Sometimes when buying residential property, you will have to weigh factors about the property itself with questions about possible delays and changes of mind by the sellers.
As a result, it makes a great deal of sense, wherever possible, to try to get to talk to the sellers directly at some point – rather than doing everything through estate agents.
Some issues to consider and ask them about are:
- Why are the sellers moving? Is there a clear reason like a job move or the need for a bigger house for their growing family? If so they will perhaps be more motivated to see things happen quickly.
- If they are buying something else, are they being realistic about what they are looking for?
- If there is more than one person involved, are they both agreeing in what they say to you? If not then they may never agree about what they want to buy, or may change their minds about selling at all later on down the track!
- Following the last point, if there is a divorce or a separation involved, have all the financial arrangements REALLY been agreed and finalised? Often in this situation, the parties are advised to wait for a court order so the other one can’t go back on what’s been agreed – and that takes time.
- If they have found a property to buy, how long is the chain above them? Try to get specific details of the properties involved, and the estate agents dealing with each one, so that you can check it out yourself.
- Are they, or someone else in the chain above, buying a new property that is still being built? In those circumstances, there could be a long wait for completion until it is finished.
- Finally, if you need to complete by a certain date and the sellers will have to move into rented accommodation or with family, have they understood what that entails? Remember that until exchange of contracts there is no binding commitment, so you can only go on your own assessment of how personally committed they are. You should not necessarily accept what others say about this. The sellers might have been caught at an unguarded moment and when asked, said that ‘maybe, perhaps, if it really came to it, they might be able to go and stay with family…’? The best thing is always to make sure you talk to the sellers themselves and get them to think through what is involved in (for example) moving out to rented accommodation or in with family. This way, they will not pull out of or slow down a transaction saying that they didn’t realise how difficult this would be.
If you wish to discuss the above article or feel that you require any further advice on conveyancing or any other property-related matter, you are encouraged to contact Richard Webster & Co. for a free, no-obligation, initial consultation.
Richard Webster is the founder of Richard Webster & Co. which is a firm specialising in residential property and conveyancing and is accredited by The Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS). Please do not hesitate to contact the firm on 023 8000 4321 for any queries that you may have in relation to any residential property matters.
This article does not present a detailed statement of the Law and does not constitute as legal advice. This is a summary only and legal advice should always be sought on an individual case basis.