Property sales being lost amid conveyancing delays, agents claim

Property sales in Ireland are being lost because of delays in the conveyancing process, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (Ipav) has claimed.

A survey by the umbrella group found that more than four out of every five agents had experienced sales falling through because of such delays.

Ipav said conveyancy, the legal transfer of properties from seller to buyer, was now taking on average four months to complete – over 10.4 weeks between a sale being agreed to the signing of contracts, plus a further 5.3 weeks between the signing of contracts and the closing of a sale.

Prior to the crash, it took 4-6 weeks but the increased number of legal and planning documents now required and the length of time it takes to retrieve these documents has slowed the process down.

Conveyancy “has become so lethargic that mortgage loan offers are being withdrawn,” Ipav said.

Ipav’s survey of 534 agents indicated that an overwhelming 88 per cent had experienced delays in the conveyancing process. Some 70 per cent indicated the withdrawal of loan offers “occur occasionally” while 26 per cent said it occurred “frequently”.

The majority of respondents said that delays in securing documentation and problems with deeds were the biggest reason for delays occurring.

Problems with communicating with the vendors’ and purchasers’ solicitor were ranked highest by 23 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

Most respondents said conveyancing times have not improved since Ipav’s first conveyancing survey in 2015 and since moves by the Law Society to speed up the process and described the process as “not at all efficient”.

“Conveyancing delays put extra worry and pressure on purchasers and vendors as well as extra rental costs too in many cases at a time when budgets are very tight,” Pat Davitt Ipav chief executive said.

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