Bricks and Mortar – a view by Tony Abel of Abel Homes
Moving to a new home should be a really exciting experience – for many people it is the fulfilment of long-held dreams, the chance for a new start, perhaps creating a home with a partner for the first time, or putting down roots with a young family. Why, then, can the whole process be so stressful? Why does it take so long? Why is the gloss slowly but surely rubbed off that sense of excitement?
Buyers will generally lay the blame for delays at the door of one of three sets of professionals: estate agents, mortgage brokers or solicitors. And yet the buyer is paying for the services of all three of those. So why is he or she generally so reluctant to assert their rights as a customer? If you were left waiting for service for any length of time in a restaurant, you’d complain, and ask the waiter to get a move on. My advice today to buyers is to take the same attitude towards those involved in the moving process. It’s time to remember who is the boss!
Now, I don’t want you to get the impression that I think estate agents, mortgage brokers and solicitors deliberately delay things. The majority are hard-working and professional, and anyway, it’s in no-one’s interests for the process to stall. But often there are so many players involved that progress gets held up nevertheless.
So it’s up to you, the buyer, to grasp the situation. You are the customer. Tell your solicitor what you want to achieve. Tell your mortgage broker in what timescale you expect them to come up with the goods. Ask your estate agent to chivvy others in the chain to agree a programme. As a buyer, there are things that you can and should be doing to ensure swift progress as well. Have you assembled all the relevant documentation? Are you returning forms promptly, and providing information when you are asked for it?
Of course, you should be looking to work with professional partners who take the task of progressing the move seriously. For example, as a house builder, we have a pack ready for immediate despatch once a buyer has made a decision. We know they will need it, so what is the point of waiting until we have made the sale? After all, we want things to progress just as much as the buyer does.
Consumers have realised their power in so many areas. I think it’s time they did the same in the property market. Ultimately, you are paying the bill, so you are the boss. It’s time to assert your influence!
Tony Abel is managing director of Abel Homes. You can find out more at www.abelhomes.co.uk.