31st March 2021 is the date on everyone’s mind in the property industry when the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday ends. Estate agents and legal teams face mounting pressure to get the deal done before the March deadline.

The reality is that the time it takes to list a property, agree on a sale and see it through to completion is fast running out for new listings. If progressed by traditional means, we will see the average times from listing to completion run beyond the 31st March 2021 if not begun by the 22nd November 2020. Whether buying, selling, or buying and selling it stands to reason that homeowners should be made aware that statistically, the odds are against completion before the SDLT holiday ends. And therefore it should be questioned whether the sale or purchase is reliant on it.

Zoopla’s data showed that in a preCOVID-19 Great Britain it took properties an average of 50 days from property listing to sale agreed. The data shows variations across the country with the longest time being in London on a 58 day average.

Of course, this is only the start of the buyers, or sellers property journey as they then progress from sale agreed to completion. The completion process is a frustrating time for homeowners, even a simple online search for ‘how long conveyancing takes?’ throws up a list of none understandably none commital time frames. The fact is that in the resale of a property, there are many uncertainties, implications and complications that can affect the process that it’s difficult to put a time on it. However, the average is 79 days from offer to exchange of contract and a further 14 days from exchange to completion reports TheAdvisory, who offer insider expert advice to homeowners.

These though are unusual times with a record number of properties coming to market in a mini property boom and homeowners wanting or needing to push completion through before the SDLT holiday ends. Furthermore, all stakeholders are facing the ‘new normal’ challenges of remote working and even the added pressure of staff being on furlough.

So how can tech help?

  • Get legal ready. Estate agents can play a vital role in ensuring homeowners have their conveyancer instructed. Now online quoting and instant onboarding to a given legal team inevitably saves time.
  • Expectation management is vital; regularly updating homeowners will save time, tell them where a case is at before they ask. Inform them of each milestone so they can see that all stakeholders are motivated in working to a deadline, and are aware of it.
  • Speed up communication, the days of snail mail and face to face are gone. Rather than remote working being a hindrance, it can be embraced with e-signatures and remote AML checks. All being at the fingertips of homeowners so they understand the part that they play in a property transaction and how their quick responses can move the case along.
  • Working together is crucial, inform stakeholders through collaborations, let them know what is expected and when to keep the case moving.
  • Integrating Searches, Land Registry and Law Society documents in one place means they can be ordered at the click of a mouse. Returned straight back into a case removing the need for the much-hated double-tapping.
  • Unlike other tools, WeCOMPLETE is a truly end-to-end solution, with the whole of the completion process managed digitally through the unique software. This includes new business generation, quoting, client onboarding, anti-money laundering checks, proof of funds, lender integration, property searches, queries, certificates, forms, document filing, e-signature, payment collection, invoicing and all communications between all parties.
Sources:

https://www.zoopla.co.uk/discover/property-news/how-long-it-takes-to-sell-a-property/

https://www.theadvisory.co.uk/house-selling/how-long-does-selling-take/

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