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Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

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AleisterCrowley
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Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159113

Postby AleisterCrowley » August 12th, 2018, 11:11 pm

How long would it take to complete a cash sale of a flat to the point where the buyer could move in?
Say I saw a nice flat on offer for £150k on RightMove, offered 'em £140k and they accepted.
What delays could/would there be? I've no idea how the money is transferred in such cases - presumably one has to involve a solicitor?
Could the seller pull out ? At what point is the sale 'safe'?

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159115

Postby Alaric » August 12th, 2018, 11:20 pm

AleisterCrowley wrote:Could the seller pull out ? At what point is the sale 'safe'?


Assuming you are in England, you need to research the concepts of "exchange of contracts" and "completion".

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159117

Postby Howard » August 12th, 2018, 11:33 pm

Some years ago I purchased my current house in three weeks from initial offer to completion. Obviously it isn't a flat, but I'd imagine the timetable could be similar.

However, I had already appointed a solicitor and I was lucky that my employer was prepared to bridge, so I was truly a cash buyer. In the event my previous house sale went through at the same time as the purchase.

From memory this was the second time this happened. But I always had a buyer for a house before looking for the new one. In both cases the solicitor said to me I can move as fast as you want me to assuming no major issues occur with the new property. The first time I was buying from a builder who wanted to get the sale through before the end of his financial year and the second time the vendor was very keen to move fast.

Obviously you will want to make sure your solicitor has time to check the key issues. I guess lease arrangements are important for a flat but I am a layman in these issues.

Hope this is helpful - and good luck!

regards

Howard

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159120

Postby melonfool » August 13th, 2018, 12:58 am

Flats take longer generally - and I would say the average is 3 months for most moves.

I offered in March and moved in August!

You did actually go and see the flat in the flesh, didn't you?

How long is the chain? With mine, it was the top of the chain causing issues - I was A, buying B, buying C, buying D - D was the problem. They basically didn't want to move and kept making demands about dates which everyone agreed to, and then changing the dates they demanded. It was horrible.

Yes, people can pull out - the first house I offered on the seller withdrew from the market, the second house I offered on I withdrew my offer after three weeks of hearing nothing from them at all (despite accepting the offer), I got fed up and looked at other houses and found one I liked better - I then was told they had gone on honeymoon but they'd not bothered to let anyone know (though presumably they knew in advance!) - so they lost the sale, but if that happens up your chain everything stops again while looking for a new buyer.

Paperwork can take ages, council searches are probably a min of three weeks (you can pay to have them done privately which can be quicker but I gather there are other issues with this as they are not guaranteed then by your lawyer - with a flat I'd take no chances). It can also depend how old the property is - older seem to cause more issues with archaic stuff in the deeds that might need to be checked.

Re the money - get it in your current account as soon as you can and talk to the bank about how they do the transfer. N'wide were a pain with this, the CHAPS would not work at all, there was so much to fill in that the system kept timing out, so I called them, they talked me through it, and it still did it, so I went into the branch and they said they would log me on and talk me through it - at which point I slightly lost my rag and told them to just bleddy well do it! Check how your bank works with this.

Usually, you have about a week between exchange (this is the bit where you are committed, need house insurance etc) and completion, so at this point you panic and find some useless bloke on Facebook to do your removals - I had two days between them, due to idiot ex and his inability to get his lawyer to follow the timetable - though I did know the actual date about a week before.

You DEFINITELY need a solicitor, the 'other side' will expect it. Line one up now. Mine was pretty good actually (the one who dealt with the family side of things was shocking and she was lucky to be in a different town to me the day she emailed and said that ex's sol had said the money would not be available on the exchange date could I just 'ask ex if I could stay a few days longer' - I phoned and told a partner that if they did not get it sorted out that day there'd be a complaint to the SRA as this was literally the only thing I needed her for as up to then I had done most of it myself anyway) - be prepared to find solicitors and estate agents somewhat frustrating!

Sadly, it's one of those things you need to be very zen about.

Mel

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159140

Postby nmdhqbc » August 13th, 2018, 8:40 am

I'd expect the worst and hope for the best if I was you...

When I bought my flat it took 8 weeks buying. When I sold it took over 12 months. Excruciating trouble dealing with the landlords agent to fix a minor issue with the lease. In the end the buyer pulled out because it took too long. A few weeks later got another buyer and it took way too long with them too however this guy was an estate agent himself and ruffled a lot of feathers to get the very simple fix to the lease done. Never again.

I knew leasehold would be trouble going in so only myself to blame I suppose. I was seduced by the cheap price relative to the freehold alternatives though. My advise is avoid any leasehold. I will be from now on. Mind you I'll probably not buy any property as I don't like to settle anywhere.

AleisterCrowley
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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159142

Postby AleisterCrowley » August 13th, 2018, 8:56 am

Thanks all-
it was a question prompted by looking at RightMove sale/rent properties in the area I'm moving to. I have to be out of my current rented place by 1st October, and was wondering if buying was an option in such short timescales. By emptying a few accounts and checking down the back of my (dilapidated) sofa I'd have enough to buy a small flat for cash. Sounds like the risk would be too great and I could be left stuck if anything goes wrong.
Appreciate there are lots of complications with flats - leasehold etc

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159169

Postby PaulBullet » August 13th, 2018, 10:54 am

You are moving to a new area.

I would look to rent first, find out more about the area, then look to move if you still like the idea.

I suspect that if you are like most people, after 6 months you will still have not finished unpacking so moving again is not too much hard work :lol: :D

Paul

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159263

Postby melonfool » August 13th, 2018, 3:26 pm

Whereas I say just go for it.

You can find temp accommodation in the meantime - you could even stay with me!

There is a massive benefit to knowing you own your own property. Just look at all the stress this is causing you, you'd never have to go through this again.

Offers can also be made conditional on a set moving date.

I think you need to take the brakes off your life a bit.

Mel

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159301

Postby AleisterCrowley » August 13th, 2018, 4:46 pm

I think it's probably wise to rent a while to get a feel for an area (day and night) as I'll be walking to and from station with laptop etc
Thanks for the offer of your shed, but I think you're safe given the challenging commute from your village to Reading :D

I would like to take the brakes off my life, but fear I may crash into a wall

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159329

Postby brightncheerful » August 13th, 2018, 5:57 pm

Assuming the seller doesn't need to obtain the freeholder's consent beforehand, assuming too that as the buyer you are not fussed about searches, the only delay with leasehold is how quickly the parties' lawyers deal with it.

If when you read the lease you understand what you'd be letting yourself in for, the only benefit of waiting for answers to pre-contact enquires is if you have suspicions about the property and any neighbours that need addressing.


o/b anecdote:
I used to have a property-dealer client who exchanged contracts to buy the freehold interest in a block of flats in the morning, exchanged contract to sell it in the afternoon same day, then bought it back next day for slightly more that he'd sold it before only to resell it for a lot more to someone else the following day. The original seller was not amused!

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159352

Postby richlist » August 13th, 2018, 7:27 pm

There are lots of ways in which buying a flat can be long drawn out exercise. Here are just a few of the many experiences i have had..

* Often there is a requirement for the seller to obtain a managing agents (service charge company) information pack and to provide that to buyers solicitor. Some agents will take 6 weeks to process the application form.
* Ditto for the freeholders information pack.
* Missing documentation e.g. The seller did not obtain the required permission to install replacement windows so then had to obtain retrospective permission before the buyer can proceed.
* The seller originally purchased the property as a repossession and had to complete within 21/28 days.....this results in not all the checks being carried out. When the property is then subsequently offered for sale some years later a number of issues are discovered e.g. the title plan does not match the title description. The changes and corrections necessary can delay matters.
* Incompetent conveyance not getting on with the job.
* Conveyancers so loaded down with work that everything takes a long time to action.

I've had leasehold flat sales take between 3 - 7 months to complete.

melonfool
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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159359

Postby melonfool » August 13th, 2018, 8:05 pm

[quote="richlist"
* Missing documentation e.g. The seller did not obtain the required permission to install replacement windows so then had to obtain retrospective permission before the buyer can proceed.
[/quote]

I had that with my last house, I just bought insurance against later issues, cost c£30 I think and took less than a day.

But, yes, lots of things can delay and the things you have list all fall, from my experience, within the band of 'normal'.

Mel

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159389

Postby AleisterCrowley » August 13th, 2018, 10:49 pm

Sounds increasingly like - Act in haste, repent at leisure...

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159412

Postby Mike88 » August 14th, 2018, 8:16 am

AleisterCrowley wrote:I think it's probably wise to rent a while to get a feel for an area (day and night) as I'll be walking to and from station with laptop etc
Thanks for the offer of your shed, but I think you're safe given the challenging commute from your village to Reading :D

I would like to take the brakes off my life, but fear I may crash into a wall


The problem here is that once you start renting again you will end up not wanting to go through the trauma of moving again meaning you will never buy anywhere and be stuck there for the next so many years as in your existing rental property. If you have a large amount of cash why not top up with a mortgage and buy somewhere decent? While things can go wrong in the property buying process the vast majority of transactions run reasonably smoothly.

AleisterCrowley
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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159428

Postby AleisterCrowley » August 14th, 2018, 9:21 am

Mike88 wrote:
The problem here is that once you start renting again you will end up not wanting to go through the trauma of moving again meaning you will never buy anywhere and be stuck there for the next so many years as in your existing rental property. ...


Yes, that's a real risk - I do tend to put up with less than ideal situations to avoid hassle
My reasons for favouring renting for a while;
Lack of time - prob need to physically move 'mid' September
As above, I'd like to get the feel of an area before committing ££££££s
I 'feel' the market is a bit bloaty at the moment. Mind you, felt this 5/10/15 years ago..poss Brexit effects?

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159460

Postby UncleEbenezer » August 14th, 2018, 10:58 am

AleisterCrowley wrote:
Mike88 wrote:
The problem here is that once you start renting again you will end up not wanting to go through the trauma of moving again meaning you will never buy anywhere and be stuck there for the next so many years as in your existing rental property. ...


Yes, that's a real risk - I do tend to put up with less than ideal situations to avoid hassle

Yep. I think that's the norm. Probably doubly so for those of us who are single - and thus have noone to egg us on to better things.
My reasons for favouring renting for a while;
Lack of time - prob need to physically move 'mid' September

That's one to worry about. Even if you're not fussy about your next rental place, it'll take that long to get through all the red tape to make your move. After finding your place (and hoping the agent doesn't pull out), you have to go through all the crap like referencing, and arranging your physical move.
As above, I'd like to get the feel of an area before committing ££££££s

Agree entirely. I'm glad I didn't buy the present place.
I 'feel' the market is a bit bloaty at the moment. Mind you, felt this 5/10/15 years ago..poss Brexit effects?

That's a difficult one. I felt it when I was forced to move in 2005, under similar circumstances to you, and was proved right[1]. I'm less sure today than I was then, but still uneasy about committing too much.

[1] My landlady got £105k for the flat in 2005. It sold again in 2014 for under £100k. Meanwhile, thanks to an improvement in my own circumstances, I'd been renting a better flat.

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159468

Postby melonfool » August 14th, 2018, 11:19 am

Well, you're not likely to get stuck for such a long time again as IME people who rent seem to have to move more or less every year or so.

Every time I have bought a property there have been a number of people telling me not to as 'prices are about to crash'. I bought my first in 1996 and prices have never really crashed - plus, what does it matter if you're buying a home to live in? You'll be living in it, not worrying how much it is 'worth'.

If you had to move after a crash, then prices of places you're looking to buy will have crashed too. If you are not mortgaged to the hilt it really isn't an issue, you're not 'investing'.

Mel

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159474

Postby PinkDalek » August 14th, 2018, 11:30 am

UncleEbenezer wrote:
AleisterCrowley wrote:My reasons for favouring renting for a while;
Lack of time - prob need to physically move 'mid' September

That's one to worry about. Even if you're not fussy about your next rental place, it'll take that long to get through all the red tape to make your move. After finding your place (and hoping the agent doesn't pull out), you have to go through all the crap like referencing, and arranging your physical move.


Depending on the agent, much if not all of this can be done online nowadays and swiftly.

Our agent uses DocuSign, such that the two landlords and the new tenants "sign" the AST online. The referencing seems also to be done online, using Rentshield (a licensed credit checking and referencing agency), who provide the Referencing Report to the landlords.

The most recent letting I was involved with involved potential tenants being proposed by the agent towards the end of July. The online documentation was complete 7 days later. The Tenant Deposit Scheme information and addendum to tenancy agreement 3 days later.

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Re: Buying a flat - how quickly could one move in?

#159488

Postby Bouleversee » August 14th, 2018, 11:58 am

AC -

Whether you rent or buy, since you have not moved for a long time, may I just warn you about one of the latest scams you may not have heard of:

If, when you are getting to the payment stage, you get an email (or possibly even a phone call) from someone claiming to be from your solicitor or agent asking you to pay the money into a different bank account from that originally advised in writing (or maybe none had hitherto been advised in writing) ignore it. Ring your solicitor and speak to the person you have been dealing with to check and get them to put it in writing. If it was a phone call you received, use a different phone to ring the solicitor or send an email as the scammers will not have put the phone down and will still be connected (it's not possible to cut off an incoming call) and will pretend to be the solicitor. Apologies if this is a case of Grandma teaching you to suck eggs but you would be surprised how many people have fallen for this scam and lost an awful lot of money.


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