Labour wants seller&#39s packs by 2005

The inclusion of the Homes Bill in the Queen&#39s Speech means seller&#39s packs are set to become a legal part of the home moving process from 2005.

Seller&#39s packs were first touted in 1997 but critics of the concept fear extra costs of £500 plus could slow down the mortgage market by making home owners more reluctant to move. But supporters claim seller&#39s packs will shorten the time from offer to exchange of contracts.

Mortgage pundits say the industry should put misgivings aside and prepare for the seller&#39s pack introduction. Stephen Smith, Legal & General&#39s director of housing marketing, says: “Now that the necessary legislation has been flagged by the government, the industry will have to start work to plan for their introduction in 2005 or 2006.”

But he adds: “Seller&#39s packs are not a panacea. They will not address the problems caused by chains and they will not eliminate gazumping.”

Tim Stone, senior mortgage consultant at Bristol-based Andrews Mortgage Services, says: “I&#39m all in favour. Seller&#39s packs will cut out the timewasters who don&#39t really want to move and will uncover structural problems early in the process.”

And Rod Murdison, proprietor of London-based Murdison & Browning, says: “Anything that speeds up property purchase is a good thing. But I&#39m not sure who will realistically sit down and go through it – I doubt the average purchaser will read anything over two pages. I just wonder if solicitors&#39 fees will go up.”

Bob Riach, proprietor of Scunthorpe-based Riach IFAs, says: “£500 is quite cheap for properties in the South, but a lot for those in the North. There is a danger packs could depress the market in some areas. I think they should be optional.”