What can buyers and sellers do to speed up the exchange of contracts?


According to sales progression and communication tool mio, all parties involved in property transactions – including consumers and professionals – must do their bit to help limit delays to the exchange of contracts.
Exchange is the longest part of moving home
It’s well-documented that the UK moving process is too slow, with buyers and sellers often facing long delays before they can get their hands on the keys to their new home.
The exchange of contracts – the final part of the selling process in which signed contracts are exchanged between both parties – can often be one of the most stressful and frustrating parts of the process for consumers. And, according to recent research, it’s also the longest.
On average, the exchange of contracts takes 166 days – equivalent to 5.3 months – according to a survey of 2,000 homeowners conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Matterport.
The report suggests that for some unlucky movers, the exchange could take up to 25 months.
The survey calculates that the typical move in the UK takes 210 days (6.8 months), although official figures estimate that it is 126 days, just over four months.
Following the exchange, waiting to get a mortgage offer is the next lengthiest process at an average of 24 days, according to the study.
John Horton, product director of mio, had this to say: “When you consider how long the entire moving process – and particularly the exchange of contracts – is taking, it’s no wonder the government has made a commitment to improve the home buying and selling process.
While this process is ongoing, it’s up to estate agents, conveyancers and movers themselves to work collaboratively to prevent lengthy delays and keep the housing market ticking over.”
What are the main causes of delays in the moving process?
There are many reasons why a property transaction could be delayed, but here are ten of the most common:

1: Mortgage offers expiring
2: Complications in other parts of the chain
3: Failure to agree timescale between parties
4: Loss of or defective title deeds
5: Delays caused by surveys and mortgage valuations
6: Not signing/returning documents on time
7: Incorrect or incomplete information on key documents
8: Lack of disclosure around a gifted deposit
9: Delays in searches being returned
10: Slow or lacking service from conveyancers/agents
What can buyers and sellers do to limit delays?
Consumers have an important role to play when it comes to reducing the chances of an elongated exchange process.
Horton explains: “Buyers and sellers can often become frustrated and feel isolated during the exchange, but they must stay engaged with the progress of the transaction. Being easily contactable, prompt in returning documents and flexible with dates can all help to stop transactions from stalling.”
What’s more, having realistic expectations and knowing the right time to chase agents or solicitors can also reduce unnecessary friction in the process.”
What can agents and conveyancers do to speed up the process?
It’s important for agents and conveyancers to be proactive and open to collaboration instead of working in a silo.
Horton adds: “Working together and being transparent can certainly help to reduce delays and keep things moving. Good communication is vital for property professionals, both in organising key aspects of the move and managing the expectations of buyers and sellers.”
Horton says that agents and conveyancers who use technology to their advantage and take a more accessible approach towards sales progression can improve customer satisfaction and improve their chances of securing repeat future business.
How can technology help all parties?
Alongside the government’s efforts to improve the home buying and selling process, technology will be crucial in opening up lines of communication, automating key processes and making transactions more transparent for all parties.


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