Home Improvement

How to avoid delays when buying or selling a home?

Delays can be frustrating – even when caught in a traffic jam which results in a long time reaching the destination. More so when a potential buyer or seller in real estate is stuck in a “traffic jam” not of his/her own making. The property market is at a peak and buyers and sellers are usually in a rush to complete transactions. Estate agents are trying to keep up with the pace. However, as Sittingbourne lets agents and others can clarify, delays can occur which are oftentimes not due to the fault of the agent or conveyancer.

Perhaps if the reasons for the delays are understood, steps can be taken to avoid them. Some issues which hamper the process of speedy transactions are detailed below:

The Right Buyer or Seller:  One of the main reasons for delays is a chain. As explained by a surveyor, “A chain is created when one property sale is dependent on the completion of another, usually because buyers need first to sell their existing home in order to afford the purchase of their new home.” A long chain with multiple buyers and sellers can result in holdups. A break in the chain can cause a fall-through. Other causes for chain delays are that some participants are less proactive than others. Sometimes, mortgage agreements are delayed.

Selling to a first-time buyer or buying a chain-free house will cut out such delays, though such transactions may result in negotiation on discounts due to the time-saving factor. Alternatively, communication between the buyers and sellers should be handled by the agents/conveyancers. This will save time and ensure that all involved are aware of when their purchase/sale is likely to be completed.

Another alternative is to buy or sell the property at an auction. This would be the quickest way, but a great deal of research needs to be conducted first.

The Right Price:  Sometimes, the attachment to a home is strong, but the need to move is pressurised due to new employment, extending family or diminished space. Emotions should not play a part in valuing the property to set the price. If the initial price is set too high or is unrealistic, it could put off potential buyers, leading to delays in the sale. Also, even if the price is reduced later, buyers are reluctant to look at properties which have been lying vacant for some time.

The Right Service:  It is wise to choose an estate agent and conveyancer who will give value for money. Online reviews and comparisons could help, as also personal recommendations, in choosing ones who perform the best in a particular location. The fees for these services will vary and, though tempting, it may not be advisable to go for the cheapest deal unless the service provider has an encouraging record. Also, some property evaluations given are higher than the actual amount, in order to secure business and with the hope that the price will be reduced later. Hence, an experienced agent and conveyancer are essential, to avoid unnecessary delays. Also keeping track of the progress made by them is advisable – just to let them know that things are not being allowed to slide.

The Right Documents:  For both buying and selling property, there are many documents required besides the Sale and Title Deeds.

For a seller, EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), electric and gas certificates, permission from freeholders if the seller is a leaseholder, warranties, information on the property (Fittings and contents form TA10 and Property Information form TA6), FENSA certificates for windows and doors (if applicable) are some of the items required.

For a buyer, proof of identity, proof of address and proof of funds available (including mortgage documents) will need to be given. Also, if a survey has been done, documentation of any queries on the maintenance, building works or EPC will have to be provided.

Bank appraisals are important and can cause delays if the property is under appraised or requires repairs by the appraiser. Sometimes, there are title-related problems which can cause delays. Ensuring that the property has a “clean title” can make progress faster.

The agent and conveyancer should complete these surveys and provide all the details so that the necessary documentation is readily available when needed. This will help avoid delays.

Conclusion:   Many property transactions do not close on or before the target date. There are many factors, such as the ones listed above, which cause delays. Being aware of them can help in avoiding them. Though such delays are very stressful, as one property expert explained, “in truth, the only delay that is outside of your control is the dreaded chain. Other than that, a proactive attitude and sensible decision making can negate all major holdups.”

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