The number of sales being agreed right now is at record levels on Rightmove, which means it’s likely you’ll find it taking a bit longer from having your offer accepted to picking up the keys for your home.
To try and help, we spoke to Peter Ambrose, who heads up conveyancing firm The Partnership, for his expert advice on helping your sale or purchase go smoothly and quickly.
Peter says that right now they’re seeing sales of properties take 40% longer to complete, and the number of cases they’re working on has doubled over the past three months. This means a sale that would usually take three months could take over four months to go through.
There are challenges such as mortgage applications and local searches taking longer than usual.
While some of these delays are out of your hands, Peter says there are still a number of things you can do to help speed up the process.
Here are his top tips:
Ask the right questions when choosing a solicitor
You may choose a solicitor that has been recommended to you by a friend, you may choose one your agent suggests, or you might do your own research.
It’s up to you who you decide to go with, but you should first call them and ask to speak to the solicitor who would be looking after your case. You could ask the following the questions:
- How will they be communicating with you? Will it be by post or email or both?
- Is there cover in place if they have any plans to be on holiday?
- What should you expect from the process?
- Is there an app or online platform that tracks each of the tasks? This is not essential but can prove very useful so you know which steps are completed
- If you absolutely have to move by a certain date, ask them if they think that is possible – they won’t know what hurdles may come along but they should be able to give you their opinion based on previous experience
This sounds obvious, but Peter says sometimes buyers or sellers can take a week to respond to something simple, like being asked for ID.
When you receive a number of documents to fill out it can be quite daunting, and you may be tempted to wait until the weekend to go through them all. It’s so important that you read them thoroughly and question anything you don’t understand, but if it’s at all possible you should try and set aside time within a couple of days of receiving them to read them and respond to your solicitor.
Write down your questions before calling
If you need to call your solicitor about something urgent, try to write down all the questions you have before you pick up the phone. It’s better to make one phone call to go through everything rather than calling five times when different questions come up.
It can be stressful if you have to move by a certain date, but it’s important your solicitor lets you know at least some rough timings for something you’re waiting for so you aren’t disappointed if you chase. For example, if you have paid for local searches, ask how long roughly they’re finding it takes to get these, and wait until then before asking for an update.
Depending on your circumstance, you may not have the option to be flexible. But if you can, it can help a sale go through more quickly. You may ideally want a couple of weeks between exchange and completion to have time to pack everything up, but if the buyer asks for one week, consider if you think you would be able to compromise on this.
Published by Rightmove: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/articles/property-news/help-speeding-up-home-move