By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


"Ridiculous" moving day delays hit almost one-in-five buyers - claim

Just under one in five buyers in the past two years have suffered moving day delays, either because funds have been late arriving with conveyancers or because sellers have been late vacating properties. 

Those hit by the delays incurred hundreds or thousands of pounds in losses according to a survey commissioned by the HomeOwners’ Alliance and payment platform ShieldPay.

Their online survey of just over 4,500 people - of which 324 had purchased properties in the past two years - suggested that 26 per cent of those affected lost, on average, £509 and one in seven lost over £1,000.


The alliance says the number of homeowners having to cancel their moving day – often losing hundreds of pounds in the process - is up two per cent on a decade ago while the percentage of sellers experiencing inconvenient delays has jumped from 12 per cent to 19 per cent.

Typical costs include hourly waiting charges from removal companies, storage fees, removal company cancellation charges, hotel or other accommodation costs, and late completion charges.

Meanwhile, one in three homeowners who bought in the past two years had to chase either their conveyancer or lender on moving day to check the status of funds.

“It's ridiculous that in this day and age, where the rest of our lives run smoothly and more efficiently, that moving day nightmares are getting worse. It’s scandalous that moving house is more difficult than it’s ever been” claims HOA chief executive Paula Higgins.

Additional findings from the research indicate that costs associated with fund transfers and the lack of certainty and transparency over the whereabouts of funds are common issues for homeowners. 

Conveyancer/ solicitor transfer fees (30 per cent), bank transfer fees (17 per cent), uncertainty the transfer reached the conveyancer in time (19 per cent), uncertainty mortgage funds reached the conveyancer in time (19 per cent), lack of transparency over whereabouts of money during the payment process (13 per cent) are all cited as difficulties for homeowners with the current home purchase process.

  • Rob Hailstone

    It does seem wrong in this day and age that a chain of transactions cannot complete (on the day of completion) simultaneously. If ShieldPay (or anyone else for that matter) has the answer to this issue, bring it on!

  • Matt Faizey

    I'll bet the silence in here will be deafening!

    The first rumbles of recognition seem to be appearing in public of this daft problem. Yet, for the last ten years of me writing about this 99% of the responses from EA's or Conveyancers have been absolute denial it happens.

    CHAPS takes minutes, yet a chain of four can take 8 hours from start to the last party having their new front door open. All the reasons, as I've outlined thousands of times are human. Apathy, a lack of empathy, and laziness.

    Moreover, over recent years utterly stupid advice given to the public. Such as Conveyancers telling clients to stay put in the old house until their new house has completed. Yet often the client may be a combined total of 2 hours away from that position. Truly stupid.

    Solicitors going for lunch when completions are still waiting without thinking that there are families, homeless with barking dogs or screaming kids sat in their cars.

    One complete t1t of a conveyancer who said (and this is a direct quote) 'I don't check for funds until after 2pm, and that's how I've always done it'. Despite the fact that this melon might be acting for the second party in a chain of six.

    Idiots not drawing funds down the day before and then (and I have a recent email chain that I shouldn't to prove one recent instance) blaming the bank for their client not being able to complete on time and having notice to complete served.

    The situation that neither Agent nor Conveyancer can be bothered to properly explain to their clients what 'vacant possession' means, both in physicality and legal obligation.

    The answer to this issue doesn't rest with anything revolutionary Rob (I only say this to you as you've responded - in truth it's to every stakeholder). It rests with the individuals who already operate becoming more empathetic, efficient, client focussed and determined. Everybody knows a chain of six can complete by 1pm, it's happened, thousands of times.

    The problem is that for hundreds of thousands it's 3 or 4pm in the afternoon.

    And the reasons for that are, for the most part, and exceptional (rare) circumstance aside, human


    Matt Faizey

    and on here....
    An 'expert' who wanted to push his view that completion 'can be any time on the day'. A view that graphically demonstrated the ignorance I claim exists. Even in the face of logic, fact and reasonableness (and the small matter of law) did a Solicitor actually attempt to defend late completions, in public.

    What was more, the entire basis for his point and argument was wrong.

  • icon

    I had to babysit tonight so I have time on my hands...clearly......

    If I hear about another house removal company penalising a customer with waiting, storage and cancellation charges, often for cancelling a booking even weeks before a planned completion that has to be changed!

    Conveyancers are the cheapest part of the home move process - mortgage lenders, mortgage advisers, surveyors (sometimes), removals, estate agents - yet we can be incredibly flexible and generous. We stay beyond working hours for no extra charge, we don't charge for dealing with a late completion in the chain, we fix legal defects without additional charge etc, and we even get people in houses on a late completion chain, by working together to give and accept verbal promises to pay the following day.

    But everyone mentioned above needs to step up and work better together, not in isolation.

    Sadly, there are typical reasons for delays on the completion day, and it can involve all the above mentioned parties (1) the (so often volume) conveyancing firm who hasn't put the money in the system early enough or the conveyancer who hasn't realised they have received the buyers money and sits on it and does not then pay it onwards or even the conveyancer who (yes this has started) emails to say they have the money rather than phones (2) the seller is unwilling to vacate until they are good and ready causing the buyer/removals to hang around (3) the removals company can’t wait any longer and have to leave and will charge x,y,z (4) the conveyancing firm who are so inferior they have no clue what to do when delay happens and so go quiet, or go home early, or isn’t confident enough with their own client to say ‘don’t demand money has to arrive, let the people in and accept their lawyers undertaking to pay the money the next day with interest'

    For the moment, there are zero good ideas planned - don't believe the marketing hype, there are really are none - to help home movers/the conveyancing process. I also make the point that you simply will not get all lawyers working online together either for simultaneous money transfers or viewing transactions or even communicating (Email is as instant IT as you can get; but try getting most conveyancers to even reply to an email the same day.) That is all years off, as the standard of conveyancer is not good enough for that to happen....unless CML force it on lawyers in which case what mess.

    So for the moment, what should and could happen is quite simple:

    1. CHAPS to be faster. It can take take minutes to an hour or more. Totally random.
    2. Conveyancers to better organise themselves to handle completions. However fast CHAPS is, the human conveyxer needs to be available to action the consequences of incomng money and to arrange for key release and checking clients are out etc - as we can handle dozens and dozens a day
    3. All mortgage lenders to release mortgage funds the day before completion.
    4. CML to positively interfere and state the form of contract to be used (the Law Society version, i.e stripped to bare minimum)
    5. Requiring conveyancers to send out their replies to requisitions before exchange, not on the day of completion all too often!? We always send it out with the contract papers (yet some lawyers till ask a day before completion for it, and we embarrass them into finding it)
    6. Mortgage advisers to make sure the lender knows if there are solar panels, gifted deposits, etc so we do not cause delay later on when we have to tel the elder for the first time!?
    7. Surveyors to urge buyers to have their own boiler, gas, oil and electric inspections NEVER rely on bits of paperwork from the seller, as they are out of date, not their contact etc.
    8. Currently completion can take place up to 11.59pm on the day (as only 1/2pm is relevant for interest). Change that to require completion by say 1pm (not just for interest only purposes) or completion is treated as happening next day and is a breach of the contract
    9. Banning conveyancers from using email as a way to inform each other money has arrived and keys are released. Pick of the phone!!!
    10. Problem is not all sellers vacate at the same time….removals can be slow etc…..so make mandatory bold warnings on the contracts for sale, and on the property information form warning sellers to be out by 12 noon at the latest.
    11. Conveyancers need to know who is in the chain. We don’t get told. Often Agents do not know themselves. When I do know, I have now started sending a single email to everyone I know in the chain (lawyers and agents) and getting us to ‘reply all’ so we can talk, reveal who needs what and agree timings - it also adds peer pressure on the slow links. Its bad at the moment, we must spend 70% of our files chaing slow lawyers, local regional and national.
    12. Raise the standard of every conveyancer. Broken record, but standards are the worst since I started in 1995. Shoddy conveyancing means a completion day can take ages. It is no lie to say that law firms can put the office cleaner at a desk and put them to work as a conveyancer - that fact is scandalous
    13. Regulate the charging by removal companies of waiting, storage and cancellation - make it upfront and very transparent as a warning above where the customer signs…failing which no charge
    14. Lender panel management needs to stop. Most lenders do not use one. This duplicates so much of the CML duties conveyancers already must and know to do, it means the public get charged more as the conveyancers have to pay (!?), and conveyancers are constantly distracted from the legal work and time is wasted.
    13. Speed up the conveyancing legal work too, as the longer a deal takes, the less attentive everyone remains, leading to disinterest right at the last minute/completion day - sadly too often true. How?
    a. Improve the Property Information Form with better questions /ones typically asked and remove others
    b. Make the Law Society practice note even better to clarify whether enviro (and chancel searches) really are needed - Lenders should either not want them or they should obtain their own as part of the valuation process, and surveyors should as part of doing a survey. Not the lawyer.
    c. make Council searches far simpler and CML to state all mortgage lenders accept indemnity insurance
    d. make all mortgage redemption statements disclose if an early repayment penalty will apply to the same customer’s new mortgage (i.e if it fails to link the two, then it is not payable)
    e. make the seller always supply conditional planning consents, never the buyer's responsibility
    f. CML to clarify what ‘necessary’ planning and building control consents means. Necessary at the time, or necessary now to prevent probable enforcement? - maybe by setting a time limit after which they are not necessary
    g. Managing agents/Landlords to supply LPE1 packs in x days or face a fine
    h. and the list goes on


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up