Why Isn’t This Causing More Waves?

Ed Mead

Figures were released last week following a trial that clearly showed what happens when upfront searches are provided at the point of a property going under offer. They are, frankly, stunning.

As an agent, how many times have you been asked by a buyer “Will you now stop showing the property” when their offer is accepted. Replies have always explored a grey area insofar as any good agent will realise more than a third of sales will fall through and so want keep options open, it’s an ongoing conundrum and one that’s always difficult with excited buyers.

Phil Priest at 4Corners, a conveyancing business in Halesowen, decided to actually do something about it, rather than sit around talking – there’s been enough of that.

What he did was offer buyers an incentive. If they paid for upfront searches the property would be taken off the market. Some 200 buyers were offered and 50 accepted. They each paid £275 for upfront searches and what happened subsequently can leave little doubt as to its efficacy.

The 25% who did, completed their purchase in 79 days – without a single fall through. Those who didn’t take up the offer took 41 days longer and 42% fell through.

Now 200 isn’t huge BUT, this would seem unequivocal and offer both agents, buyers and sellers what they’ve been looking for – more certainty and speed. Suggestions in the past have centred around putting down a non-refundable deposit, but this has always been open ended and subject to two sets of lawyers agreeing on what constitutes non-refundable. Putting together packs is long winded and introduces even more uncertainty over what individual conveyancers will accept. If just providing upfront Searches works as well as this trial suggests, then why go further.

I’m sure there’ll be those looking to poke a hole in this and am grateful to the irrepressible Tim Main of PIP for telling me about the trial, but so long as solicitors accept the source of such Searches – and there would seem no reason not to given the ubiquity of such sources these days – why wouldn’t all agents adopt such a course of action.

Ed Mead is the founder of Viewber

Daily news email from EYE

Enter your email below to receive the latest news each morning direct to your inbox.