Conveyancing conundrums – how to avoid delays

Delays are an unavoidable part of life, but when it comes to covering the financial consequences of delays, there can be great ramifications. The odds of them increase when housing chains form, and an error from anybody in the chain could result in a cascade. Apart from avoiding chains, how else can you mitigate the risk of delays during conveyancing?


Incomplete, inappropriate or absent paperwork is by far the most common issue in the conveyancing pipeline. When providing documentation to your legal representative, make sure that you send it by email or that you have two copies in person. Be sure that your legal representative checks the documents upon arrival, confirming they are correct and in order, rather than waiting until they need it only to find out that there is an issue.

You will have to be available to promptly sign contracts, fully complete them and return any documents that your conveyancing solicitors Portsmouth sends you, always requesting confirmation that they have received it.

Failing to instruct your representative to accept

When you hire conveyancing services, the representative who carries out transactions does so in your stead but does not have the authority to manage your assets; they simply carry out instructions. It may seem there has been an obvious indication that you wish to go ahead with the purchase, but it may not be as clear as you think. You have to specifically inform the representative to accept the offer as they are legally required to wait for that explicit instruction.


Midway through the negotiation (but not whilst the transaction is legally binding), the seller may receive a higher offer and immediately drop their current buyer. It’s unpleasant and not very polite, but also entirely legal and sometimes happens. You can try to match the current offer or walk away. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to mitigate against the loss of time; some conveyancers charge per attempted transaction whilst others have a single fee for as many transactions as it takes for the property to be sold or bought. So you can save money in the long term and give yourself some protection against ‘gazumping’.


Surveying the property late

Surveying can be arranged at very short notice and completed quickly. This sometimes leads to complacency since the simple survey could spiral depending on the results. Will an electrician have to be called in for an in-depth electrical assessment or a gas technician to comment on the property mainline? If there are signs of minor subsidence, will sub-soil need to be assessed? You don’t have to survey early, and if you get an ‘all clear’, no harm is done. However, surveying late and getting complications can easily have a domino effect.

Related to surveying, early surveying will also be linked to renegotiating prices. This can be extremely annoying and result in undoing a significant amount of the contract drafting process. Early surveying allows you to consider any less obvious factors affecting the property and place a bid accordingly rather than having to rewrite and renegotiate.

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