A recent survey showed that most people think it takes less than 8 weeks from acceptance of offer to completion whereas the average time is upwards of 13 weeks. We have set out below some of the key stages along the way to give you an idea of what is involved so you know what to look out for.
Validating the offer
Once you have accepted an offer your estate agent will need to check on your buyer’s ability to proceed. This involves seeing proof of funds for their deposit, receiving a copy of their mortgage agreement in principle and either speaking to the buyer’s mortgage broker or arranging for the estate agents recommended mortgage advisor to have a conversation with the buyer. The purpose of this is to make sure that everything checks out and there aren’t any foreseeable problems before costs are incurred and time is lost with the property being taken off the market. At this point your agent sends out what is known as the sales memorandum which essentially gives both yours and the buyer’s solicitors the details of the sale and their respective contact details.
Top Tip- It will save a lot of time if you instruct a solicitor when you put your property onto the market rather than waiting until you find a buyer. This way you can get all of the paperwork completed and sent back to your solicitor ready to be sent out to the buyer’s solicitor as soon as you accept an offer.
Assuming that you aren’t selling to a cash buyer your purchaser will need to get a mortgage. They should already have an agreement in principle so they will now need to submit a mortgage application. You want to see the survey booked as quickly as possible as this shows that things are under way and potential problems that might occur are often survey related so the sooner this is done the better. It can take anything from 2 to 6 weeks for the mortgage offer to come through and during this time your estate agent should stay in regular contact with the buyer and or their mortgage broker to make sure everything is progressing smoothly and any problems are picked up early.
Top Tip- When accepting an offer make sure that your estate agent checks on the current processing times for the lender the buyer is planning to use. Some lenders are quicker than others and there are some that will advertise an attractive rate but will be inundated with applications and have long delays in their processing times. It is better to get an expected idea of timescales at the outset to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Conveyancing is the process between your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor in checking through the paperwork and making sure everything is in order. This is normally the longest part of the purchase and this is where it really pays to have chosen a good local solicitor based on a recommendation rather than necessarily having gone with the cheapest option. The more information you can provide to your solicitor at the outset the better as this will help them be able to promptly answer any enquires. It is also advisable to sign draft contracts earlier then needed so that when the conveyancing is complete your solicitor will be able to exchange without having to wait for you to do this. Dependent on the type of property, the quality of both solicitors and the urgency shown by both parties you can expect this to take anything from 6 weeks to upwards of 20 weeks.
Top Tip- Ask your estate agent to check that your buyer has provided their solicitor with funds to enable them to apply for searches. You don’t want them to wait until they have a mortgage offer before doing this as it will cause un-necessary delays.
Once everything is ready with the above and you have agreed on a completion date you will then be able to exchange contracts. It is only at this point that both parties are legally committed to the transaction and until the exchange has taken place either one of you can withdraw without penalty. The longer the sale takes the more chance there is that something can go wrong on either side so it is better for everyone to move things forward as quickly as possible.
Click Here To Read 4 Things To Consider In An Offer Other Than Price