Chris Burton, Director at Claygate
There are few estate agency topics that attract as much attention and debate as property transaction times – and it’s generally in relation to how long they take.
Of course, neither seller or buyer (or estate agent, for that matter) wants the process to take longer than is necessary. And yet, it often does.
Many moving parts
Buying and selling a property involves a number of parties, all of whom are interdependent on each other - the buyer’s solicitor and the seller’s solicitor being just two.
However, the majority of buyers and sellers don’t actually realise how important their role is in the overall process. More to the point, the majority of buyers and sellers underestimate just how much ‘drag’ they can unwittingly place on the process of moving.
Due to economic factors beyond anybody’s control, we’re currently in a market where property transactions are taking longer than usual. In a bid to counter these external influences, here are four tips that can help you shorten your wait time and get you into your new property sooner rather than later.
1. Solicit a partner
A legal partner, that is. Before a sale is agreed – and before the actual transaction process begins – you should ideally have researched, if not actually selected, a great solicitor to work with. As part of their own legal requirements, solicitors need two key protocol forms to be completed plus terms of engagement that need to be signed and ID and money laundering checks to make before they’ll even open and look at your file. Getting the basic admin out of the way means that as soon as an offer comes in, you’re ready to go.
2. Get your certification
No, this doesn’t relate to qualifications or anything official that you need to do in order to move – but it does involve a little bit of work which, if carried out in advance of the transaction process beginning, could save you significant amounts of time in the long run. You know those wood burning stove certificates, double-glazing warranties and that evidence of building control signing off the extension you had five years ago? This is all important information that you will eventually be asked to present. Not having it to hand, or having to spend time finding it mid-way through the process, frequently slows the process down and can put your sale at risk. So, why put off until tomorrow what can be done today.
3. Be upfront with your solicitor
A common complaint that’s often levelled at conveyancers is that the process takes too long. Sadly, a common reason for this is that solicitors’ caseloads are often too big to manage simply because they said ‘yes’ to a job when they should have said ‘no’. The phrase if you want something done, give it to a busy person does ring true – but you can also be too busy. If you appoint a solicitor that falls within this camp and is spinning too many plates, you’ll be the one who really does suffer. To avoid this, don’t be afraid to ask direct questions around their current caseload and establish whether they’re likely to be too busy to give your case the attention it requires. If you sense that they are, move on to someone who isn’t.
4. Keep caution (when it comes to commission)
If an estate agent recommends a solicitor, find out exactly why they recommend them. Ask the estate agent directly if they get a referral fee or ‘kickback’ for recommending a particular solicitor. Whilst referral fees can be a good thing, their partiality can quite often become the enemy of good progress when it comes to transactions.
Typically speaking, 30 – 40 per cent of transactions are slowed down as a result of sellers taking too casual an approach when it comes to getting everything they need in place in good time.
A good estate agent is one that has robust processes in place and that makes everyone involved in the process – including the sellers – very clear as to what their roles are. After all, the longer something takes, the bigger the window for life to intervene, circumstances to change and deals to fall through.
By getting everything ready before it’s even required you will ensure that you’re not the one causing any drag, shorten the overall transaction time and limit the risk of your deal collapsing.
Looking for a Surrey estate agent to become your property partner? Contact your nearest Grosvenor office to speak with a member of our team or arrange a valuation.