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  • Becky Sage

Hoping to be 'in by Christmas'?

Common sense tells us that if a large proportion of society have been on furlough with businesses running on minimal staffing, that a boom in the property market will place a strain on all professionals concerned. Estate Agents have been experiencing a sharp increase in demand, and sale agreed transactions have gone through the roof; conveyancers, mortgage companies and surveyors will all equally be feeling the strain and therefore we can anticipate the average time to completion taking longer than ‘normal’ – with normal sitting somewhere between 12 and 14 weeks. Add to this the pressure of ‘being in by Christmas’ or the Stamp Duty Holiday cut off of 31st March 2021, and things could soon become quite fraught.

There are certain things we have little control over during the process, but this scenario is exactly where communication, integrity and quality of service come into play. The most important thing I have learnt over the last 23 years of agency is the value of effective and thorough communication – that, and actually listening … Over the years technology has changed how this is achieved but the importance of this undervalued skill remains the same.

My frustration is rarely hidden when clients go ‘cheap’ with a property listing with an online agent, not because the internet isn’t an enormous asset but because the service standards are generally so poor – and acceptance of this undermines the value and skill of a good agent.

Well here we are now in a time-sensitive, frantic market – with who-only-knows what’s down the line with Covid and Brexit ever present, but there are things that both sellers and buyers can do to help themselves and to speed up the process/minimise hiccups along the way.

1) Appoint a good agent. This sounds simple (and potentially biased…) but service standards do vary hugely. How well does the agent know your area and the market, how realistic are they and how they are going to be able to service your needs – Please, Please avoid faceless call-centre services – sometimes these achieve the result you require but very often they don’t – equally communication is so poor other agents aren’t prepared to deal with them in a chain!

2) Prepare. Yes we know about pruning the roses and cleaning the grout, but now we mean prepare your documentation and save valuable time further down the line. Dig out title deeds, lease agreements etc. Organise (or ask your agent to) your EPC and Floorplan, liaise with your conveyancer – can you answer pre-contract enquiries ahead of sale? What about paying for searches now so they can be passed to a buyer? All of these are attractive options and appealing to a buyer – saving everyone time in the long-run.

3) Back to that conveyancer – do you have one you know and trust – do they communicate efficiently (many don’t) – this is absolutely CRITICAL to the process – ask for a recommendation from your agent – if they communicate you’re 70% of the way there. A good agent/conveyancer relationship has saved many a property transaction in my experience. Also using a conveyancer local to the area can be a huge help when it comes to their understanding of what arises through searches etc.

4) AIP (Agreement in Principal) and proof of finance – buyers – have this ready to show your agent. A good agent will need to qualify your ability to buy – this can offer credibility and save valuable time if you can provide the information at the point of offer.

5) Mortgage Broker – Again communication is key. I have been blessed both personally and professionally to have worked with the very best brokers and they are absolutely worth their weight in gold (or diamonds – ethical – frankly) – cheap or generic isn’t necessarily going to save you in the long run.

Good luck. What exciting and challenging times – if you would like to discuss your plans formally or informally just give me a call – 01453 860980, I’m happy to chat.

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