The lowdown on upfront property information
Let’s be upfront about property information
What is Upfront Material Property Information?
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 defines Material Property Information as:
The information that the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision
In practice, this means providing the homebuyer, home seller, tenant or landlord with all the information they need at the right time to make an informed decision. For instance, if you spend half of the week working from home, then when buying a home the available broadband strength and speed would be material information required to help you make an informed decision.
The top 5 pieces of material upfront property information
In the most straightforward property sales, the top 5 pieces of material upfront information that should be given to consumers is very basic, as simple as it is important:
1. the asking price (or rent)
2. the specific location
3. the number and size of rooms
4. the tenure: whether the property is freehold or leasehold
5. EPC certificate
The big 10 bits of material upfront property information
After putting the top 5 pieces of information in place the big 10 that follow are also straightforward to collect:
1. The length of the lease
2. Charges payable under a lease,
3. The council tax band and cost
4. Broadband speed
5. Status of the connection to mains services/utilities
6. Known ambiguities (if any) concerning title
7. Significant issues or occurrences at the property
8. Major structural defects
9. Potential developments
10. Planning issues,
The upfront property information materiality test – is it material?
If the piece of information would change or impact your decision to buy or rent a property, then it is material. It is important to know that materiality is in the eye of the beholder. What is material property information for one person, for instance, school catchment areas, might not be material property information for another person.
Selling your home? This is why material upfront information is important
Research from the National Trading Standards found that most consumers get suspicious of why certain information is missing and just over 40% believe that something must be wrong with the property if the information is missing or limited.
Nearly 40% said it would make them reluctant to proceed with buying or renting the property. Providing more information routinely will give homebuyers and tenants what they need to make an informed decision at an early stage
We believe that by providing material property information upfront homeowners are likely to sell their homes faster and landlords let their properties quicker than those who do not provide the material information upfront
Providing upfront property information could save you £1,571
New research by Propertymark, as reported in the media, found that property transactions that fall through lose consumers £1,571 on average. There are multiple reasons for this but providing comprehensive information at the start of the process reduces the risk of learning about material information after committing financially to some of the buying and selling fees, such as survey and legal costs. Fall throughs based on missing upfront information is a very easy problem to solve and solving it will save both time and money.
Where should I keep material property information?
Material upfront property information definitions
Average consumer: someone who is reasonably well-informed, and reasonably observant and circumspect. For example, an average consumer would pay some attention to the property documentation given to them, but not necessarily to the small print unless key points in it are brought to their attention. An average consumer would check out publicly available facts for themselves where this is straightforward to do
BPR Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008
CPR Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
Consumers: are individuals who are acting for purposes wholly or mainly outside their business.
With property sales, consumers include clients of estate agents, potential clients, potential or actual buyers and sellers, people viewing a property
Material Property Information The CPR define material information as 'the information that the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision. In practice, this means equipping the homebuyer, home seller, tenant or landlord with all the information they need at the right time to make an informed transactional decision. Material information is the information without which the consumer cannot make a properly informed decision
Transactional decision: is defined widely and is not simply a consumer's decision to use an estate agents services or not, or to buy a property or not. It could, for example, be a client's decision to accept an offer, or a buyer's decision to enquire about a property, commission a survey or instruct a conveyance.