Diary of a high street conveyancer; 11th April 2022

Diary of a high street conveyancer; 11th April 2022

It’s funny when we hear on the news how different the property market is now as to how it was two years ago. We think back to the first lockdown and those in chains were unable to move, even if they had already exchanged contracts.

Conveyancers were furloughed. Estate agents were closed. And then we think about the market today; an average price increase of £43,500 since the start of the first lockdown. I wonder if we had asked ourselves about this two years ago what we would have answered but most high street conveyancers are astounded by the way that the market is continuing to push; there are not enough houses to go around.

So how does the lack of housing play out in the daily grind of a conveyancer? The client who finally finds a house to buy either wants to wait until the seller finds somewhere, or wants to push as quickly as possible as the seller may just have said in passing that they may think about moving in with relatives.

First lesson; NEVER say in passing that you will move out – this is what the buyer will latch on to and it will then cause issues at a later date when you have to admit that you only said it to secure the sale at the price you wanted.

And that leads to another point; the price. Prices have increased dramatically, but just because the buyer has offered thirty or forty thousand pounds over the asking price does not mean that is what they are going to pay for it. Buyers and sellers sometimes forget that the mortgage lender holds the purse strings and if they do not think that the house is worth what has been offered, then they will not lend on it. I have had a few houses down-valued in recent weeks and the interesting thing about this is rather than accept that the lender may be right, the buyer will look at going to a different lender which will lend on the price they are paying. I tell my clients to imagine that they are paying cash; on a down-valuation, would they still be prepared to risk that amount of money?

All of this came very close to home this week – the house at the end of the road I live on came on the market. I cannot remember the last time a house on my road went on the market and obviously, dealing with the agent marketing it, I was able to ring up, confess I was a nosy neighbour and ask its price. It was marketed with “offers over …” and the agent told me they had done no viewings but already had six or seven offers. It is astounding that someone would pay money for something they have not even seen. And you can’t take a house back if it’s not the right one or you don’t like it.

It made me realise how desperate some buyers are … they do not want to lose their sellers and this makes them pay more for a house. I am not sure I would pay the amount wanted for the house down the road and I cannot believe that my house is worth that much …

 

This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

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