Property sale falling through or stalling? What are the signs?


If you’re a seller with a nagging feeling that something isn’t right with your move, what can you do? 
And what are the signs that your sale is stalling or ‘falling through’? Jessie Hewitson investigates.

It should take around 12 weeks to buy or sell a home, but for many it’s a lot longer than that. For some of the more lengthy sales, it’s just a question of being patient. But for others, there are signs that the sale is in trouble – signs that are not always picked up on by the buyer or seller because they are so subtle.

The obvious one is if the buyer isn’t spending any money and is suddenly uncommunicative. If a surveyor hasn’t been instructed to carry out a valuation on behalf of the bank three weeks after a price has been agreed – or your agent who can’t get hold of the buyers or sellers, or their solicitor – then it’s time to ask some tough questions. Any misleading or unclear information given during the sale can be cause for concern, too.

Another sign of a stalling sale, according to veteran estate agent James Wyatt, of Barton Wyatt agency, is when the solicitor starts asking silly questions. He cites one example last month where a buyer asked if the seller was taking the loft insulation. “And if both solicitors start blaming each other like children in the playground, take charge and talk direct,” he suggests. “Agree sale milestones and dates both verbally and in writing from the outset.”

It is a good idea to choose an agent who will continue to monitor the sale after it goes under offer to try and minimise the risk of a sale losing momentum. This means liaising between the vendor, the vendor’s solicitor and the buyer. “Continual weekly monitoring and edging the sale along can unearth potential problems, which means the sale may fall through at a later stage if left undiscovered” suggests Annabel Morbey, of Smiths Gore.

The best way to communicate during a slow sale or purchase, according to Carl Davenport of Hamptons International, is to be clear from the beginning about the time-frames you require them to perform within. “ Say that you expect the survey to be instructed within two weeks, or that the search should be paid for an put in within one week,” he recommends.

And should you speak to the seller or buyer direct? Davenport thinks not. “In 95 per cent of cases we would never put the buyer and seller in touch with each other, because it only takes one small comment to upset the sale or for one party to agree something that the agent is unaware of.  A compromise might be to set up a meeting between all parties and agree a way forward.”

October 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM Leave a comment

As Help to Buy rates are unveiled, half of London homes go to foreign buyers

Foreign buyers are snapping up expensive London properties as experts warn British borrowers lower down the ladder are being squeezed out of the market.

Foreign buyers snap up London properties

Almost half of properties worth at least £1m are going to foreigners, according to estate agents Knight Frank. And seven out of 10 new build homes in the capital have been sold to foreign buyers.

Russian, Middle Eastern and European buyers are leading the way.

Liam Bailey, a researcher at Knight Frank, said: “Investors prize the convenience and lower maintenance offered by new build property, making it especially attractive for buyers looking to let their properties.”

It means local buyers are being ‘priced out’ of the market.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “There has been a significant influx of overseas buyers seeking the safe haven of London and this is inevitably pricing out ‘local’ buyers.

“Many can’t compete with the cash buyers from overseas who are looking to invest considerable sums in London property. They are snapping up property in the most desirable locations, with prime central London prices rocketing as a result.”

The warning comes on the day the Government launches the second phase of its Help to Buy scheme to help borrowers with small deposits. Banks taking part in the scheme include Natwest, RBS, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. Rates of 4.99 per cent are being offered by Natwest & RBS.

The scheme aims to help people with deposits as small as 5 per cent to buy homes worth up to £600,000 by guaranteeing up to 15 per cent of the mortgage.

It means home buyers will need a deposit of less than £10,000 to get on the property ladder with a budget of £220,000, according to separate research by Zoopla.

Even in London, the most expensive part of the country, a deposit of just £16,000 would enable the purchase of a £322,000 home.

However, brokers welcomed the scheme, saying the rates are competitive.

Mr Harris said: “The rates released so far via the scheme compare well with non-assisted schemes lending at the same LTV. Yorkshire Bank has a three-year fix pegged at 5.49 per cent, for example, while Newcastle Building Society has a two-year fix at 5.95 per cent.

“However, the benefit Help to Buy has over other high LTV products is that you can borrow more – the Newcastle product is capped at £350,000 while the Woolwich has a £500,000 cap. The real advantage of Help to Buy is that you can buy a property up to a maximum of £600,000 which opens up a part of the market not available under existing high LTV deals.”

The mortgage guarantees do not kick in until January, but lenders will accept applications and provide home loans before then as it is impossible to default on a mortgage during this time frame.

It follows the introduction of the first phase of Help to Buy - equity loans – earlier this year. Under this phase, the Government provides a loan of up to 20 per cent of the price of a property, with the borrowers providing a 5 per cent deposit and a mortgage of 75 per cent.

October 8, 2013 at 10:38 AM 1 comment

Borrowers’ average deposit £11,000 under Help to Buy – Zoopla reveals

  • Second phase of Help to Buy launched 7th October 2013. Expected to prove popular

  • Even in London a deposit of just £16k could enable purchase of a £322k home

  • Lloyds and RBS will open their doors to Help to buy customers this week

Borrowers will see the average size of a deposit drop from £44,000 to £11,000, under the Government’s Help to Buy scheme

London

The figures by Zoopla were released as the starting bell was heard for the second phase of the Government’s Help to Buy policy.

The scheme aims to help people with deposits as small as 5 per cent to buy homes worth up to £600,000 by guaranteeing up to 15 per cent of the mortgage.

It means home buyers will need a deposit of less than £10,000 to get on the property ladder with a budget of £220,000, according to the research.

Even in London, the most expensive part of the country, a deposit of just £16,000 would enable the purchase of a £322,000 home.

High street lenders Lloyds and RBS will open their doors to Help to Buy customers this week. The guarantees do not kick in until January, but lenders will accept applications and provide home loans before then as it is impossible to default on a mortgage during this time frame.

Help to Buy

The second phase of Help to Buy is expected to prove popular among borrowers.

It is being introduced amid rising house prices, low savings rates inflation consistently above target and wage increases that are failing to keep pace. It means saving for a 20 per cent deposit on a property is extremely difficult for many borrowers. The new scheme makes the first rung of the ladder much lower for would-be buyers.

October 7, 2013 at 12:26 PM Leave a comment

Zoopla employees strike gold for charity

Here at Zoopla, we’re a competitive bunch, winning a host of accolades for running Britain’s leading property website.

04.10.13 All hands 1

The Zoopla team (click the image above for a HUGE full size image)

And this week we applied our winning ways to making money for charity at our latest get together at the West Bromwich Albion football ground.

Zoopla is enjoying its second year sponsoring the Birmingham-based football club. During every match, we run a competition for ticket holders to win cash prizes if they successfully kick a ball through the door of a cardboard cut-out of a detached house. The kicks are taken at half time, in front of thousands of fans.

The same competition was run at the staff gathering on Wednesday – albeit on a smaller scale, in front of all of our 200 high-achieving individuals. But instead of taking the cash for ourselves, we donated it to charity. A goal was rewarded with £50 cash, producing a total of £700.

We’re delighted to be supporting the Albion Foundation and a host of other local charities. The Albion Foundation does outstanding work in the local community as do the other charities we’ve chosen to support – and we recognise that these charities rely heavily on donations from businesses like ours.

04.10.13 All hands 2

Footage via YouTube from a Teambuilding Day which The Albion Foundation graciously provided for staff from Zoopla.

October 4, 2013 at 4:00 PM Leave a comment

#propertyoftheweek on Zoopla #fridayfeature (4th October 2013)

propertyoftheweek---2
Introducing Friday’s featured properties:

Seen some interesting properties (sale or rentals) this week?

Agents! Taken instruction on something unusual or noteworthy?

Send us a link via Twitter to your #propertyoftheweek featured on Zoopla and our pick of the Top 10 will feature on this blog every Friday (around lunchtime).

Please make sure to hashtag #propertyoftheweek and please link to a Zoopla URL in your Tweet, (we’ll be watching carefully all week).

Without further adieu… here’s todays #fridayfeature

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10. And our own pick of the week…

October 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM 2 comments

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