Growing and serious delays in the conveyancing process are leading to property sales falling through, estate agents are reporting.
A survey conducted by the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) has found that four out of every five agents say they have seen sales fail because of the problem.
26% said it occurred frequently, 4% said it had happened very frequently and 70% said it had arisen occasionally.
“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,” said Pat Davitt, chief executive of IPAV.
Another problem currently being caused by delays in conveyancing is that buyers can miss out on lower fixed rate mortgages, as lenders continue to put up their rates in tandem with ECB changes.
The survey of 534 agents found 88% of respondents have seen delays in the conveyancing process.
The average time for a sale to complete is now around 16 weeks – with two and a half months of that accounted for by signing of contracts and another five weeks or more weeks spent closing the sale.
The process of securing documentation and issues with deeds were cited as the most common problem, experienced by 60% of agents.
But communication problems with those selling the property and solicitors for the purchasers were referenced by 23% and 14% respectively.
Respondents listed the importance of conveyancing in the process at 75, on a scale of 1-100, where 100 is the most important issue.
A large majority of 86% of agents stated that conveyancing times have not got better since IPAV first conducted a survey on the issue eight years ago.
Three quarters said initiatives put forward by the legal profession four years ago have not improved the situation.
This included the Pre-Contract Investigation of Title system which aims to ensure any questions relating to the property’s title are raised and resolved before the contracts are signed.
Currently legislation, which would require critical documents to be gathered up front before a property goes on the market, is before the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Sellers Legal Pack for Property Buyers’ Bill 2022 is due to reach second stage in the Dáil on October 5.
“It is currently used very effectively in online and public auction sales for many years,” Mr Davitt said.
“The Sellers Legal Pack Bill, when enacted, will speed up the entire sales procedure without adding any further costs to the consumer, and it will also help put an end to the practices of gazumping and gazundering,” he added.