Metro - 14 February 2013
The importance of setting timescales
By Jo Eccles
Time scales are often overlooked when agreeing a property purchase. We see this all the time where the excitement of securing a purchase makes the buyer forget to include crucial factors in their negotiations.
If you’re bidding on a property and have specific time scales you’d like to adhere to, do mention it early on in the purchase. If you’re competing with other buyers, don’t be too insistent on the timing as you don’t want to run the risk of it working against you. Instead, raise it once the purchase is underway. However, if you’re bidding on a property where there isn’t competition, you can be quite upfront about time scales when you make your offer.
We have a few clients at the moment where the time scales have unfortunately changed, and it really does put a spanner in the works. This is particularly the case where there are chains involved – where sellers need to link the sale of their existing property to their onward purchase.
Do always put the question to the estate agent when you’re getting ready to make an offer, and ask them whether the seller will be in a chain. We’ve been dealing with one estate agent who said that the seller wasn’t in a chain, only for our client to be ready to exchange and the agent then tell us that the seller wanted to tie theirs into their onward exchange. This is definitely still a chain! If there is any related purchase, regardless of whether the completion dates need to be tied in, it will have an impact and you can be exposed to the purchase falling through.
The quicker you can exchange, the less risk of the seller deciding not to sell or their onward chain falling through and so on. Setting an exchange deadline can be a very productive way of making sure everyone is motivated and avoiding the purchase dragging, which unfortunately many do!