Every now and again, as an Estate Agent, we’re likely to come across tricky transactions. Sometimes this is easy to see from the outset, but more often than not, it’s complications that arise down the line.
If you’ve ever bought or sold a house before, you’re likely to know first-hand that things happen that cannot be foreseen, however, there is usually a solution which allows the transaction to get back on track.
Having been an estate agent for over 35 years, I was fairly confident that I’d seen it all. Over the hundreds, or perhaps thousands of sales that I have been personally involved with, I have witnessed many twists and turns but have in most cases been able to overcome these challenges to successfully bring the sale to completion, probably why I have stacked up 35 years in the business.
The reason, however, for this blog is that I am currently handling not one, but two challenging sales which to all intents and purposes should have been fairly straightforward, highlighting some important considerations should you need to sell your home.
You may think that as Estate Agents, if we were to buy or sell a property it would be easier than the norm, you’d be wrong. I have, over the last few months, been assisting two of my colleagues in the purchase of their next homes. It’s important to highlight that whilst they are both senior employees within Mackenzie Smith, they are not residential Estate Agents, which is why I offered to step in with my advice, experience and assistance.
The first buyer was entering a transaction which had no chain. She had previously sold her home to move into rented accommodation, so was now in a perfect position to buy, the home she was buying had no onward chain as was a buy to let property looking to gain the equity back. At the end of October her offer was accepted and the wheels set in motion for a quick exchange and a likely completion in January. Enter January and contracts still had not been exchanged and due to the rental notice period required, completion is unlikely to occur until March. Clearly, at the beginning of the transaction, this was set to be a piece of cake, however the legalities of ownership due to an unfortunate probate situation highlighted along the way, presented multiple challenges which I have never seen before in my career. This could never have been anticipated.
The second transaction was again, set to be straightforward. My colleague, currently living with her parents, was buying from a couple who had found a home for sale with vacant possession, a relatively short chain in the scheme of things. Finance was in place, all parties were motivated and again, after an offer was agreed in October, an exchange was likely before Christmas with a completion to be agreed for January. Unfortunately, January rolled around and none of this had happened, again all thanks to circumstances which I have never before experienced.
Voluntarily trying to assist two colleagues, and professionally involved with another aspect of the chain, it has been in my interest to get these sales through to completion. With over 95% success rate, it’s genuinely shocking that we had not exchanged in the New Year.
I have made every attempt to encourage strong communication between all parties and keeping everyone up to date during the course of both transactions. I’ve liaised on an extremely regular basis with the solicitors involved, some of whom I have personally recommended, I’ve collected and hand delivered documents to try and do all I can to progress these sales. Yet months down the line, we were still not in a position to exchange.
In recognition of the fact that this article might be read by solicitors involved with either sale or purchase, I must make it clear that I am not placing any blame, I have personally recommended or endorsed these services to the relevant parties and stand by that decision.
What this all boils down to, is that despite the genuine and realistic motivation of all parties involved, the dedication of my extensive experience and the skill, expertise and knowledge of all involved, the process of buying or selling a property can and often does entail a number of unexpected events.
Whilst the complications that have occurred in both of these transactions; trust ownership and probate delays, could not have been anticipated, it has highlighted to me that the Conveyancing system is designed to deal with problems, rather than to anticipate them. This reactive nature is clearly going to cause delays, which are easily overcome when you have the drive and motivation of an experienced agent to oversee.
The reason I have chosen to put pen to paper on this occasion, is not to glorify my personal involvement or undermine the hard work of the solicitors involved, but to highlight the importance of being earnest. Anyone contemplating a house move should know from the outset that complications along the way are frequent when buying or selling a house, they are often unpredictable and unavoidable, and so to successfully get to the stage of completion you really do need a team of people acting on your behalf. Without the appropriate skills, expertise and motivation, a house sale can so easily become stagnant. Instructing a passionate individual to manage your home is quite simply going to put you in the best position to move forward.
An estate agent’s role is not simply to find a buyer. This is just the beginning. If you find yourself considering an agent anytime soon, my advice would be to choose carefully. The skill of communication, patience and understanding can’t always be guaranteed. Find someone motivated, driven and fully committed to getting you across that finish line.
As for buyers, the best advice I can offer is, apart from ensuring your funding is in place, to take careful consideration when choosing a conveyancer or solicitor. It is crucial to ensure that they, like you, will be proactive in purchasing your new home.
I am pleased to say that following months of phone calls, persistence and a lot of patience, we have successfully exchanged on both of my colleagues’ purchases. Having seen both sides of the coin on this occasion, it was plain to see how the process can so often fall apart.
If you would like to benefit from our local knowledge and years of experience of selling homes, feel free to contact your local branch for a conversation without obligation. I wish you all the luck with your next move.
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