House Buyer Taking Too Long

Is your house buyer taking too long? Should you dump this buyer and look for a new one? This guide will answer all your questions to get your sale back on track as soon as possible.

That way you can finally move on to enjoying the proceeds of your hard work.

In the last 8 years, we have guided many others like you through this difficult situation.

This full guide is provided free of charge, so go ahead and read to the end for maximum benefit.

Frequently asked questions

The property market in the UK is booming right now which is perfect for sellers. The Office of National Statistics released an in-depth report earlier this year explaining why this is the case. Although this generates you a great sale price, lenders, solicitors and councils are struggling to cope with the increased demand. As a result, some solicitors have even closed their doors to new clients.

Therefore, the situation may genuinely be out of your buyer’s hands. The first thing you need to do is communicate directly with the buyer. If your agent tells you otherwise, ignore them! They’re simply afraid that you’ll cut them out of the deal, sacrificing their beloved commission. Find out from them directly if they’ve taken active steps towards arranging finance and appointing/chasing their solicitor. It’s important to do this, since if you’re going to point a loaded gun, it might as well be in the right direction!

If your buyer is actually going at snail-pace for your sale, it’s likely because of one of 3 reasons. The first is that they are regretting their decision to buy and waiting to find something else. The second is that they’re trying to draw things out until you become desperate and then offer a lower price. This is a filthy tactic which has even been branded with a name: Gazundering. Lastly, they are simply new to the game and their brain’s dimmer switch is set to the lower side. 

To answer this simply – it really depends on the above question. If after speaking to your buyer, you feel they are intentionally delaying completion without valid reason then send them packing. So, it may seem like you have lost time and money in the process but you will gain this back in the future.

If, however, your buyer is genuinely trying or has a reason to delay completion, then hold out for them. This type of buyer will likely complete way faster than finding a new buyer. That is unless you have an urgent deadline which you have to make. If so then fill out our simple form to see how much we could purchase your home for.

Why Is My Buyer Taking So Long?

Firstly, you have to figure out if your buyer is the slowest tortoise in the game. That’s because sluggish is the standard in the current climate. All house purchases are now taking longer than usual due to the stamp duty holiday extension. In simpler words, Sunak’s cash handout has started a property frenzy.

The average time taken to completion has surged from 11 to 16 weeks. There were 44,000 more residential property transactions in England alone during Q4 of 2020 compared to 2019.

So, your buyer is a tortoise in a field of tortoises. But, here are the red flags that should make you worry:

  •  Your buyer is MIA 
  •  They have a chain with no buyer
  •  They’re struggling to arrange finance
  • Buyer is intentionally delaying

Your Buyer is MIA.

All of your buyer’s enthusiasm on your home has disintegrated into a distant memory. Your attempts to contact them seem to fall on deaf ears repeatedly. 

There are only a few valid reasons for your soon to be ex-buyer to behave in this way. Have they had a bereavement in the family? Are they a shift worker? Has their Android phone set itself on fire? But, remember all these things only justify your buyer’s temporary disappearance. If it has persisted for months, it’s time to cut the cord. 

They Have a Chain With No Buyer

Selling to this type of buyer is like purchasing a flight to Australia, but with no departure date. That is why they are on the bottom of the house buyer hierarchy.

Even if they do find a buyer for their house, you have no control over how long they’ll take. Whether you should continue with this type of buyer depends on how long you’re willing to wait. Historic data suggests that a house chain with no buyer will take a minimum of 6 months to complete. 

If you can’t wait this long, you can save plenty of time by simply re-listing your home on the market.

They're Struggling to Arrange Finance

This is a common reason why your house buyer is taking too long. There is a possibility that they have made multiple applications to lenders without success.

number of reasons why this could be happening to them exist:

  • Poor credit history
  •  Not on the electoral roll
  • Too many applications
  • Not been at current address for long enough
  •  Mortgage not affordable
  • Insufficient funds

For the above reasons, your agent should have checked that a decision in principle was in place prior to offer acceptance. Another layer of security for you prior to accepting your buyer’s offer is to ask for proof of funds

If you suspect this is the issue, speak to your estate agent to see if the buyer has provided these documents. If not, it may be worth asking the buyer directly how things are progressing with the mortgage application. You should do this in a non-judgmental way to get the best outcome. An example is as below: 

I understand with the current climate, lenders can be tough to deal with. So, I just wanted to check how things are progressing with the mortgage application?

After your buyer responds to the above, you’ll be in a much stronger position to decide how to progress.


Buyer Is Intentionally Delaying

There a few valid reasons for doing this including if the buyer is in a chain or needs time to prepare. In general, this isn’t alarming if you’re selling to a residential buyer with a mortgage.

But, if you’re buyer is a professional cash buyer, you have to be vigilant. They could be preparing to gazunder you at the last moment. You have casted out the line and may have caught yourself a shark

Whichever way you decide to proceed, we hope this article has been useful for you and wish you luck in your sale.

About the author

This article was written by Dr Sermed Mezher MbChB (Hons) MRes, experienced property investor, published author in Global Paediatric Health and The Journal of Medical Ethics, and medical doctor.

Sermed has a special interest in educating people on how to improve their situation. He believes that physical and financial health are intimately linked. 

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