As we are all too painfully aware the practice of buying and selling has become plagued by bottlenecks in recent times.
Sales are being lost, banks withdrawing funding and buyers and sellers suffer extreme frustration and financial loss.
More and more we are finding that a significant amount of time is spent dealing with a transaction that does not get finished. We are hearing a similar story across the board.
This was echoed recently at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice earlier this month. They highlighted that a survey of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV), which represents almost 1,000 auctioneers, found that the average transaction time was 4½ months.
Techno-Phobia costing time
One of the reasons put forward for this was unwillingness by solicitors to deal by email which is obviously much quicker than sending correspondence by letter.
We, at Lynch Solicitors, have used email for almost 10 years. We are also in the process of actively changing how we engage in the conveyancing process. We have had discussions with clients and consultations with auctioneers and other stakeholders to see if we can reduce transaction times and failure rates.
Our governing body the Law Society has also picked up on the need to make the transaction of buying and selling much more efficient. It has taken the lead from the UK system (which is streets ahead of us time wise) by launching an e-conveyancing initiative. This would mean that by the target date of December 2017, hopefully all paperwork will be uploaded and dealt with on a centrally located computer system. This means that all parties to a transaction have instant access to paperwork from the outset. Exchange of funds can take place electronically rather than by cheque or bank draft which can in itself add an extra week per payment to the time involved.
This is all very welcome and will improve the process for the consumer.
A Word Of Warning
There will continue to be cases that title will need to be checked in full. Issues will continue to arise with planning permission. We will still have to ensrue MUD Act compliance. We will continue to have to investigate roads and services.
The recent introduction of extra property charges (Household Charge, NPPR, Local Property Tax) where receipts or certificates back to 2009 must be provided have not helped to ease the transactions.
Preparation Is Key
People involved in buying or selling should really contact their solicitor at an early stage to help be in a position to issue a contract as soon as a house or buyer is found.
If all the paperwork required for these areas is not present the purchaser may find that they have difficulty selling the property on again or getting a loan on it and with the taxes that apply if the correct records are not to hand the amount outstanding remains as a “mini-mortgage” on the property which will be the purchaser’s responsibility. It is vital then that all these boxes are checked before funds are handed over.
It is hoped that the new system will reduce the average time to purchase from 22 weeks to 5 days where no mortgage is involved, which would prove a milestone for those working in this area and for their clients in turn.
Here’s hoping that the benefits will be seen sooner rather than later!