Slow Sales, Legal Indemnity & Lending Criteria

An incredibly frustrating part of our business is the Sales Progression work we have to do. Agreeing a sale and formally instructing the solicitors and the mortgage broker is the easy part, but it is the ongoing actual transaction that is becoming more and more frustrating and protracted. It is becoming clear that the ‘old’ 28 day target from receipt of contracts is not achievable. It was always a huge challenge and seldom achieved but now the weeks simply roll by. Solicitors seem to be taking more time to make sure each transaction is policed to an acute degree, money laundering regulations are extreme but relevant but take more time and of course then we have the banks. They dither, fine tune, change their minds, ask for information late in the day or just work on a go slow. Lenders are hugely frustrating but more often than not it is the legal side that is taking more time.

Are solicitors terrified of their professional indemnity or litigation so much that they are adding weeks and weeks to the process? They certainly seem to be!

We have regular calls from independent house builder clients chasing and hassling us for buyers to exchange or complete and we have to keep referring them back to their own solicitors or explain that the buyers solicitors have more enquiries or are waiting for search results etc. The simple fact is that we don’t earn our fee until legal completion so it is in our benefit to make things happen as quickly as realistically possible.

I hope someone relevant reads this as I think it is clear that we all need to appreciate that speedy sales are generally a thing of the past and the legal and lending process takes more time than it used to. Maybe the old four week target should be now six weeks…or maybe eight!

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