Many Britons have moved home in the last two years, in search of extra space and home offices. William Johnstone, who lives in Carlton-In-Lindrick, Nottinghamshire, has shared just how stressful the moving process has been for him and his wife. He told Express.co.uk that “something needs to change to relieve the stress of buying and selling homes”.
William explained: “The stress has made my wife ill.
“She has seen and spoken to a doctor on several occasions and had two blood tests that show there is no physical problem and they have put it down to stress.
“When we married, 50 years next year, our first home cost £4,750 and we moved in four to five weeks.
“We have even moved in four weeks on one move at a cost of £300 to £400.
“Now with this move, by the time we have purchased it will cost just over £250,000.”
With an original completion date in June, William said as it approached close to that date, it was “obvious” it wasn’t going to happen.
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When it came to signing the contracts, William said: “We were informed by the buyers’ solicitors that they needed a ‘wet signature’, so the buyers rushed home to sign the documents and sent it first class.
“It was a Friday so no action until the Monday.”
Another delay William faced was that his buyers went on holiday, moving his completion date back until July.
He said: “The problems and delays have caused extreme stress. A concern that the chain would fall through.
“It had fallen through once before but not through any fault of the solicitors.”
William said he had recently spoken to a solicitor who he has known for several years who suggested that some solicitors are employing inexperienced staff new to the property market.
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Moving to be near his daughter, her husband and grandchildren in Worksop, the homebuyer said the process has taken months.
He said: “We have exchanged contracts and are scheduled to move this Friday. We now have to get through the completion where you load your possession and hope that when you get to the other end, the money has gone through.
“Our money was paid to solicitors three weeks ago. We are fortunate in that it is a short chain and everyone is paying cash but we have heard stories of vans unable to unload because the funds have not arrived in the accounts.
“There has to be a better way. One where the final exchange of funds is not in the hands of solicitors, one where the funds are available the day before leaving a stress-free day to complete the move.”
The process of buying a home is lengthy, especially if there are several buyers in a chain.
Things can go wrong at any time during the process, including homeowners pulling out.
This happened to William who explained that his first buyer dropped out within two weeks of exchanging.
He added: “This resulted in us nearly losing the property we wanted to buy. We resold and managed to salvage the purchase but at an additional cost of £8,000.
“The second stress factor is that once you agree with a solicitor, you lose control of the process.
“We are lucky in that our solicitor was one that was known to us from previous moves and business contracts.”
William said the possibility that he could have lost out again was “unbearable”, but was fortunate that hasn’t happened.
HBB Solutions has said that the pandemic property market boom is having an impact on the property transaction timeline.
The latest data on general market performance shows that the average property is taking 248 days to sell when opting for the traditional market route.
Despite HBB Solutions’ quick sale field, the current market backlog means that they have fallen foul of timeline delays, with an increase in the time it’s taking between instructing a solicitor and completing a sale.
Managing Director of the company, Chris Hodgkinson, said: “The pandemic property market boom has seen a substantial and sustained level of buyer activity sweep the market over the last two years and, as a result, home sellers have been securing a buyer at great speed.
“However, such heightened demand has led to significant delays during the final legal stages, which it’s fair to say, weren’t the most streamlined to begin with.
“This had led to a backlog of transactions left in limbo between accepting an offer and completing and this has been the contributing factor behind a prolonged home selling timeline.
“Even professional quick sale specialists such as ourselves are being affected and it is taking around three weeks longer on average.
“Despite this increase in sale time, we are still able to utilise our expertise and purchase properties in almost any time scale, with the fastest being four days, while the majority are completing in a month based on the client’s preferred completion date.”