The Things that Could Delay Your Property Sale and How to Avoid Them

The Things that Could Delay Your Property Sale and How to Avoid Them

The shut down of the property market and a sudden summer release of pent-up demand coupled with the UK Government’s stamp duty holiday has resulted in a backlog of deals hoping to beat the March 31st deadline. In this article, Yes Homebuyers explains what you need to avoid to ensure your property transaction isn’t delayed.

The UK property market can best be described as hot, and the UK is not alone in experiencing this with many European countries experiencing the same. For this article, we will be concentrating on the UK market where the property market has defied all predictions of doom and gloom.

As a rather ‘bonkers’ 2020 draws to a close, the UK property market is amidst a mini-boom when compared to previous years. In the first quarter of 2020, some forecasters were predicting catastrophic falls of ten or even twenty per cent; this never materialised. Instead, property prices have done the polar opposite by shooting upwards by around seven per cent according to the main indexes.

Although asking prices have been on an upward trajectory, this has not deterred buyers and sellers with many choosing to leave their concrete jungles for larger homes and greener pastures. Currently, there are 100,000s of transactions waiting to complete with many more expected to join the queue at the start of 2021. The vast majority of these will all be frantically trying to get their transactions across the line to ensure they can take advantage of the tax holiday.

To help point you in the right direction, Yes Homebuyers has looked at some of the most common issues to delay a property sale and how you can best plan to avoid them.

A woman sat on the floor, stressed over moving home

Lose your emotional attachment
Understandably, selling a house can spur a wide range of emotions, but all too often we let these cloud our judgement when selling. This can cause initial delays to the selling process, particularly when it comes to setting your asking price. Be realistic, research the market and set a price that will attract buyers. Pricing too high because you feel your home is worth more will only see your house sit on the market with no interest for weeks, if not months on end.

Quality over cost
You get what you pay for, and this can often be the case when choosing your estate agent and solicitor. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest agent, particularly with the rise of online agents such as Purplebricks.

It can also be tempting to go for the one that values your home the highest, but this is an immediate indicator that they could be desperate for business and ineffective when it comes to selling.

Opt for the agent that values your home properly, has the best reviews, the quickest selling times or that achieves the highest percentage of asking price. You can request these details directly from an agent or use a comparison site such as

The same goes for solicitors. Cheap quotes will often mean poor practice or overworked due to high demand. Always take recommendations from your agent with a pinch of salt as they will often have a vested interest. The legal stage can often be the most protracted part of a sale so paying for a quality solicitor will pay for itself further down the line. Again, judge them based on word of mouth, online reviews but also the speed at which they respond to your enquiry can provide a good initial temperature test.

Get your documents straight
Gas certificates, electrical completion certificates, warranties, EPCs, the list of documents you need when selling a house is endless. More often than not, sellers wait until these documents are requested before trying to dig them out. This can delay the process in itself, but if you can’t find them, replacing them can also set you back by days, even weeks. The sooner they’re sorted, the sooner you can concentrate on other areas of a sale, so getting them together before you start is a smart move to prevent delays.

Be proactive
All too often, sellers fail to stay on top of their sale. Sometimes this is due to a busy work or home life, sometimes a rude agent or solicitor can put you off, others simply don’t want to pester. Remember you are the one selling and the one who will ultimately pay the fee. Don’t be afraid to chase your agent or solicitor on a weekly basis and don’t allow them to ‘fob you off’ without answering your questions. It will keep you front of mind and ensure that they are, at least, trying to progress things on a weekly basis.

Two women enjoying a cup of tea and forgetting the stress

Pick the right buyer
The biggest thing that causes delays in a sale is the chain. A long chain with multiple buyers means you are essentially at the mercy of numerous different agents, solicitors and more. This often means each part of the chain works at different speeds and while your agent or solicitor may be outstanding, your buyer’s buyer may have opted for the cheapest which pretty much means you have as well.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to speed up a chain hindered sale other than ensuring you have supplied everything you need to and your agent is working hard to get you to completion.

However, you can minimise the risk by opting for the right buyer. First-time or chain-free buyers are the best way of avoiding the dreaded chain. The downside is that they will often know this and so you may have to take a hit on the price you accept for your property. That said, adjusting your asking price expectations by that extra few thousand pounds is often well worth it for a quicker, less stressful selling process, particularly if you need to sell within a certain time frame.

A young man sat on some boxes, unhappy his sale has fallen through

Broken chain
The worst thing that can happen during your sale is for the chain to break, and this is becoming a quite common occurrence. This can happen for a number of reasons, but it’s usually down to one of the sales in the chain falling through. There’s nothing you can do but wait it out or start again from square one, with home sellers at the mercy of the chain gods right up until they complete.

If your sale falls through and you have to sell, home buying platforms could provide the lifeline you’re looking for.

Matthew Cooper, Founder & Managing Director of Yes Homebuyers, commented: “With the market buckling under the pressure of a huge influx of buyer demand spurred by the current stamp duty holiday, many home sellers will currently be experiencing lengthy delays while trying to complete.

The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help speed up your sale such as organising your paperwork in advance, keeping on top of your agent and solicitor and committing yourself to the process.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that’s all you can do, and beyond that, you’re at the mercy of an archaic, backwards selling process that can see third parties beyond your buyer scupper your sale, costing you time and money.

The important thing is not to lose faith and keep at it. If you really need to sell, there are other options that can help circumvent the dangers of a lengthy chain and the current market backlog.”

You can read more property news and guides in our dedicated section here.

The Things that Could Delay Your Property Sale and How to Avoid Them 2


Paul Godbold

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

Paul is the owner and editor-in-chief of Luxurious Magazine. He previously worked as a fashion model, was in the British Army and created companies in the technology, venture capital and financial services sectors. In addition to writing, he also proofs, edits, designs, lays out and publishes all the articles in the online magazine. Paul is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

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