Top 10 reasons for delays in the Conveyancing process
Buying or selling a home can be a stressful time, even when everything seems to be going smoothly in the Conveyancing process. Unfortunately, sometimes, this is not always the case, and problems with the transaction can occur and be extremely frustrating.
At the heart of the sale of a property, from one party to another, is the Conveyancing Process. Undertaken by solicitors, who for the most part, are extremely efficient at their job. However, that cannot always prevent hold-ups from occurring along the way.
Hold-ups happen for a wide variety of reasons. Some derive from third parties, such as the mortgage provider or the local authority, while others can be caused by delays elsewhere in the chain. However, if you are the buyer or seller, you may be inadvertently causing delays yourself.
Here are ten of the most common reasons for delays in the Conveyancing process:
1. Delay in instructing a solicitor
Many prospective buyers or vendors of property assume that the solicitor will not be involved until later in the process, so that there will be plenty of time to instruct a solicitor. However, this is not the case.
As soon as you have made or accepted an offer, the estate agent will need to know your solicitor’s details. If you wait till then to start searching for a Conveyancing Solicitor, you can delay the process. The best plan is to begin your search as early in the process as possible – right at the beginning of your journey.
2. Delay in obtaining a leasehold management pack
If you are selling a leasehold on a property, you will need to obtain a management pack, on behalf of the buyer, from either the Freeholder or their Management Agent. This will confirm that all payments are up to date and that the building insurance policy is valid, as well as specifying whether any work is scheduled.
It may take some time to obtain this, especially if a third-party Management Agent is concerned. This makes it vital to inform your solicitor at the outset if the purchase is a leasehold.
3. Delays in signing and returning legal documents
Whether you are buying or selling a property, the Conveyancing Process will involve signing various documents, which will then need to be returned promptly to the other party’s solicitor. Delay in carrying this out can hold up the process.
Some of these signatures will need to be witnessed, so it is important to arrange in advance who is going to act as your witnesses and ensuring they will be able to respond promptly to your request. Asking a number of people in advance will make it more likely that someone will be available.
4. Delays in receiving responses and documents from others in the chain
Most property transactions involve a chain of buyers and sellers, and a delay at any point in the chain will hold up everyone else. Even if you avoid delays in providing information and signed documents on request, others in your chain may or may not be prompt on this.
There is little you can do on this except to be patient and keep in regular contact with your solicitor. They will do all they can to encourage other parties to respond in a timely manner.
5. Delay in declaring a gifted deposit
If someone has given you the money to pay your deposit (for example, your parents), this must be declared to your mortgage provider, who will probably require a signature confirming that you do not need to repay this money.
They will also want to ensure that the gift is not part of a money laundering scheme. This means that they will need to investigate the source of the money, which can take time. To minimise the delay this causes, you should declare the gift to both your solicitor and your mortgage provider at the start of the Conveyancing Process.
6. Delays in third party procedures
A number of third party procedures may be required as part of the Conveyancing Process, and any or all of these could take longer than expected. Most typically, there will be the mortgage valuation and the surveys, as well as a local authority searches to ensure that there are no planning permission or environmental issues.
As with the delays elsewhere in the chain, there is little you can do about this apart from being patient. If you have chosen a good Conveyancing Solicitor, they will be hot on this and ensure that the delay is no longer than it needs to be.
7. Delays caused by incorrect information on the mortgage application form
Mortgage application forms can be long and complex, and mistakes can occur. Common errors include misreporting income or financial background, getting your national insurance number wrong, or failing to provide references as requested.
Mistakes in the mortgage application can waste a good deal of time. At best, you may have to fill in a new form. At worst, your mortgage application could be refused, and you would have to start the whole process again, risking the sale falling through.
8. Delay in transferring funds to your solicitor
If you are buying a property, you will need to transfer funds to your solicitor, for the payment of the deposit and various fees. However, this is likely to involve a charge, since normally the only way to transfer more than £10,000 in one go is to use CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System).
The fee associated can be avoided by paying the sum in instalments over several days, or else paying by cheque. Both methods, however, will take significantly longer.
9. Delay caused by loss of title deeds
If you are selling a property, you will need to produce the title deeds, to your ownership of the property. If you have lost these, your solicitor will need to apply to the Land Registry for copies. However, if you have owned the property for more than thirty years, they may not hold the deeds and will have to reconstitute them.
This can be a lengthy process that requires you to produce evidence proving that you are the legal owner. To prevent a long delay, check that you have the title deeds, or can obtain them, before putting your property onto the market.
10. Delay caused by the mortgage offer expiring
A mortgage offer will normally last between three and six months. If the Conveyancing Process goes smoothly, this should ample time, but if there are significant delays, you may have to apply for a new mortgage offer.
There may be circumstances when this is unavoidable, due to delays caused elsewhere in the system. However, instructing a Conveyancing Solicitor with plenty of experience and a sound track record will make this less likely to happen.
So, there we have it! The most common of the many delays that can happen in the Conveyancing Process. To help ensure your house move proceeds as smoothly as possible, it’s important to use expert Conveyancing Solicitors to guide you through the process.
At Osborne Morris & Morgan, we are a friendly team of award-winning legal professionals, who are nationally recognised experts in our fields.
To speak with our expert team of Conveyancing solicitors, please get in touch with us online, or by phoning us on 01763 877110, today.