Many people don’t realise just how important the speed of the conveyancing can be to completing the sale or purchase of a property. An amazing one third of transactions fail because of delays in the process.
If you’re hoping to secure your purchase or sale, it may be a wise idea to find out more about what you could do to make sure that the process happens as quickly as possible.
You may also consider buying or selling your house at auction as a quicker method. However, in this article we will look closely at the traditional house sale and purchase and how to speed up the conveyancing process.
Steps to speed up the transaction (for buyers)
1. Ensure that your finances are in order
Before you start looking for properties, decide what type of mortgage and which bank will be best for your requirements. You could use a mortgage advisor to find the best rate, or an Internet comparison website.
When you’ve found the right mortgage company, be sure to ask them for a DiP (Decision in Principle).
Doing this will be beneficial in a number of ways: from confirming that the bank will lend to you to giving you a certificate that will help to support your offer.
It can also get the credit and affordability check process done and out of the way too, as well as showing you how much you can likely afford.
It may also be a good idea to ask the lender to note that you would prefer communication via email, otherwise there’s a chance that they’ll communicate with you by the much slower route of ordinary post.
2. Can the conveyancing lawyer act for your mortgage company?
If your offer is accepted and you’re ready to progress, you may want to find out if the coneyvancer you hire can act for your mortgage company.
The main reason for this is that the conveyancer will need to act on the loan company’s behalf and not all solicitors or conveyancers are able to work with all lenders. Often, he or she will only be in a position to do so if he or she is on the lender's panel of approved conveyancers.
If he or she is not an approved conveyancer, he or she will need to send the transaction file to someone or a firm that is and someone else will complete it.
This can both cost you time and money, so it’s often vital to ensure that you choose a professional that can act for your lender.
3. Pick the right legal team
It’s good to remember that the types of services offered can vary greatly from one firm to another, with some having a more traditional approach and others making use of all the technology available to them (i.e. online conveyancers). Both can be advantageous, but it can be worthwhile to decide whether a specific approach to conveyancing is better suited.
Some conveyancers also offer no sale no fee conveyancing option. Find out what it is in our article, no sale no fee conveyancing explained.
The pre-instruction process can be a good starting point to see how efficient a provider is likely to be.
Before instructing them, ask yourself if they’re working to your standard (think about how long it takes for them to get in contact with you and to respond to inquiries, as well as how much effort they put into doing so). It can also be beneficial to look at their credentials and any online reviews too.
Look out for those who complain about poor communication and delays – while many people will likely be frustrated and stressed while moving home, you should consider continuing your search if these complaints are consistent.
4. What to do when you’ve picked a conveyancer
There are a variety of things that you’re going to want to do when you have found your conveyancer.
Ask for the welcome pack of documents (chase this up if he or she doesn’t send them) and complete any forms as soon as you can. To save time and money, you could scan them in and send them via email.
Once you’ve done this, give your estate agent the contact information of your conveyancer and ask him or her to send the conveyancer the sales memorandum (copying you in).
It’s also important that you ask the estate agent any questions that you have regarding the property you are about to buy and their process.
If your mortgage lender will accept a faster personal search, it might be a wise idea to ask your conveyancer to apply for it. This can often be beneficial – although it may not be necessary if you’re a cash buyer.
Also, see if the valuation survey can be fast-tracked. You can ask your loan company to do a more detailed building survey at the same time (although many individuals deem it better to find an independent surveyor).
Finally, it will be in your best interest to tell the conveyancer if you’re getting financial help to buy (from a friend or family member). This way, he or she can create a gifted deposit document for the bank and save delays from occurring later on in the process.
If you don’t feel your conveyancer is working fast enough, you should take the initiative and talk to him or her. There could be a reason for slow progress that you can help to resolve. Alternatively, if there is no cause for the delay, ask him or her to prioritise your file – and if things don’t change after this, get in touch with his or her manager. Changing your conveyancer is possible, but often not desirable.
5. Why you should keep your agent involved in the development
Usually, the estate agent can do a lot to assist with both the sale and purchase of the property. His or her interests are similar to yours – and since most only get paid once a sale goes through, he or she will want the best for you so as to move on to the next set of sellers and buyers.
Professional agents will go above and beyond, and by communicating with them often you'll be helping them to help you.
6. Solving any issues
If the survey comes back showing that there are issues that were previously unknown to you, you may want to negotiate for a lower price. If you want to go through the procedure as swiftly as possible, it’s often best to make a revised offer.
You may also have to deal with other problems. If your conveyancer finds any issues with the property during his or her checks, you could ask for an indemnity policy rather than for the seller to make right the problem.
Steps to speed up the transaction (for sellers)
1. Consider the time of year
If you are a seller who hasn’t yet put your property on the market, remember that some people are more likely to buy during different parts of the year. Research shows that spring is the ideal season for selling. Warmer weather and sunshine can truly showcase homes and outdoor spaces at their best.
People tend to go on holiday during the summer and winter months are often preoccupied with plans and budgets for Christmas (although it’s worth noting that interest rates can increase in September).
2. Wait for the right buyer
In most cases, the purchaser of the property will affect the speed and general success of the transaction, so it can be wise to consider that the highest offer may not be the ideal solution if you’re hoping to sell as fast as possible.
Ask if the offer comes from a cash buyer; if so, he or she is likely to be faster to buy than someone who is planning on buying with a mortgage, since most lenders will need extra information and time, which can generally hold-up any progress. Also, if any issues arise along the way, a bank may be less confident in lending money – causing even more delays and interruptions that may not occur with someone who is paying in cash.
You should also look for chain-free buyers. Those in a chain may need to sell their current home before they can complete the transaction with yours. For this reason, it's generally beneficial to work with people looking for a second home, a first-time buyer, or essentially anyone that doesn't have any other obligations throughout the buying/selling process.
3. Ensure that all files and papers are prepared
It’s understandable that the individual purchasing the property will want to know everything that they can about your house, so be sure to prepare all the documents beforehand. This can include any certificates, planning permission papers, warranties and more. By doing this, you can often prevent delays from occurring later on.
4. Be ready to return any forms and answer questions
One excellent way to speed things up is to be on hand to talk to the home buyer and his or her solicitor about any enquiries that he or she may have.
The PIF (Property Information Form, also known as the TA6) is one of the biggest of these, and it's often the first, too. Since it can be a long procedure to complete the form, it's often best to start sooner rather than later. You could even download a sample form to give yourself an idea of what you'll need to answer when you eventually need to do it for real.
The buyer’s conveyancer will probably ask questions based on what you’ve said in the form, so to save time for everybody, it’s generally advised to be ready to answer as best as you can than to be unprepared.
5. Know that you might have to negotiate
Even if you are sure that there are no issues with your home, the property search may say differently and show a problem that you were completely unaware of. In these instances, you should be prepared to either pay for the repair work that needs to be done or to renegotiate the price.
Some buyers may try to make a lower offer than you want and threaten to pull out if you don’t accept it, which is why it can be important to be ready; both emotionally and mentally. Consider your minimum price and keep calm should this situation arise.
Often, it’s best to step away and try again, rather than accept a deal you’re unhappy with.
The importance of communicating
One of the best things that can be done to make everything simpler and faster is to make sure that there is plenty of contact between all parties. This one aspect can prove to be especially beneficial – and the good news is that it’s pretty simple to have a good level of communication with those involved in the transaction.
Have a good connection with your conveyancing lawyers
Many conveyancers still follow a traditional approach; often going as far as to send letters through the postal service, which will take far longer to arrive than a simple email or phone call. For this reason, finding a conveyancer that makes use of more common and effective forms of contact can often be a wise idea.
Phone calls, texts and emails are all much faster and easier to use and can save a few days when considering the entire process, since neither you nor your conveyancer are waiting for each other’s questions and answers.
Don't be afraid to get in touch with the other parties
Many people will opt to be quiet rather than chase people up, fearing that they’ll be a nuisance and disturb the work that’s being done. However, it’s generally far better to talk than to stay silent when it comes to home buying and selling.
Most banks, agents, lending companies and legal agencies will have other clients to deal with too – and in most instances, those who are the most vocal and check up on things are the ones that get prioritised.
Ask for regular updates
There’s nothing wrong with asking your conveyancer for regular updates, even if not much has happened. As mentioned above, many of these professionals put in a lot of effort with numerous clients, so those who are proactive in making themselves known are more likely to be responded to first.
Not only can this help you to have a better understanding of where your property lawyer is in terms of progress, but it can also make you feel more involved since those who don't ask will often be almost oblivious to everything that's going on behind the scenes.
Another benefit of asking for updates is that it can allow you to see any potential issues before they have a chance to cause a delay or worse. There’s even the opportunity to lend a hand, as you could chase up a mortgage provider or a managing agent for his or her response to your conveyancer.
Copy in relevant parties to relevant messages
One excellent reason to keep in contact on a consistent basis is to ensure than no problems or misunderstandings can develop into delays or more serious issues. Things can escalate quickly when there’s a lack of proper communication. This can generally be resolved before any damage is caused by using the CC function during email correspondence.
This isn’t just vital for you and your solicitor; it’s a wise idea to ensure that all relevant parties are involved and fully understand the situation and what’s currently going on.
Ask for documents to be emailed and scanned
The home buying and selling process requires a variety of different files that will need to be signed as the transaction goes through. To save yourself (and everybody else) time, ask for the required papers to be sent to you via email, so you can print them out and take care of it then and there, rather than waiting for paper copies to arrive.
In some cases, a conveyancer may need a hard copy, but it’s often more than fine to sign and return scanned documents through emails.