What to do if your chain collapses – Advice from a buying agent, Jo Henry

I was quoted in Carol Lewis’ piece in the Sunday Times today as she highlighted the increased risk of property deals falling apart in the light of the new national lockdown.

How can a buying agent help?

I think what surprises clients most about my job as their buying agent is how much of the work comes after we have identified the property that they want to buy. The statistic that is always banded about is that 30% of deals agreed fall out of bed during the conveyancing process. I suspect over the next few months that number will be higher and it is easy to see how many client purchases would not make it to the finish line without my involvement.

Of course there are some for which that is absolutely the right outcome. Perhaps there are irresolvable issues with the property or a drastic change in circumstance. For many, however, these deals fail due to poor communication, the mismatched expectations of buyer and seller or, my personal favourite, a disagreement about a relatively inconsequential issue which seems unreasonable to one party or the other.

Much of my work is about ensuring that minor glitches are resolved and that issues which are irrelevant to the future ownership of the property don’t cause the transaction to stall. In the current market most issues relate to timings. Local Authority search results are often painfully slow to return, some lenders are swamped with applications so loan turnaround times reflect that and many solicitors have more work than they can handle. The key is to make sure that all parties involved in the transaction or chain know what is going on. Silence is the enemy of success in property purchase terms.

Buying a house during the pandemic

I can see the approaching end of the stamp duty holiday causing a problematic bottle neck at certain levels of the market. It doesn’t affect our clients directly but the continuing surge of people trying to complete on sub-£500k purchases before the end of March will cause delays throughout the conveyancing system as local councils, lenders and solicitors struggle to manage their respective workloads.

Moving to Somerset, Dorset or Wiltshire

If you are currently looking for a property in the South West, would like some advice on managing a future purchase or input on managing your property sale please don’t hesitate to get in touch. In these turbulent times a buying agent’s job is often about making the deal happen rather than unearthing the property itself.