As a valuer, this is a question I am asked almost daily. The answer is not simple, given that every property, seller and buyer are unique there are an infinite number of reasons why the buying and selling process can be hindered.
The most common culprit, in my opinion, is COMMUNICATION! Whether this be between clients themselves, buyers, mortgage lenders or conveyancers it is where a good estate agent can help tremendously.
Below is a list of the five most common reasons how the process can be held up.
1. Return of documents
After the happy event of agreeing a sale or having an offer accepted many clients are not aware of the importance of formally instructing a conveyancer (solicitor) to deal with the sale/purchase as soon as possible.
Although a memorandum of sale is usually produced by your estate agent your conveyancer still needs a formal instruction signing and returning usually with other requested documents such as I.D. before they will begin any work. Often this delays the start of the process by weeks! Be proactive and shop around for your conveyancer at the start of the home move and return all documents immediately with the correct information requested.
2. Mortgage applications
As with the above, your mortgage broker or lender will require lots of documents before they can submit your application for mortgage. Get ahead of things by preparing 12 months bank statements and payslips or earnings before they ask for them. All too often the underwriters have to ask for additional copies or clearer copies and this again can delay your mortgage offer.
If you are considering having a survey on a property, think about your options ahead of time. Talk to your estate agent or conveyancer about the benefits of a homebuyer’s report and do not assume your mortgage lender will conduct a full survey. Often, they will do a basic valuation to make sure the home is worth what they are lending. All too often buyers decide at the last minute to have a full survey, and this again can delay completion.
If the house you are selling is part of a deceased estate Grant of Probate is needed before a sale can be completed. This process could take up to a year and should be something all parties are aware of before an offer is accepted. As there is no legal requirement for the grant to be issued before marketing begins but there is no guarantees as to how long the grant will take, so it is prudent to ask the selling agents advice on timescales at the time an offer is being negotiated.
Many clients rely on their estate agent for updates throughout the process. This is an invaluable resource, and they can best advise you on how to be proactive, what to expect next and how to prepare for your home move. However, it is your conveyancer that is ultimately responsible for the speed of your transaction so talk to them regularly and don’t be afraid to question things if they speak to you in legal terms that you don’t understand or you feel things are not happening quickly enough - after all YOU are paying their fee!
In conclusion we suggest you choose your estate agent wisely – if being informed is a priority choose an experienced local agent whom you can contact easily or better still see in person! Please feel free to get in touch today to hear how we can help with your buying or selling process.
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