Sales progression is, supposedly, the main reason why high street estate agents charge extortionate fees for selling your home. But what is sales progression? Are you capable of doing it yourself? And is it really a stressful and time-consuming process?

Sales Progression

What Is Sales Progression?

When an offer is accepted on a home for sale, the process of sales progression begins. The buyer and the seller both have responsibilities during this period.

Firstly, each party should engage a legal team (conveyancing solicitor/licensed conveyancer) to transfer ownership of the property. The legal team are the brains behind the operation, so ensure that they are legitimate by checking the Law Society database or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers database.

The legal team is responsible for a variety of important matters including (but not limited to) obtaining title deeds, liaising with mortgage lenders, preparing a draft contract, dealing with enquiries and arranging an exchange/completion date. Of course to do this they will require a plethora of information from the buyer and the seller in advance, not least to perform ID and money laundering checks.

You can see that there are various stakeholders in the process including the buyer, seller, legal teams, mortgage lenders and so on. Each task needs to be carried out by each stakeholder in a timely manner, and when this doesn’t occur they can often require a gentle reminder to expedite the process and progress the sale. The act of efficiently managing the sale of a property and its stakeholders is known as sales progression.

What Can Go Wrong When Selling My Home?

Sales progression doesn’t need to be stressful and time-consuming. If every stakeholder carried out their responsibilities in a timely and honest manner, the sale of most properties would be a smooth and efficient process. However this doesn’t always happen. The most common issues that affect sales progression are:

  • A buyer who doesn’t have funding in place (even though they said they did prior to making an offer).
  • Searches that reveal issues such as damp or other sizeable maintenance issues may cause the buyer to renegotiate.
  • Dithering buyers pulling out.
  • Unforeseen circumstances such as ill health, relationship issues, pregnancy.
  • Gazumping – when another buyer makes an improved offer before you have exchanged contracts.
  • Chain collapses – the sale of a property further up or further down the chain has collapsed, meaning that your sale can no longer proceed.
  • Slow responses from one or many stakeholders.

No Chain And Sales Progression

If you’re not in a chain sales progression is a relatively simple process. The buyer has nothing to sell, and the seller has nothing to buy.

No Chain

In such cases where there is no chain, high street estate agents still charge extortionate fees to sell your home when there is minimal work required.

Property Chains And Sales Progression

Let’s take a property chain consisting of 3 buyers/sellers. And let’s assume they all use an estate agent to track sales progression, and that each buyer/seller has their own legal team in place.

Here’s a diagram to help you conceptualise the chain:

Property Chain

Straight away we can see that there are 8 stakeholders in the sales progression process – more if you want to start including mortgage lenders and property surveyors:

  • 3 people buying and/or selling
  • 3 legal teams
  • 2 estate agents

Let’s assume you are Person 1. You are buying Property 1 off Person 2, but Person 2 still doesn’t have a mortgage in place to buy Property 2. This will delay the purchase for Person 1.

At the same time, Person 3 is taking a while to return his ID for Property 2 to Legal Team 3, and so Person 2 is also being delayed purchasing Property 2!

You can see how hiccups in the chain can cause delays and have a cascading effect onto other stakeholders in the property chain.

What Can An Estate Agent Do To Speed Up Sales Progression?

If all stakeholders contacted each other directly the management of a property sale would turn into a nightmare. Doing things this way isn’t efficient and only frustrates everybody in the chain. Instead, the estate agent carrying out sales progression for a particular property in the chain should only liaise with:

  • The person selling the property (their client)
  • The person buying the property
  • The legal team of the person selling the property
  • The legal team of the person buying the property
  • Other estate agents directly up and down the chain (it should not be necessary to contact indirect estate agents in the chain, or other legal teams.)

The reality is that an estate agent can only encourage more timely action in the sales progression process.  They only have powers to influence, to manage and to chase. But not necessarily to action.

Do I Need An Estate Agent To Track Sales Progression?

Legally you don’t. All that is required is somebody to manage the sale of your property, whether that be yourself or an estate agent.

If there is no chain you probably don’t require an estate agent for sales progression. It should be easy enough for you to liaise with the other party (the buyer/seller) directly to ascertain the current status, regardless of any issues you both encounter.

If you are a hot-headed person it may not be advisable to do your own sales progression since the process does require stakeholder management skills such as good communication and, if things get hairy, diplomatic responses.

The larger the chain gets, the more you need to consider if the cost of sales progression is worthwhile in relation to the time it will take you to manage the process yourself.

The beauty of MoveSelf is that we let YOU decide. If you’re not in a chain then give it a go yourself. If things get too much, just purchase our professional sales progression service and we’ll do it for you.

Build your tailor-made property listing with MoveSelf.