§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what measures he is taking to help to speed up the house buying process. 
§ Mr. Mullin
On 11 October we announced our intention to take forward a package of complementary measures aimed at speeding up and improving the home buying and selling process. The package is based on a detailed survey and consultation exercise and studies of experience in other countries. A key proposal is a requirement that before putting a home on the market, the seller or seller's agent should put together a pack of standard documents and information for prospective buyers. This should include copies of title documents, replies to standard buyers' preliminary inquiries, replies to local searches, copies of planning and other consents, copies of warranties and guarantees, a home condition report and a draft contract.
In addition, we want buyers to be better prepared and will be encouraging the wider use of "in principle" mortgage offers. We also want faster mortgage offers and local authority searches and will be asking the service providers to adopt service targets on these. Mortgage lenders are also being asked to provide title deeds within five working days of request and to examine the scope for "chain-breaking" loans. Finally, all the professions and other bodies involved in the home buying and selling process are being encouraged to make better use of advances in information technology to speed up the process.