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“Thanks again for all your help over the past few months. Really could not have got to here without you.”

Mr HP, Hong Kong
02 November 2017

The five best ways of speeding up the buying and selling process.

The government has announced a review into ways of speeding up the house buying and selling process – but, surely, this is not rocket science!.

What are the five key causes of delay – and how can these be overcome?

1. Lack of preparedness – owners only starting to do their homework when a sale has been agreed

  • It should be a requirement for owners not only to have instructed solicitors at the time their property is placed on the market, but also to have completed the Property Information and Fittings and Contents forms. This would dramatically minimise delay in the legal process once a sale has been agreed.
    • Time saving: 5 – 10 working days


2. Buyers not having agreed a mortgage in principle

  • There should be a requirement for buyers to evidence their source of finance at the time their offer is made. If subject to a sale, who is handling this;  if cash, producing proof of funds, if subject to a mortgage, being able to demonstrate that they have a loan agreed in principle.
    • Time saving: 5 – 10 working days


3. Lack of urgency on the part of conveyancers, both in getting the contract pack out and responding to enquiries

  • There is no doubt that buyers and sellers confuse cheapness with value when it comes to the appointment of their conveyancer. There are some brilliant diligent and efficient conveyancers out there, but at times they seem alone in a sea of mediocracy. It is not at all uncommon to find conveyancers who work part time, sometimes with days elapsing between communications – equally, conveyancers who have taken ion such a full work load that they stumble from one set of enquiries to another, without prioritising their clients’ wish to consummate the deal. The new ‘tick box’ firms are among the worst…..
    • Time saving: up to 30 working days


4. Delays in obtaining Local Authority searches

  • Not a lot that one can do when a Local Authority has made such savage cuts to their Land Charges team that it leaves them snowed under by their work load. Searches can take anything from ten days to weeks;  unless the Government enforces (and fund!) a maximum turn-round period, as they do with planning applications, this situation is unlikely to improve.
    • Time saving: 5 – 30 working days


5. Delay in lenders producing mortgage valuation/offer

  • The drive to cut interest rates has resulted in many lenders charging exorbitant arrangement and valuation fees, whilst relying on a single firm as their panel valuer (who receives a fraction of the valuation fee paid by the borrower). At busy times, this can delay the mortgage bank valuation for weeks.
  • Not only should the Council of Mortgage Lenders produce a standard form of valuation to be adopted by all its members, but should rule that this can be completed by any qualified and approved valuer (not just a single firm on a lender’s panel), enabling the valuation to be accessed and relied upon by any loan source.
    • Time saving: 10 – 30 working days

It doesn’t take a parliamentary committee to see how the current average of 18 working days between agreement and exchange of contracts (source NAEA) could be easily reduced to the 20 working days that were commonly achieved before the days of computerisation!

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“Thanks again for all your help over the past few months. Really could not have got to here without you.”

Mr HP, Hong Kong