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Delays are the biggest irritation for house buyers and sellers

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 main gripes being agents stretching the truth (33%), a lack of communication (27%), sellers seeing inappropriate buyers coming to view the home (26%), and on the other side, buyers being shown properties that were out of their price range (15%).

Top annoyances last time bought / sold a property:

• The length of time the whole process took (55%)
• Delay in exchange of contracts causing stress (38%)
• Estate agents stretching the truth (33%)
• Lack of communication from my estate agent (27%)
• Inappropriate buyers viewing my home (26%)
• Other party changing completion dates (20%)
• Lack of communication from my conveyancer (17%)
• Purchasers trying to renegotiate price (15%)
• Being shown properties that were out of my 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 the financial burden of having a mortgage (29%), difficulties in securing a deposit (29%), and difficulties in raising a mortgage (28%) as significant worries at present.

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.

Current concerns about buying a property:

• Uncertainty with my job / current financial situation (40%)
• House prices might fall (36%)
• Financial burden of having a mortgage (29%)
• Difficulties in raising a deposit (29%)
• Difficulties in securing mortgage finance (28%)
• Unexpected repair costs not identified in my survey (25%)
• Unexpected costs of running a home (19%)
• Problems with title deed / lease (5%)
• Problems getting buildings insurance (3%)

Mark Montgomery, Commercial Director, 1st Property Lawyers, said:

“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.

“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.”

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