Don’t forget to agree a target timescale when moving home

11 May 2015

Don't forget to agree a target timescale when moving home.

You have the thrill of securing a buyer for your house, or as a buyer having your offer accepted on the property of your dreams. You agree a price and then off the lawyers go in documenting your transaction.

But how often are timescales overlooked? And that can cost a transaction dearly.

How upsetting to all parties who have been progressing the legal work by many weeks, when all but ready to exchange contracts, a party in the chain suddenly says for example 'But I need to give 4 weeks notice to my landlord now' or 'I am relying on my investments maturing in x weeks time'.

Yet all parties in the chain had no idea. No one had really talked about timings.

Will everyone wait? Or will they get cold feet by having time on their hands and finding another property to buy, or a higher offer comes along? Or quite often the outcome, does one party in fact start to bully the chain and direct that their timescale is the one to be met or they will walk away/remarket – of course not appreciating they are in a chain of people with their own individual agendas, and they, as much as anyone else, overlooked to agree dates.

So who agrees the date, and when?

As early as possible, ideally at the same time as agreeing price.  It can be as important as the price. And who agrees it? Not the conveyancer of course, certainly not at the start of the deal, so ideally you, maybe as a condition of the sale, but be guided by the Estate Agent too who will be best placed, as they will know the chain of people involved, and can pass it along.

Clearly it will not always be possible to agree dates in every chain. Your buyer may also have to sell, and their buyer is not yet known, nor therefore that party's own timescale preference.

But where you can target a date, try to.