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Having started in the industry 16 years ago, I am used to certain things; for example quiet viewers are often interested viewers, if the phone rings at home I am likely to answer ‘Foden Property, Katie speaking’ and an average sale takes 6 to 8 weeks to go through to Completion – this has always been the way and will always be the way, right? Well, no!
Over the past six months or so we have seen the amount of time it takes to get a sale through really start to drift, taking more like 8 to 12 weeks on average. At first we wondered if it was just us or an anomaly, but we soon discovered that this was a more widely spread phenomenon, Solicitors, Mortgage Advisers and other Estate Agents were all finding the same thing, but no one seemed to be able to put their finger on why it was happening.
So why is it happening? Truthfully, I’m not one hundred percent sure, there seems to be a number of changes and challenges that are all adding up to create this situation.
A change that we have noticed is in the mortgage process. One of the first things we, as agents, were used to happening once a sale was agreed was a survey being booked, this was usually within the first two weeks. In a number of instances this is now taking significantly longer, some lenders now only book the survey once the mortgage application has been fully approved, and with some lenders it can take weeks to get an appointment to go in and sign up your mortgage paperwork!
This leads on to another reason for delay, Solicitors are being instructed but asked to hold off applying for searches until the mortgage has been fully approved – again we are used to searches being applied for as soon as possible so that the mortgage process and legal process run along simultaneously.
There are numerous other things that can cause delays and sometimes there are no particular reasons for it, a few days here and a few days there and the next thing you know a couple of weeks has gone by. The problem is delay leads to frustration and speculation so if your sale is experiencing a delay, make sure the communication is still flowing, and be assured that there is probably nothing to worry about things are just taking a bit longer than we are all used to.