Want to sell swiftly? The key is being prepared in advance...
By Louisa Fletcher, Property Expert
One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How can I make sure the sale of my property goes through as quickly as possible?” With the Business Secretary Sajid Javid reviewing ways that the conveyancing process could be made more ‘user friendly’, it’s possible that the current system may change in the near future. But until then, what else can you do other than cross your fingers once you’ve accepted an offer and hope that it exchanges in a reasonable amount of time?
The advice that I give people when they ask what they can do to help their transaction complete speedily is actually quite straightforward. Before you list your home for sale with an Estate Agent, appoint a Solicitor or Conveyancer to start on your legals.
Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons, actually.
The first is that as soon as you accept an offer on your property, the firm dealing with your conveyancing will need to send a Contract Package to your buyer’s lawyer. This is a bundle of documents including the Property Information Form, Fittings and Contents Form and draft Sales Contract, as well as guarantees for any building work or the remainder of any NHBC warranty. Now, what a lot of people don’t realise is that it can take a month to six weeks to prepare your Contract Package. This means if you only appoint a Solicitor or Conveyancer when you accept an offer, you’ve built a delay into the process before you’ve even started. But, by getting a lawyer on the job as soon as you put your home on the market, your Contract Package should be ready by the time you find a buyer, which means that it can be sent to out as quickly as possible, and you’ll hopefully be able to get to exchange quicker.
The other reason to get a lawyer instructed as soon as possible is so that they can check your property particulars – the documents and adverts your Estate Agent will prepare for you to market your property – before you sign them off. That’s because if they aren’t correct and an issue is found Post Exchange, it’s you as the Seller who will be liable, not the Estate Agent, as it’s your responsibility as the owner of the property to check they are correct. Complications due to incorrect particulars can also delay your transaction whilst they are being resolved. So, by sending them to your Conveyancer or Solicitor to check as soon as your estate agent has prepared them, you’ve put yourself in the best position possible for the process to run smoothly.
My last tip is to take out Residential Abortive Transaction Insurance (RATI). Now, this won’t help you sell your home quicker. Quite the reverse, this is a policy which means that, in the event your sale or purchase falls through, then any money you’ve spent so far on solicitors’ and surveyors’ fees will be refunded. Many solicitors and conveyancers offer this type of policy, and you can expect to pay between £45 and £100, depending on the level of cover you’re looking for, so make sure you ask if this is offered before you appoint a firm to act for you. But you could find it’s a few pounds well spent in the event that you do end up with a failed transaction and have to start all over again, although fingers crossed of course that won’t be the case!
So, when it comes down to selling your current pad quickly in order to buy your dream home, my advice is simple; think like a Boy Scout, and get yourself prepared for every eventuality.
Follow Louisa on Twitter: @louisafletcher