Buying or selling a property can take a long time – even more so since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. With mortgage lenders, estate agents, and conveyancers all under huge pressure from increased demand, it's a good idea to do everything within your power to speed up the process that can be agonisingly slow.
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Whether you're a first-time buyer who had to put your search on hold due to lockdown, or a second-stepper keen to sell your current home so that you can move onto your forever home and save on stamp duty, these are the top pro tips for getting a house sale done faster. Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (opens in new tab) shares some advice for both sellers and buyers who are looking to move quickly.
1. Speak to a mortgage adviser – before you look
The situation with mortgages is currently so different from last year, that you really do need a mortgage adviser to help you navigate the vastly changed landscape of mortgage deals and applications. By all means start with an online comparison tool (we have one for you to tinker with below, from Habito (opens in new tab)), but you'll only really get a real sense of your options once you've spoken to an experienced broker. They will have dealt with people with your type of financial circumstance before and will be able to honestly tell you what you could borrow under the current conditions.
2. Be accommodating to potential buyers
If you're selling, it's very important to be accommodating to potential house viewings. This may mean hosting viewings at times that aren't particularly convenient, but, if you want to sell quickly, you need to allow as many people see the property as possible. While allowing viewings on weekends or later in the evening may not be your ideal case scenario, people will have reasons why they can't make other times, so try to be more flexible.
3. Consider the chain
uYou'll need to think carefully about how much of a chain your potential buyer comes with – and whether you're prepared to accept the additional delays property chains tend to cause. Brian Murphy says:
'[I]f you want to sell your house fast and you’ve had multiple offers, look at each chain carefully. Some people choose to avoid chains all together by selling their home first and moving into rented accommodation before buying another home. However, this strategy can have pitfalls too, for example, it may take longer than you’d hoped to find a new home to buy.'
4. Sort your mortgage – as soon as you reasonably can
Buyers are now commonly advised to secure an agreement in principle even before they go to view the property they're thinking of buying. This is partly to reassure the seller (and, in fact, some sellers will now only accept viewings with prospective buyers who have an agreement in principle in hand) and partly to cut down on the mortgage processing times, which are currently longer than usual. You want to be ready to go as soon as the seller has agreed to your offer.
For this reason, you should also cut down the number of properties you will go and view; you don't want to be going through the trouble of getting an agreement in principle for a home you're not seriously considering buying.
5. Don’t be afraid to chase
In a sense, the most important part of the process begins after, not before, your offer is accepted. Murphy explains,
'Whether you’re buying or selling, when an offer has been accepted it may feel like the difficult part is over, but this doesn’t mean you can relax, especially if you want to move quickly.
'Don’t be afraid to ask your estate agent or solicitor for regular updates to make sure everything is moving along as it should. You’ll want to keep the momentum going. Also, make sure you sign and return any documents you need to promptly so that you don’t cause any delays yourself.'
Speaking to a mortgage adviser will significantly reduce the time you spend looking and applying for mortgages, as well as reducing the chance of being rejected, which would mean starting the whole process again. Habito (opens in new tab) will talk you through the entire process and help you with your application. Use their comparison tool below to bein your mortgage journey.