What are the current issues with the conveyancing process?

Sellers   |   February 24, 2021   |   rachel

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So, you think you’ve sold your house? Think again…

35% of house sales in the UK end up falling through. 

Delays in the conveyancing process at the final stage of a sale can often be to blame, ultimately ending in problems like gazumping, frustration or collapses in communication. 

Issues with the conveyancing process

As technology improves and streamlines many industries, making operations quicker, easier and more efficient, the process of buying and selling a house remains technologically unevolved. 

Primed to be the next industry due a tech ‘shake-up,’ the mortgage and conveyancing process is riddled with outdated systems, inefficiencies and delays that cause all involved parties additional stress and anxiety.

Back in the day, we had HIPs…

In 2007, Home Information Packs (HIP) were thought to be the answer. 

A HIP was commissioned by the seller before a property went on the market, so their prospective buyers had all the information they needed before they made their offer. 

The idea in principle was a good one. Millions of pounds and many weeks, even months, are spent every year on offers that never complete for a multitude of different reasons.

The fundamental problem with HIPs is that they were commissioned by the seller, but ultimately it is the purchaser who takes on the responsibility and consequences of buying a home. 

HIPs were flawed and ultimately disregarded within a year. In fact, the only remaining document still withstanding from these HIPs is the Energy Performance Certificate. 

Since HIPs, there hasn’t been another significant property innovation to improve the arduous process of completing a sale. So where does that leave the conveyancing process? Well, with plenty of room for improvement that’s for sure! 

The conveyancing process is crying out to be streamlined and would truly benefit from technological innovation. 

With the stamp duty holiday set to finish on the 31st March, the need to get things completed swiftly will be at the forefront of most proactive agents’ agenda coming into 2021.

So, what can you do to help speed up the conveyancing process?

Fear not, although it can be a drawn-out process there are many things you can do to assist in making sure your sale is completed with less delays and stress. 

  • Get a solicitor in place when you advertise your property

Get your solicitor set up straight away, even before you put your property on the market. Complete your SPIF (Sellers Property Information Forms) before your property goes on the market so the property contract can be sent out as soon as a buyer is found. 

  • Get your paperwork in order

If you have had any work done (walls removed, boilers serviced) it is highly likely that the buyer’s solicitors will wish to see this information at some point. Get it prepared before the property goes up for sale. Not only will it give your buyer more confidence, it will assist in speeding up the transaction.

  • Agree certain milestones with your buyer

Your agent should be doing this, but make sure you agree on milestones with your buyer. An example milestone could be: ‘the survey must be booked within 14 days of the property going on the market.’

The searches must be requested as soon as the buyer’s solicitors have the contracts. Managing the expectations of the buyer and setting these milestones will ensure there is no breakdown in communication down the line.

  • Set a date for completion when first agreeing a sale

We see ‘ASAP’ mentioned on a memorandum of sale far too many times. Unfortunately it is just not an accurate enough timescale and is open to interpretation.  

Setting a clear and defined deadline gives everyone a date to work towards. It ensures that your property transaction is kept on track as much as possible.

  • Solicitor’s name and contact details

Make sure you know the name of the solicitor acting for you and have their direct contact number and an email address. Pass these onto your agent. Small communications like this can save surprising amounts of time overall!

  • Get the right buyer in the first place

Too many times agents and home sellers commit to the first person who offers without consideration to their position. 

Make sure you know what their financial position is (ie. have they got their mortgage in place) and what their time frames are. 

In our opinion, time needs to be spent finding the right buyer, not necessarily the buyer who at first appears to offer the most. In uncertain terms you need a serious and committed buyer!

  • Choose your agent wisely

Before instructing an agent, ask about what sales support they provide and how they assist in getting a sale to completion. This is a crucial stage that is often overlooked and left to solicitors. 

At the end of the day, there is a reason why almost 35% of house sales in the UK fall through and you need an estate agent you can communicate transparently and regularly with. 

What can your agent do to help speed up the conveyancing process?

We understand how important this part of the process is. This is the time when communication is most likely to break down!

We think it is essential that an agent is available and in regular contact with you. 

Here at Hills we have a downloadable app to keep a track of your sales progression. Updates are immediately pinged through to your smartphone so you can see exactly where you’re up to with the press of a button.

Of course, we also value traditional old-fashioned communication and our sales support staff are a team solely dedicated to pushing a case through to completion. It’s their mission to speed up the process and take the heat off you!

Many people will be listing their homes in January with hopes of benefitting from the stamp duty holiday. Without serious consideration of the post-sale process, their sale could easily become one of the 35% that end up falling through.

So, what does the future of the conveyancing process look like?

At some point in the future a person or company will come up with a way to streamline this process. It will become faster, cheaper and more efficient for everyone involved.

But for the time being, following these simple steps will put you on the right footing to not only achieving a sale but getting it completed in the quickest possible time-frame.

For more information on our sales support or for general questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experienced Hills team. We’d love to help. Call us on 0161 7074900. 

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