10 Things I’ve Learnt (Part 5)
Some things in property take time
Number 5 on the list of 10 things I’ve learnt over the past two decades of investing in property for myself is that it takes as long as it takes. If you’re of a nervous disposition then this may not put you at ease, but in this business, there are many things that just cannot be rushed. Some things take time and quite often you can find yourself extremely frustrated with the pace at which they move.
The truth is that no matter how long you think something should take, you need to always allow for it to take longer. Even something as relatively straightforward as just buying a property doesn’t necessarily happen quickly.
Received wisdom tells us that if you buy a property for cash, in other words, if you don’t need a mortgage, then the deal should sail through without a hitch. You also might think that if you buy without undertaking any searches, that you can speed it up even more – but this isn’t always true either.
(In case you’re wondering if you can actually buy a property without searches, then the answer is yes. As a cash buyer without a mortgage, you could take out an indemnity policy which would cover you for anything which might have shown up in the searches).
So, if you’re not taking out a mortgage and if you don’t need searches, then it’s fair to assume that the process would be quite simple. After all, all the solicitors would need to do is produce a contract and TR1 form for you to sign off. Surely it’s as straightforward as that, isn’t it?
In my experience, no, it’s not always that simple. On many occasions, I’ve bought a property for cash and have been frustrated by the amount of time it’s taken to get the deal through. One particular purchase that stands out in my mind was a deal that was unnecessarily delayed by my solicitor over a “technicality”. Now, I wasn’t concerned with the issue and despite my pleas to push it all through – and the pleas of the buyer and his solicitor – my solicitor would just not budge. To this day I cannot fathom why.
Solicitors take as long as they have to take, and whilst frustrating, this is understandable. However, solicitors are not the only party that can keep you waiting. The valuer can take time to turn up, the bank can take time to process the mortgage valuation, the refurbishment can take more time than anticipated… and collectively, this can all add up to a considerable wait.
What can you do about it? Not a lot in all honesty. You’ve just got to be aware that this is going to happen and keep an eye out for the likely “challenges” so that if and when they occur, you can act quickly and try to resolve them. Above all though, what you should really do is just accept that this is how property works. It takes as long as it takes and some things in property just can’t be rushed.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
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