Keep your eye on the prize!

May 15, 2017 by Rob Kahl

This may be hard to believe, but I currently have a 'sale' that has been going on now for 13 months! Yes that is right over a year!

This is a specific case where we have had to wait for the solicitors to get probate and various other things that have seemed to get thrown in the way. Thankfully this is not the norm, but even the best case scenario sales tend to take about 3 months after agreeing a sale to actually exchange contracts.

The whole process is so antiquated and drawn out that it can be hugely frustrating for all concerned. During this period it is very important to re-visit the property you are buying. You will need to familiarise yourself with your new home, measure up for furniture and visit the property at various times of the day to see how it may be different. You must keep the faith and remember what it is you will be achieving at the end of the transaction rather than becoming fed up and disheartened with the transaction itself.

As agents we obviously have an interest in moving things on as quickly as possible (basically to ensure that we get paid) but the sales that go through the quickest have the most motivated buyers and sellers who are prepared to do their bit. This can include making sure that if there are forms that need filling in, they do not sit on your kitchen worktop for a week before you get round to opening them. They are filled in immediately and returned straight away to the relevant solicitors.

It also involves making sure that you have all of the relevant paperwork ready as soon as you begin marketing the property. You have all of your current mortgage paperwork together so you know where your deeds are, any certification is available for any works you have recently had at your property, such as new double glazing or any building works that required permission.

As buyers as well, you can make sure all of your paperwork is signed and you have paid your solicitor nice and early to get the searches underway. If you are self employed make sure all of your accounts are up to date so that there will be no delays with your mortgage application. This time of year it is becoming more relevant for buyers and sellers to tell everyone involved in the chain of any plans that they may have that could impact on a proposed completion date.

You would by surprised the number of people that go on holiday whilst they are buying and selling a property. If you have something planned or any impending dates that you must or definitely can’t move on, even if they seem a long way in the future, let everyone know as soon as possible. This will focus the minds to get everything done before or manage expectation from an early stage that things may take a little while.

During this period as buyers and sellers you will undoubtedly at some stage think, why are you bothering? You will be having to chase your solicitor, mortgage broker, surveyor, agents and anyone else that is involved. You will feel like you are the only one that cares if this things happens at all and you will definitely feel a little bit aggrieved, that you are the one bending to the demands of the rest of the chain and nobody else is prepared to budge. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.

You may be 6 weeks in to the transaction, have had to chase every single day, whilst trying to work full time and look after the family. You either are getting fed up because things aren’t moving as quickly as you want them or worse still are completely in the dark about where you are in the transaction as things are going on around you without your knowledge. It is at this point that you have to take a step back, re-visit the property you are buying or remember the reason you are selling, take a deep breath and remember what is important.

This new home you are going into is going to be your forever home (everyone says that, until I tempt them to move again) or moving away is going to be the next exciting chapter to your new life. If you have to wait another week or 2 is it really going to be the end of the world? Are you too focused on the transaction itself and not looking at the bigger prize?

A good proportion of my day is spent dealing with running sales and trying to placate people. I have to negotiate about all sorts of things like curtains, washing machines, light fittings, sheds, anything. Quite reasonable people that are at the end of their tethers buying and selling properties for hundreds of thousands of pounds arguing over a £100 second hand shed remaining. These things become a point of principal.

So in summary, I do appreciate how frustrating it can be (imagine doing to for a living for over 20 years) but you must keep your perspective. The system is rubbish, everyone knows that, but it is what we have got so we will all just have to deal with it.

It takes far too long, your biggest ever transaction will be in the hands of complete strangers that you will probably never meet and couldn’t really give a monkeys whether you move or not and the whole transaction is only as good as the slowest solicitor in the chain.

But remember why you are doing it, what you will get at the end and keep your eyes on the prize.

It is an old cliché but I absolutely promise, a year after you have moved in to your house you will be drinking wine with your friend swapping horror stories of how drawn out your house move was, how long it took and how much you had to pay for the naff 1980’s curtains that the vendor insisted were left.

This article is by Rob at Scott & Stapleton
To read all of Rob's previous blogs please click the link