The Law Society unveiled plans to speed up the homebuying process and reduce the risk of gazumping at its conference last week.
TransAction 2000 – an extension of the society's 1990 TransAction initiative – proposes that sellers must draw up draft contracts, carry out a local authority search and provide basic legal information before a house is put on the market.
The plans have been presented to the Government's home buying review body, set up earlier this year, and a consultation paper is expected later this autumn.
Neil Gower, secretary to the Law Society's conveyancing and land law committee, said: “Anything which cuts gazumping improves the image of the profession and must be good for solicitors.”
He said solicitors would become involved at an earlier stage of the conveyancing process, adding that the plans were not just aimed at the high street practitioner but had a wide application and would pose “no problem” to the volume conveyancers.
Christopher Elias, head of Dorking residential property firm Downs, welcomed the initiative as a model solicitors could follow, but said it was up to those working at ground level to devise their own ways of providing the best service for their clients. He said he was already developing a scheme at his firm which worked along the same lines as the Law Society's initiative.