I don’t think that “The real estate sector is in most countries, mostly out of historical reasons, a heavily regulated industry” is true of the UK. Maggie Thatcher regulated the number of estate agents’ signs that could be placed in one front garden. When I saw that on the news, I thought something is very odd about that and not long after there was a housing market crash.
In England & Wales, the Law Society’s Standard Conditions of Sale provide typical terms and conditions that are intended to balance the interests of buyers and sellers. It includes, for example, provision for a deposit (“down payment” in the Hacker Noon article), which may be forfeited if the purchaser does not complete.