14th May 2014 sees the launch of The National Association of Property Buyers.
This comes some 9 months after the release of The Office of Fair Trading’s study into the Quick Home Buying Services offered by House Buy Fast and similar companies.
The sector had suffered adverse publicity when some high profile transactions by other companies either failed or required last moment renegotiation. The OFT investigated a number of firms (not House Buy Fast incidentally) and made recommendations to a number of them.
I have long been lobbying for more regulation in the industry – coming from an Estate Agency background I had witnessed the massive improvements in standards when various pieces of legislation were introduced to that sector – and I thought that something similar tailored for property buyers would also make a huge difference, protecting sellers, some of whom are in vulnerable positions.
That’s why I and a number of others were keen to assist the OFT in it’s study and there were a number of meetings to assess what was wrong with the current system and what could be done to improve it.
The OFT released it’s findings in August 2013 and very quickly afterwards meetings were held with the top companies in the sector to decide what could be done to address the issues raised.
Our Working Code
It was soon clear that in many ways we were all keen to go further than many thought necessary to get things right and so we invited The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer who runs the scheme to which 28,500 offices already belong, to draw up a specific Code of Practice to act as the lynchpin to our fledgling organisation.
After many meetings and many, many hours of work Christopher and his team had drawn up a Code that is going to bring transparency to the market by all companies that adopt it, which is Rule #1 of the NAPB.
The NAPB will now do it’s very best to spread the word far and wide to house sellers that by using one of it’s members, vendors can be sure that they are dealing with a reputable and accountable company.