Delays are the biggest irritation for house buyers and sellers, research reveals

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Delays major drawback for UK buyers

More than half, 55%, of home buyers and sellers in the UK say the length of time it takes to buy a house is the most frustrating part of the process, according to new research from lawyers.

A survey of 1,300 homeowners by conveyancer 1st Property Lawyers revealed their biggest irritations with the house buying process and their concerns about buying a property currently.

In addition to irritations around the length of time the entire transaction took, it found unexpected delays in the run up to exchanging contracts were a major source of stress for 38% of homebuyers, and a further 17% complained specifically about a lack of communication from their conveyancer.

Estate agents featured as another significant source of irritation, with the other main gripes being delays in exchanging contracts, 38%, agents stretching the truth, 33%, a lack of communication, 27%, sellers seeing inappropriate buyers coming to view the home, 26%, other party changing completion dates, 20%, and on the other side, buyers being shown properties that were out of their price range, 15%.

The chief concern among homeowners hoping to buy a property at the moment is the ongoing uncertainty as regards the economy. Two in five buyers are worried as a result of uncertainty regarding their job and the current financial situation, while over a third, 36%, are worried that house prices will fall.

Despite evidence that the number of transactions being aborted due to the failure of the buyer to secure mortgage finance has decreased over the last three years from 15% of aborted transactions in 2009 to 9.8% in 2011, buyers still cite mortgage related issues as concerning to them. The research found that 29% worried about the financial burden of having a mortgage, the same number were concerned about difficulties in securing a deposit and 28% worried about raising a mortgage.

The cost of unexpected repair costs which were not identified in the property survey are also a fear for a quarter, 25%, of potential buyers, as stretched household finances leave little room to cope with significant unbudgeted costs.

‘Delays in the conveyancing process both generally, and specifically in the run up to exchange of contracts are the two greatest sources of frustration for homebuyers and sellers. Unfortunately, people are all too often left in the dark about the state of their transaction and this causes unnecessary uncertainty and stress,’ said Mark Montgomery, commercial director, 1st Property Lawyers.

‘However, it doesn’t need to be this way. Good quality professional firms maintain regular communication with customers to keep them in the loop about what is going on with such an important transaction, and a modern conveyancing specialist, can often complete transactions in a much shorter space of time than has historically been the case. Indeed, we pride ourselves on completing transactions significantly faster than the industry average, and keeping our clients up to date with the status of their transaction online 24/7,’ he added.

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