CONVEYANCING: HOW CAN BUYERS AND SELLERS SPEED UP THE PROCESS?
- AuthorDavid Guille
The residential property market is booming following the introduction of the stamp duty holiday by the Government in July 2020.
According to Rightmove in September 2020 there were "more homes selling within a week than at any point over the last decade."
The stamp duty holiday means that there is no stamp duty land tax payable by many buyers of residential properties up to £500,000.00 until 31 March 2021. As a result solicitors and estate agents are working at full capacity to meet the demands of clients seeking to move home before that date.
Mortgage lenders are also dealing with a heavy backlog of mortgage applications. Some are presently receiving approximately 1,500 per day but are only able to process about 500.
Here are a few ways buyers and sellers can help speed up the conveyancing process:
INSTRUCT A SOLICITOR EARLY
If you are a seller instruct a solicitor as soon as you put your property on the market. Don’t wait until you have accepted an offer from a buyer. Your solicitor can then start on the preliminary legal work that is needed before a buyer is found, such as arranging for you to complete a property information form and a fittings and contents form.
Under the money laundering regulations your solicitor is required to carry out identification checks on you before they can start acting for you. If these checks are done early delays can be avoided. It is important to check that your passport or photocard driving licence is up to date and you have documents to evidence your address, such as an original paper utility bill or bank account statement readily available.
MAKE AN EARLY MORTGAGE APPLICATION
If you are a prospective buyer obtain a mortgage decision in principle before you view any properties. With mortgage applications taking more time due to the heavy backlogs mortgage lenders are presently dealing with starting your application early can avoid delays during the conveyancing process.
MATTERS THAT AFFECT YOUR PROPERTY
Make your solicitor aware of any particular issues such as boundary maintenance and repair, rights of way over your property or rights you exercise over neighbouring property. It is common for these not to be recorded in your property deeds. Buyers and their mortgage lenders will require confirmation and evidence about such matters so it is important you make your solicitor aware of these as early as possible. Delays can be avoided if any action to rectify issues is taken early in the selling process or even before a buyer is found.
GUARANTEES, WARRANTIES AND CERTIFICATES
Homeowners often have a number of important documents that should be disclosed to a buyer during the conveyancing process. These typically include electrical installation certificates, gas safety records, FENSA certificates for replacement windows and doors and planning documents. If you are selling your home look for these and provide them to your solicitor as soon as you can. Should there be any missing documents then your solicitor will be able to advise you on how to resolve the issue.
If you would like any further information or assistance with selling your property or buying a property please contact our Residential Property Team.