Problems with contracts and delays with searches


Minor disagreements over the precise details in draft contracts have an unfortunate tendency to escalate into full-blown disputes. 

Draft contracts are normally based on standard templates with standard clauses. Fortunately in most cases nothing terribly exciting occurs  –  unless the seller’s solicitor decides to introduce non-standard clauses.

Suggested amendments are then ping-ponged back and forth from one side to the other for weeks on end, sometimes with a degree of personal antagonism developing between the legal people on either side. It’s important to be kept aware of delays resulting from difficulties in ‘agreeing terms of the contract’.

As the customer you have the right to have a clear explanation. Problems often relate to simple issues concerning completion dates or fixtures and fittings, and matters can sometimes be resolved with a quick phone call to the seller or their agent.

A far more common problem is delays in obtaining local searches.  ‘We haven’t completed the searches’ has become a stock response from solicitors questioned about delays. However a lot of time can be saved by applying for it as soon as possible, preferably within the first week (although should the purchase fall through this means your search fee will be lost).

In the event of a last-minute crisis, there is a short cut. A super-quick ‘personal search’ can be undertaken. This normally means paying a specialist search agent to urgently traipse around the various council departments, rather than leaving it to an overworked council employee. In such cases an insurance policy is also normally required to protect you and your lender should something important have been omitted from the personal search.

Note, however, that your mortgage lender must have agreed to this type of search, otherwise there’s no option but to stick with the traditional plain vanilla variety.



Our next blog – coming soon …….

Reasons property deals fall through: Delays answering enquiries 

Check out our Rightsurvey blog page for more industry tips and secrets written by property professionals to help put you in control.