Letter: Ways to sell homes

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Sir: Martin Fraser seems to think the current house purchase system cannot be improved upon (letter, 9 December). Is he a lawyer? Other countries have efficient and workable systems which produce less stress and anguish in house transfers.

Canada, for example. There is a standard agreement form and a few brief conditions are added, such as satisfactory survey and availability of funds within a specified time, maybe 10 to 14 days, during which time the offer to sell is legally regarded as irrevocable. When the conditions are met, the deal becomes final, unless concealed facts about title, or other statements by the vendor, become apparent within a further specified period. The purchaser pays a deposit (perhaps 1 to 2 per cent) which is surrendered if he reneges without due cause. Thus the deal has to be decided within a brief time limit - which depends on banks, lawyers and surveyors working effectively.

The land is (usually) already registered. No long chains build up and both vendor and purchaser soon know the outcome of the offer.

Problems seem to be rare, and over the years I bought and sold three houses there with less doubt than a single purchase here. There can be a better way.


Kenilworth, Warwickshire