Common Reasons For Delays And How To Avoid Them

If you are buying or selling property there is every chance your transaction will go without a hitch and you will be in your new home in no time. However, this is not always the case as conveyancing is a fragile process and there are a number of things you must be prepared for. Here is our list of the most common problems that people encounter during the conveyancing process and our advice on how to avoid them where possible.

Not Instructing Solicitor When An Offer Has Been Accepted

When you buy or sell a property you need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor to carry out the legal process involved in the property transfer. This should be done once an offer has been accepted. This is why we advise that you get several conveyancing quotes in advance, so that when the time comes, you are set to get the ball rolling. as soon as an offer is agreed on a property, the estate agent requires your conveyance solicitor’s details. It is important to get a number of quotes from several conveyancing solicitors well in advance. Compare the conveyancing fees carefully against the level of service offered. This way, you will have time to decide who to use and have their details ready to give the estate agent when the time comes.

The Seller Accepts A Higher Offer

This is known as ‘gazumping’. Whilst it is frustrating, until contracts are exchanged, the property transactions not legally binding for either party. This means the seller is allowed to accept a higher offer from another buyer.You can choose to match the new buyer’s offer, attempt to negotiate a price somewhere in between, or drop out of the sale altogether. Depending on how far down the conveyancing process you are, the seller may be willing to accept your slightly lower offer as you may be able to complete faster as the conveyancing process is already under way.

The Buyer And Seller Can’t Agree

When an offer has been accepted on a property, both sets of conveyancing solicitors start the legal process by exchanging a series of letters (missives) to agree terms. These terms include the price, date of entry, and fixtures and fittings amongst other things. Occasionally, one or more of the conditions cannot be agreed on. If this happens, your conveyancing solicitor will negotiate with you and you must decide what you are prepared to compromise on (or not as the case may be).

Paperwork Issues

Missing and incomplete paperwork is a common obstacle in the conveyancing process. When completing a property transaction, especially one in which a mortgage is involved, there are numerous documents that need to be signed by both buyers and sellers and several that need to be witnessed. Organising this can sometimes cause delays. To ensure that you don’t hold up the conveyancing process, make sure you are available to sign contracts, and return documents as quickly as possible.

Time Taken To Complete Mortgage Valuation And Surveys

Whilst mortgage valuations don’t take that long to complete (usually around 15-20 mins), they are necessary. Unfortunately, it can take a while for your lender to arrange one on the property. Other, more in-depth surveys that you might need to have can also hold up the process. When a valuation and survey have been carried out, there is also the time it takes to write up their findings to take into consideration. To avoid delays, start looking into surveys as soon as an offer is accepted.

Problems With The Property

If your survey shows a problem with the property, whether you are buying or selling, this is likely to cause delays to the conveyancing process. The extent of the problem must be fully examined, and decisions will have to be made about any work that needs to be carried out to rectify the problem, specifically who is going to organise it and pay.. Your conveyancing solicitor will advise you on the results of the survey and its implications. It might be necessary to renegotiate price the other party.

Funding Delays

When there are delays with the mortgage approvals, there is likely to be a knock on effect. To collect and transfer money on completion, your conveyancing solicitors will probably use CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System), for which there is a charge. Some people decide to transfer the money over several or write a cheque which will slow the process.

Expiration Of Mortgage

When you are approved for a mortgage, the offer usually last between 3 and 6 months. If the offer expires before the conveyancing process has been completed, a new mortgage will be needed. When you compare your conveyancing quotes, discuss time frames with your conveyancing solicitor.

Local Authority Searches

One of your conveyancing solicitor’s tasks will be to order local authority searches. These are to discover out as much information about your property and the local area as possible. They involve the checking flooding and mining records, and planning permission. Enquiries may also have to be made into the water supply and other external bodies. While some local authorities complete the searches within a matter of days, others can take weeks. Always compare conveyancing fees and look under the disbursements to see what your conveyancing solicitor charges for them.

Lack Of Planning Permission/ Building Regulations

When a mortgage is taken out to buy a property, conveyancing solicitors must examine all necessary planning permissions and building regulations regarding the property involved. Proof must be provided that approval has been appropriately obtained in respect of changing or adapting a property. Even when no mortgage is involved, they have a duty to the parties involved to make sure that any changes made to a property were carried out correctly and meet the necessary standards and regulations.

Other People In The Chain

A lot of delays in the conveyancing process result from other people. Whilst this is something you can;t control, remain aware. Your conveyancing solicitors should monitor the chain closely and inform you straight away if a problem occurs. A breakdown in chains can be costly. When receiving your online conveyancing quotes, ask each conveyancing solicitor if this will affect the conveyancing fees charged.

Bear in mind though, your conveyancing solicitor is duty-bound to minimise delays to your property transaction. This is why when choosing conveyancing solicitors we advise you to always get several conveyancing quotes (this can be done online) and discuss conveyancing fees before you commit.