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The Hidden Time Options when Selling Your Home

February 2021

Time. It is one of the most important factors when trying to buy or sell your home – more often than not, matters do not move at the pace you want – don’t even get me started on local authority searches and mortgage lenders!

One of the most regular obstacles I come across is when vendors are unsure about selling their home, as they haven’t found a property they wish to move to. Their default thinking tends to be that they will be kicked out on to the streets by their buyer, before they are ready. However, this is not the case.

Putting transactions together on the right basis is key and there are some lesser known options that sellers (and indeed buyers) need to have up their sleeves when negotiating. Just how do you build in extra time into a transaction and still be in control of it, whilst keeping both sides happy?

Yes going into rented is the ‘go to’ option, however try looking at AirBnB. Many landlords have lost income during the restrictions and therefore if you wish to secure their property for a period of time, have the freedom to pick your own dates and at more favourable market rates, this could be an answer.

The other known strategy is to exchange and then delay completion by a several months. However suggest completion ‘if not earlier by prior mutual agreement’. This means that both buyer and seller can make completion earlier, should they require, however neither side can go beyond the backstop date.

The lesser known angles and which are also win-win scenarios for both sides are:

Licence back agreements. This is where the property exchanges and completes, however the ‘former owner’ then rents the property back from the incoming buyer at more favourable rates. This means the vendor can stay in-situ in their home, has more time to find their next home and most importantly are in a top buying position. In contrast, the new owner has secured the property and has a reliable tenant already there.

An alternative angle is that once a seller has found a buyer, is to issue the memorandum of sale to all parties. However you then ask the solicitors to stop working on their respective files. This gives the buyer reassurance that you are taking their offer seriously and means that the vendor is instantly put into a proceedable position, as they can prove their property is now Under Offer.

Yes these options can prove to be useful to break impasses, however they can only be deployed when you know what the buyer and seller are trying to achieve. Indeed I have done transactions where I have used a number of these options all together. The key is to find that key middle ground and think laterally.

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