Why does it take so long to sell/buy a house?!

This office spends a lot of man-hours on chasing sales through to completion.  It is without question the single most frustrating part of our job.  Standards are on the majority immensely poor with solicitors, surveyors, mortgage advisor’s and other estate agents.

The target is to get the deal done in the time-scale the client (you) wish for and for you to be totally confident that what you’re buying is right and there are no unknown problems.

So where do I experience issues with this process….

Surveyors.  When did they lose their ability to give proper advice?  It’s as though they’ve had their balls chopped off.  Their service seems to have evolved in to becoming almost entirely about the surveyor eliminating any risk of themselves being sued, rather than giving high quality advice to the client.  How many standard warning paragraphs can you fit in to one document?  The most frustrating part is that there are still good surveyors out there that are giving high quality advice to people and I’m certain they’re not being sued left right and centre.  So why is it happening?  What’s changed in the industry to create this?  It’s definitely become far worse in the last 24 months.

Solicitors.  Solicitors seem to naturally blame one another for everything and anything.  This works on keeping their client happy, but is massively unproductive in getting a sale through.  It’s not as though their client can speak to the other solicitor to work out if their solicitor is fobbing them off or not. If a solicitor is busy, they’re mostly useless.  I’d say this is because they don’t actually have the time to devote to each case properly and they aren’t particularly good at communicating in general.  Some/most solicitors firms make such hard work of even a phone call.  The excuses I hear from solicitors are almost up there to rival estate agents.  The number of times I’ve been told a solicitor is “Just working on that, it’s on their desk.”  “It’s just come in.”  “we’ve not been able to get hold of the other side.” We’re waiting on someone else doing something…..” etc. etc.  The delays on near every sale we have is due to the solicitors involved.

Estate agents.  I’m not even sure if it’s necessary for me to go in to why estate agents make our sales chasing lives difficult.  I’m not sure where in the estate agent training manual it says “If you don’t know the answer to something, make it up and pretend you do.”  Mostly I find estate agents don’t do any sales chasing at all.  There are those that are really good but the majority do nothing.  Literally nothing.  They leave it to the solicitors.  Perhaps it’s partly due to most solicitors hating being chased and therefore not giving updates to anyone but their client.

Mortgage brokers.  I used to work as a mortgage broker so I know when someone is telling me nonsense or not.  It happens all the time.  “Yes, valuation is about to be instructed…”  “Yes, it’s fine and the mortgage is agreed.”  “No, the delays isn’t a big deal….”

The above is an accurate assessment of what we have to deal with when sales chasing.  Not all the time, but certainly more often than not.  Who is in control of this process and getting it over the line?  I know from experience that if nobody takes responsibility that delays will happen.  As an agency, we take responsibility and chase through a chain.  It makes a huge difference to our clients and those involved in our chains, but if EVERYONE did it, the time it takes to get a sale through would halve.

You should be able to buy a house in 4 weeks from point of agreeing the sale.  Everyone in the process will give excuses as to why that won’t happen, but they’re excuses based on incompetence, nothing more.

So if you’re involved in a property sale or purchase, don’t accept solicitors, estate agents or mortgage brokers giving excuses.  Hold people accountable and if you’re paying them, expect them to work hard for you.

Any questions, please ask.