Friday, March 03, 2017

There Has to be a Better Way Than This

We've had another delay in the house move - at the start of February our estimate was by the end of the month, and our new estimate is... by the end of the month. I fully expect the start of April to come with a revised estimate that is surprisingly the same. I suppose I really should have started unpacking.

Thus far, our seller has been extremely patient, and their seller in turn. But I fear that there will come a point where this is no longer the case, and we'll miss out on the house because of stupid bureaucracy. Which sucks.

What I don't understand, though, is how the system has become so utterly terrible - surely there must be a better way to do things than this?

In particular, the problem seems to be the formation of chains: because so much money is tied up in the property that you own, it's effectively necessary to buy and sell at the same time. But the people you're both buying and selling from are themselves trying to coordinate a similar transaction, each buying and selling at the same time, and nobody able to move until they're all able to move.

And that, of course, means that everything necessarily takes a huge amount of time, is hugely stressful, and is also worryingly fragile - a problem at any point in the chain means the whole thing breaks up, and everyone suffers.

What seems to be needed, essentially, is an Arnold Clark for houses - rather than seeking out a buyer for the existing house and also seeking out a new house to buy, one would instead go to a "used house dealer", pick from the houses they have on their books, and arrange a trade-in of your current property.

(To a certain extent, such a thing already exists, in the form of various quick sale merchants. The big problem there being that they're notoriously chancers out to rip people off. Ideally, we need proper government regulation here to ensure that this ceases to be the case. Also, of course, it's the same as the part-exchange option frequently offered with new builds.)

The key point being, of course, that then we wouldn't be trying to conduct two huge transactions at once, but rather just one.

At least, that's my initial proposal for a fix. No doubt, it would also have its own set of problems and pitfalls. But when compared with a system that is manifestly not working as it should, it certainly has a certain appeal.

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