Working through the pipeline can be frustrating for many property conveyancers, especially when it comes to ensuring that completions go through on time.
In many ways, property transactions can be seen as a puzzle. For completion to happen, each piece needs to fit together. Missing pieces make completion impossible and this is where problems begin to arise. Reasons for delays can range from relatively simple issues that can be resolved to major issues outside of the control of buyers or sellers. The completion process requires all parties to agree on a price. Once instructions have been given, it is not a given that completion will happen, however. Agents need to work alongside solicitors on either side, going over sales and purchase contracts, conducting searches, and taking any other steps that are needed. If the pipeline is free of problems, this can take up to six weeks. In a perfect world, this would be the case with every transaction. In reality, completion times are often far longer.
How to speed up completion.
One of the most time-consuming steps within the process is the pre-exchange period. Delays happen here because third parties are depended on to send through various documents that could include anything from mortgage agreements to search details. Each of these documents needs to be reviewed and then discussed with clients. Often, there can be delays. Using this time to work on documents that can be reviewed or discussed can help to speed things up rather than waiting for all documents to be sent from various parties.
Other delays come in the form of legal factors such as property title deeds, property information forms, building regulation certificates, fittings and contents documents, and other paperwork. Making sure that clients have these in place and ensuring that they have been completed as early as possible will help avoid delays. Being proactive with clients and encouraging them to send documents on time is essential.
Even when clients are working with you to deliver and sign documents on time, it is always a good idea to factor in time for unpredicted problems. In the property transaction process, it is all too easy for problems to leap up with no warning at just about every step in the process. Because completion effectively involves a chain of people, including agents, financers, and clients and solicitors for both buyers and sellers, there is a need to wait for others to move forward. If a problem arises at any point in the pipeline, everyone will be delayed. Something as simple as a buyer or seller questioning something about the property can cause massive delays. Rather than taking this risk, it helps to stay engaged with clients throughout the process. Rather than waiting for clients to speak to their estate agent, make sure that you have a way for clients to speak directly to you so that you can resolve issues quickly without a go-between. Working with the other party’s solicitors to resolve questions or problems is also a good idea to reduce wasted time.
Finally, one of the most important steps of all to avoid delays is to set realistic timeframes right from the start. Both buyers and sellers need to be fully aware of timeframes. Ideally, they need to be actively involved in determining the timeframe so that you know that they can follow this timeline. Proactive communication with clients is vital so that everyone is kept up to date each step of the way. Delays are most often caused by a lack of communication between relevant parties. Make sure that you keep updated on deliverables and dates and it will be easier to prevent completion delays.
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