Property News

Property selling process – what can be done to speed up exchange of contracts?

Em Morley - August 16, 2019

As a landlord, you might be looking to sell on a property for a number of reasons. You may wish to upsize, downsize or move areas. Regardless of this, getting from the beginning of the property selling process to the exchange of contracts can be a frustrating journey. 

Sales progression and communication tool mio points out that all parties involved in property transactions must do their bit to help limit delays, whether they are a consumer or a professional.

It says that more needs to be done to speed up the moving process and improve communication between key stakeholders.

Exchange is the longest part of moving home

Mio highlights that the UK moving process is notorious for being slow, with buyers and sellers often facing long delays before getting their hands on the keys to their new home.

Once you get to the exchange of contracts – the final stage of the property selling process, in which signed contracts are exchanged between both parties – it can be one of the most stressful and frustrating parts of the process. According to recent research, it is also the longest.

It takes on average 166 days to complete an exchange of contracts, according to a survey of 2,000 homeowners conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Matterport. This is the equivalent of 5.3 months

The report for this survey suggests that some were unfortunate enough to be stuck in the chain for up to 25 months before their contracts were exchanged.

John Horton, product director of mio, part of tmgroup, says: “When you consider how long the entire moving process – and particularly the exchange of contracts – is taking, it’s no wonder the government has made a commitment to improve the home buying and selling process.

“While this process is ongoing, it’s up to estate agents, conveyancers and movers themselves to work collaboratively to prevent lengthy delays and keep the housing market ticking over.”

What are the main causes of delays in the moving process?

Mio has highlighted the ten most common reasons for why a property transaction could be delayed:

  • Mortgage offers expiring
  • Complications in other parts of the chain
  • Failure to agree timescale between parties
  • Loss of or defective title deeds
  • Delays caused by surveys and mortgage valuations
  • Not signing/returning documents on time
  • Incorrect or incomplete information on key documents
  • Lack of disclosure around a gifted deposit
  • Delays in searches being returned
  • Slow or lacking service from conveyancers/agents

What can buyers and sellers do to limit delays?

Consumers have an important role to play when it comes to reducing the chances of an elongated exchange process.

Horton explains: “Buyers and sellers can often become frustrated and feel isolated during the exchange, but they must stay engaged with the progress of the transaction,” Horton explains.

“Being easily contactable, prompt in returning documents and flexible with dates can all help to stop transactions from stalling.

“What’s more, having realistic expectations and knowing the right time to chase agents or solicitors can also reduce unnecessary friction in the process.”

What can agents and conveyancers do to speed up the process?

It’s important for agents and conveyancers to be proactive and open to collaboration instead of working in a silo.

Horton adds: “Working together and being transparent can certainly help to reduce delays and keep things moving.

“Good communication is vital for property professionals, both in organising key aspects of the move and managing the expectations of buyers and sellers.”

Horton says that agents and conveyancers who use technology to their advantage and take a more accessible approach towards sales progression can improve customer satisfaction and improve their chances of securing repeat future business.