Despite what you may hear from family and friends conveying a house or flat is not as straightforward as you may think. There is not such animal as a ‘straightforward’ transaction and in the majority of cases there are issues which need to be addressed not only on your behalf but also on behalf of your lender if you are borrowing money.
Conveyancing takes time – most ‘delays’ are nothing of the sort, it just takes time to get searches and replies to enquiries and in many respects your solicitor is dependant on others over whom there is little control to provide input. If you are in chain, everyone goes at the pace of the slowest link.
Do ask you solicitor why things are going at the pace they are. Some are more proactive than others – if they are vague or don’t return phone calls then it is worth pressing them or asking to speak to a partner or director.
Estate agents can be important in chasing the seller and rest of chain to return documents as your solicitor will only be dealing with the other solicitors involved on your sale and/or purchase. Remember however estate agents have a vested interest in ensuring that transactions are progressed promptly and therefore some do become embroiled in the game of blame apportionment. Don't always believe an agent if the agent says its your solicitor who is dragging his or her heels.
Imposing a deadline can sometimes work but it is risky. It should only be used if you are actually prepared to withdraw if it is not met. Imposing a deadline should only be used if people really are delaying – there is a good chance that it will not achieve anything as if there is a genuine hold-up then it will be impossible for it to be resolved any quicker and will just aggravate everyone involved in the chain.
If there is a major delay you will need to decide whether you are happy to wait or not. Please try to keep a good relationship and a three way dialogue with conveyancer, agent and your seller or buyer. This is the best way to ensure that a transaction goes smoothly – just remember, some things do take a while!
Always work with and not against your solicitor and keep in mind that your solicitor may be handling a large number of transactions in addition to yours. Only ever contact your solicitor if is absolutely essential. Many solicitors find it difficult to progress transactions because of the time they spend ion the phone answering routine client requests for updates.