You are here: Home - Better Business - Business Skills -

The house transaction process needs bringing into this century – Bamford

by: Patrick Bamford, head of international business development at Qualis Credit Risk, part of AmTrust International
  • 20/09/2023
  • 0
The house transaction process needs bringing into this century – Bamford
I read a comment recently about how the autumn period is traditionally a busy one for the housing market, as people seek to purchase and complete, hopefully moving into their new homes by Christmas.

There is however something of an issue with this assessment. Traditionally, that might have been the case – a house purchase agreed in September or October, might have had a very strong chance of making completion before Christmas. 

But now, looking at how long the average house transaction takes to complete – 20 to 24 weeks – you would have needed to have started on this journey in June or July this year to give you the best chance of making that pre-Christmas move-in date. 

It’s a fundamental of the current market which is often overlooked, and we should not underestimate the negative impact having such a long and protracted process can have. Not just on the stress and frustration levels of all those consumers involved, but also in terms of housing market-focused businesses who have to wait the best part of six months to get paid for the work they have carried out. 

Not forgetting the fact that the longer a process goes on, the greater the chance that it will eventually fall over.  

We currently have hundreds of thousands of transactions each year which are aborted for all kinds of reasons, but certainly – as time goes by – there is always a greater likelihood that someone will get itchy feet, or find a fault with the property that wasn’t visible until a survey was received, or have trouble with their finances, or decide (particularly relevant in a falling house price environment) that the initial offer they made is now deemed to be too much.  


Unavoidable circumstances 

Even if you’re a first-time buyer with no property to sell, you could be in a chain where there are multiple people who are, and again the lengthier the chain, the greater chance of something going wrong, and the greater the impact for all those reliant on each other. 

Years ago, the industry was up in arms at the process taking eight to 12 weeks, so I can only imagine the frustration now that a transaction tends to take double this.  

Certainly, for first-time buyers in particular, this whole process must feel completely alien when compared to the type of instant gratification they are able to secure in most other areas of their lives.  

Bank account set up – done in minutes online; credit cards – ditto; online shopping – delivered on the same day; car/home insurance – online and taking no time at all; purchasing a home – still traditionally paper-based with very little digital services used, often requiring constant to-ing and fro-ing between all parties with still no guarantee the transaction is going to go through, especially not in the timescale you would want. 

Put like that, it seems buying a home is still being conducted like it was hundreds of years ago. And, that wouldn’t be too far from the truth. 


Slow to change 

Now, I appreciate that there are ongoing campaigns looking to speed up the home buying and selling process, that the government does appear to want to listen, and that in a number of areas – digital ID/digital signatures, etc – many firms are already doing what they can.  

However, at the moment, it appears to me that conveyancers and solicitors are left to their own devices here. Yes, there are some ahead of the curve, using all the tech and digital services that help speed up the process, but they are just one cog in the wheel.  

If others are not so forward-thinking in this area, and they are the ones being relied upon, then the process will only go as fast as them. 

We are just weeks away from the next set of political conferences, and we are approximately a year away from the next General Election. Bringing the home buying and selling process into this century has to be a governmental policy worth making and worth introducing; making all firms follow it.  

No if, no buts, and no ‘it’s up to you’. 

Speeding it up would bring considerable benefits for all firms active in our market, not least advisers, and it would actually give consumers an experience with chimes with almost every other service they can currently get.  

What’s not to like? 

There are 0 Comment(s)

You may also be interested in