then the other party could receive their £1000 as compensation.

Of course, there would be certain circumstances wherein a purchaser could legitimately withdraw without forfeiting the £1000 mini deposit. Such circumstances could include cases where legal searches uncovered poor title.  Or perhaps a road passing through or close to the property in question.  A surveyor’s report  might have uncovered serious subsidence or dry rot. Again, if the seller accepted these findings and agreed voluntarily to reduce their price then the sale could still proceed.

However, where a purchaser, without good reason decides to offer less than the agreed amount then the deposit could be forfeited.  The seller would be at liberty to receive the purchaser’s £1000 and abort the sale. Similarly if the seller suddenly changes their mind or wanted more then the purchaser could elect to receive the seller’s £1000 and abort the purchase.

Concentrating minds at the point of the Memorandum of Sale

Apart from the stress of someone suddenly withdrawing, there’s the considerable legal and surveying costs that accrue. Thus the £1000 would at least go towards defraying these costs, but more importantly would concentrate the minds of both seller and purchaser at the point when an offer is made and accepted.

And of course this change in property law would not only benefit owner occupier sales and purchases but investment ones involving landlords and buy-to-let as well.

So, I think that’s a good way of improving the home buying and selling process in the UK. What do YOU think?


Landlords and Letting – Affordable landlord insurance



Time to restrict the Pollsters?

Image of ballot box, Corbyn, Trump, May, Clinton, and Cameron

How the polls distorted recent elections

I think that the experience of the last few years clearly shows that it’s high time we addressed the problem of polling. I would go so far as to say that it is regularly distorting the democratic process.

Let’s take a look at a few recent prominent examples:

The 2015 UK General Election

David Cameron was facing a Labour Party lead by Ed Miliband (remember them?) with an ascendent SNP. The talk was that the Tories were unlikely to win and the best they could expect was a minority government. At this time UKIP were riding high and and were snapping at Cameron’s heals.

All the polls were pointing to a hung parliament at best. So, believing he’d never have to actually do it, David Cameron promised a Referendum on our membership of the EU to buy off UKIP.

And then he won. Having won, he was forced to honour that reckless pledge to hold a referendum.

The EU Referendum

The pollsters assured us that the vote would go fairly comfortably to remain. In fact even on poll night, Cameron and Osborne (remember him?) were very confident of victory and in the early hours were actually seen celebrating.

And then they lost and the vote was to leave the EU.

The 2016 US Presidential Election

The polls pointed to a win by Hilary Clinton. And then the idiot Trump became president. Admittedly it was a choice between Dumb and Dumber, but Dumber did clearly win.

The 2017 UK General Election

Buoyed up by the polls, Theresa May felt confident of victory over a Labour Party lead by Jeremy Corbyn and went ahead and called a general election. Being so confident she ran a very poor campaign that took her voters for granted, but as we know although she won, her majority was drastically reduced and she now heads a weak government incapable of negotiating toughly with the EU over Brexit.

The culpability of Pollsters

The pollsters constantly publish the results of their polls, right up to the actual vote itself. But as all scientists know, by measuring anything you are going to change that thing in some way. People hear the results and react accordingly. In any election, a significant proportion of the voters are somewhat apathetic and lukewarm at best. They hear that the result they favour is going to happen anyway and thus they don’t bother to go out and vote.

So, taking the above recent examples, Cameron recklessly promised a referendum, partly on the totally inaccurate polls – result: The EU Referendum.

Listening to the polls, many relaxed supporters of ‘Remain’ probably didn’t bother to vote – result: we voted to Leave.

Listening to the pollsters, in the 2016 Presidential Election many half-hearted Democratic supporters probably didn’t bother to vote (admittedly the US electoral system also played a part) – result: the idiot Trump became President.

Finally, listening to the polls, the Tories came up with policies that took their voters for granted – result: a weak and wounded government, unable to even properly negotiate with the likes of Jean Claude Juncker, the ex-president of an apology for a country that most people only ever associate with being a pop radio station.

So, to sum up, partly thanks to the pollsters we have an idiot in the White House, a ruined and weak government under Theresa May and Britain facing Brexit that’s being negotiated by a divided and weak Tory Party. 

Time to restrict the Pollsters

Over the past few years they have been proved wrong time and time again. So, I say let’s make it illegal to publish the results of any poll within one month of an election. 


Landlords and Letting – Affordable Landlord Insurance