It takes 111 Days to get the keys when you buy a S

Today we look at why it takes this long from purchasing to completion and how this process can be made more efficient.

113 properties have sold in the SESKU area in the last 12 months. It takes 44 days to sell and then 111 days from the sold board going up to the buyer getting the keys (this is the same for houses in the local area and the national average.)

With a shortage of solicitors and a sub-standard conveyancing system, this article discusses what house sellers (and buyers) can do to speed up the process.

So why does it take this amount of time, when all that is required is the lawyers to look at some paperwork and get a mortgage?

The legal process to buy and sell a UK property is called conveyancing. The conveyancing system itself hasn’t really changed in hundreds of years.

After the housing market was reopened following the first lockdown in the spring of 2020, the property market returned with a bang, helped on with the stamp duty holiday. In 2021, the number of properties selling the area went up massively, e.g. , by 96% June 2021 and 65% in March 2021.

Many conveyancers and solicitors had to sort the legal paperwork out for these additional purchases.

This glut of sold properties caused by the pandemic that needed legal work to be sorted exacerbated a problem already present in the conveyancing industry.

Conveyancing is seen as the Cinderella of the legal profession.

This workload was the straw that broke the camel’s back, making many conveyancers leave the profession and go into better paid legal work.

Also, the legal process of conveyancing has built-in inefficiencies, the profession has been relatively slow to innovate. Tech solutions are being slowly rolled out across the industry to make the process more efficient and effective.

If you are buying or selling your property you won’t be able to wait for the conveyancing profession to be revamped, yet you can be as pre-emptive as possible to get your sale through earlier :-

  • Ensure you have all the paperwork sorted on your home before you put your home on the market.

  • Get the ball rolling on your mortgage. If you receive some paperwork, read it, check it, sign it and send it back in a day.

  • Always communicate frequently with your estate agent and conveyancer.

When you instruct a solicitor, most will request money to start the ball rolling for searches and disbursements.

You will have to prove who you are in the conveyancing process, so your conveyancer will ask you to show them proof of ID and address.

If you are buying, they will need to prove you have the funds/deposit to buy the property.

How can the house buying and selling process be improved?

A couple of years ago, the Government set up the Home Buying and Selling Group chaired by the well-known property guru Kate Faulkner.

It is looking at an amalgamated Seller’s Information Pack (SIPs) and an IT-based single platform to share and communicate that SIP between buyers, sellers and all the other parties.

The advantage of the SIP is that it can be created before the buyer has been found, meaning property buyers would be more knowledgeable when making an offer.

Once the sale has been agreed upon, the SIP could be sent straightaway electronically to the buyers’ legal team (from the seller’s legal team) to start the procedure of asking for searches and raising inquiries.

The bottom line is the conveyancing process is not fit for purpose in the 21st century and change is on the horizon.

At my agency, I recommend the seller, us as the agent and the conveyancer start to liaise with each other to get the key information on the property being sold as quickly as possible. Then once a buyer is found, I believe it is vital we, as the agent, regularly communicate with all the stakeholders.

In the future, utilising technology and every agent/conveyancer preparing information upfront with the SIP will drastically reduce the time it takes between agreeing a sale and the keys/monies handed over.

The conveyancing process will have to change to meet the needs of the 21st century, but how long that will take is the big question.

If you would like to chat with me about how we do things differently to ensure your property not only gets the best price and how we do all we can, as agents, to expedite a smooth sale for your property, do not hesitate to pick up the phone.