The Taylor&Emmet Blog

Is Covid-19 Having An Impact On Property Transaction Times?

Neil Riley, head of our residential conveyancing team, explains why stretched resources and increased demand are creating industry-wide delays in the property market…

Three organisations that represent the conveyancing market came together this week to issue a joint statement concerning the current state of the home buying and selling process.

Here at Taylor&Emmet, completing your transaction smoothly and swiftly is our priority, but there are factors outside our control that can cause frustration for clients. This has been compounded by the ‘coronavirus effect,’ which is stretching resources at key organisations, such as councils and mortgage lenders, to the limit.

I sold my home in a matter of days, but now I’m being told the conveyancing might take months. Why is this?

Since lockdown ended back in May, we have seen local property sales and purchases soar and this exponential rise in new business has resulted in more files being opened than ever before.

In the second quarter of this year, Taylor&Emmet was instructed on a record-breaking number of transactions, exceeding the previous highest quarter achieved in 2015. Despite predictions of a ‘boom and bust’ year, there are no signs yet of the property market slowing down. In fact, September was an exceptional month for us, with 928 new instructions received, a 63% increase on the same period last year.

This incredible demand has led to delays in the conveyancing process, made worse by a backlog of transactions from the lockdown period, the changes to stamp duty introduced by the government and the impact of Covid-19 on the legal profession.

Where are the delays in the process occurring?

We are dependent on a number third party organisations to progress a typical house sale or purchase, including local authorities and mortgage lenders.

Covid restrictions mean many councils are operating under extreme pressure and this is having an adverse effect on their ability to provide searches and access to the data for personal search companies.

Mortgage lenders are also inundated with work and we are finding it can take an hour or more to speak to someone about each case. This is limiting how many phone calls we can make a day, whilst causing delays to surveys and the provision of the offer letters we need to ascertain buyers have funding available.

We remained operational during lockdown, thanks to a massive investment in IT and infrastructure that allowed us to work from home, however, we have to deal with firms across the country who furloughed employees or made redundancies. Whilst the profession has worked incredibly hard to implement social distancing in offices, for some, maintaining productivity has been a real challenge.

Is there anything I can do to speed up the conveyancing process?

Organisation is greatly appreciated if you are buying or selling a property.

If you want to avoid delays, have key documentation ready to supply to your solicitor, such as proof of your name and address and warranties or guarantees that support changes to your property. For example, FENSA certificates for new windows and planning permission for extensions.

We understand that moving house is an incredibly stressful experience for most people and we will keep you fully informed throughout the process. All we ask is that, given the current situation, you have a little patience. Your solicitor has your best interests at heart we are doing everything we can to complete your transaction as quickly as possible.

Taylor&Emmet

Taylor&Emmet LLP is one of the leading and most successful law firms in the South Yorkshire region, a position it has held for nearly 150 years. This success has been achieved by delivering the highest quality legal advice to business and private clients, many of whom have remained with the firm for generations.

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