Buying or selling a property is known to be amongst life’s most stressful experiences, with the processes involved in moving to a new house often associated with delays and setbacks.
Three out of four people who moved to a new house in the 10 years up to 2017 experienced delays longer than they had expected, with as many as one-quarter having to find temporary accommodation while waiting for their property purchase or sale to complete.
There is no denying that the process is complex, which is why finding a good conveyancer is extremely important. In addition to having traditional high street solicitors to choose from, there are numerous online conveyancers that operate in various ways, so it is a good idea to research online conveyancing quotes.
Even with a good conveyancer on board, how can the property buying/selling process so frequently be problematic? Let’s take a look at a few of the most common reasons:
Links in the chain
When you buy a property, it is very likely that the person selling it to you is also buying a new home. The person they are buying from may also be purchasing a new property. Property buyers and sellers are linked together in this way in a property chain, with each transaction dependent on another; for example, a chain may start with a first-time buyer who has nothing to sell and may end with an executor sale or someone who is moving into rented accommodation, with any number of buyers and sellers in between. The more links there are in a chain, the more risk there can be of a hold-up, as the participants often need to work at different paces. Sellers are required to provide more information than buyers, for example, so they may need more time to get their documentation in order.
Searches, mortgages and deeds
Depending on the type of property, local authority searches can take anything up to four weeks. The time it takes for buyers in the chain to obtain a formal mortgage offer can also take several weeks, depending on the lender they choose. Once mortgages and searches have been dealt with, your conveyancer gets on with the legal side of things, such as any issues with the title deeds of the property. These can also cause hold-ups, especially if the mortgage provider needs to be informed, which can add another two weeks to the process.
Break in the chain
Unfortunately, the chain may break down completely – a party may pull out, for example, or they may decide to sell their property but not buy a property until a later date. Delays such as this will mean that a link in the chain will need to find a new buyer, effectively putting everything on hold; in turn, this can put a strain on the other links in the chain.
To help avoid delays, you – and ideally everyone in your chain – can do the following:
– Make sure your conveyancer or estate agent knows of any key dates when you are unavailable so that they can notify everyone else in the chain as soon as possible. Delays can often occur because someone is unavailable on a crucial date, which can have an impact on your completion date.
– Make sure you have all your documents completed and signed and sent back to your conveyancer as early as you can, and make sure that your finances are all in order and in place.
– Keep direct communications between yourself and the other links in the chain to a minimum; instead, use your conveyancer and estate agent as a medium to ensure there is no ambiguity or misunderstanding regarding dates and timescales.
You may never know the length of a property chain until your contracts are ready to exchange; however, if you can find this out, it is useful information to pass on to your conveyancer and your estate agent. Generally, your conveyancer doesn’t deal with every conveyancer in the chain; instead, they may only be communicating with those immediately adjacent to you.
Finally, your relationship with your conveyancer is very important in the process of buying or selling your new home; therefore, finding one you are happy with is an important factor when comparing online conveyancing quotes.
A good understanding between you and your conveyancer will help in the effort to make sure your move goes as smoothly as possible.