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How long does conveyancing take?
One of the questions we are most frequently asked by home movers is, how long does conveyancing take? We take a look at the process and the amount of time it might take until you can complete your sale or purchase.
If you would like to move quickly, it is important to use conveyancers with in-depth experience. If any difficulties should arise, having experienced conveyancing solicitors on your side means that they will be dealt with promptly and efficiently, minimising hold-ups and reducing the risk of a transaction falling through.
At Kingsfords, our team have a high level of expertise and always works proactively to progress transactions without delay. We know that you will be keen to move house as soon as possible and we will do all we can to complete your conveyancing promptly and meet any deadlines.
If you are thinking about moving house, our residential property team will be happy to assist you.
How long does it take to buy a house?
How long conveyancing takes can depend on several factors, but an average estimate is around three months from when an offer is accepted.
There are several stages to the conveyancing process, in England, Wales and NI, (Scotland has a different process) and understanding these can help you see the potential timeline.
Buying a house timeline
- Offer accepted : Buyer instructs Lawyers without delay
- Buyer applies for a mortgage
- Buyer arranges for a survey to be carried out
- Seller’s solicitor sends the contract package to the buyer’s solicitor
- Buyer’s solicitor goes through the contract package, lodges searches and writes to you with an update, plan and list of fixtures and fittings.
- Mortgage offer is sent to the buyer’s solicitor
- Search results are received and any essential enquiries are raised
- Buyer’s begins drafting a report to the buyer.
- Once the Buyer has the report and the final enquiries have been satisfied, the Buyer signs and returns the contract and is then in a position to proceed to exchange
- Once everyone else in the chain is ready to proceed, contracts are exchanged and the date for completion is set within the contract
- Mortgage funds are ordered
- Buyer’s solicitor carries out final checks
- Buyer pays any balance needed to complete
- Mortgage advance is received
- Buyer’s solicitor attends to stamping and registers the purchase and mortgage with HM Land Registry
What can cause a hold-up in conveyancing?
Everyone in the chain will usually need to go through the above process, except the seller at the end of the chain. This means that the longer the chain, the more scope there is for a delay. The exchange of contracts cannot take place until the whole chain is ready and the chain can only go as fast as the slowest person it.
Below are some of the reasons that a conveyancing transaction might move slowly:
Seller’s solicitor does not receive correct instructions from their client swiftly or is slow to provide the contract package
Ideally, the seller will instruct a solicitor before they have a buyer so that as soon as an offer is accepted, the contract papers can be sent. If you are selling a property and you would like us to represent you, you can speak to us while, or even before your property is on the market and we will let you have the initial paperwork for completion. This can reduce the time taken to reach exchange of contracts by up to two weeks, since contracts can be issued immediately a buyer is found.
There is a delay in obtaining the survey or it reveals a problem
If surveyors are busy, it may take some time to have the survey carried out. If a problem is revealed, then buyers will usually want professionals to visit the property and provide quotes for remedial works. Once they have this, they may want to renegotiate the price to take into account the cost. This can cause a delay.
How long do searches take?
Local authorities often have a backlog of searches to deal with and this can mean a hold-up. We always apply for searches promptly, as soon as contract papers are received, to ensure we have the results as soon as possible. Search results should usually take around two to three weeks to be returned.
There is a hold-up with a mortgage offer
Mortgage lenders may also have delays through large workloads or there could be an issue if someone in the chain needs to provide more information or has an application refused. Obtaining a mortgage offer in principle while you are looking for somewhere to buy can be helpful.
There is a legal difficulty with the title to the property
If the title to a property in the chain has a legal complication, there may be a hold-up. Using experienced and expert conveyancing solicitors means that difficulties will be managed effectively and delays minimised.
How long conveyancing takes
One of the main factors in how long conveyancing takes is the length of any chain. If there is no chain or only three properties involved, then a transaction can move quite quickly. With a longer chain, it is important that estate agents keep in close contact with all solicitors in the chain involved, to check for any potential delays and ensure that the work is being done and all parties are attending to issues quickly to move a transaction forward.
At Kingsfords, we always do all we can to avoid delays and ensure we are ready to exchange contracts as soon as possible. We also keep in touch with seller’s and buyer’s solicitors to see whether they need anything from us. We are used to meeting tight deadlines and our conveyancing solicitors are all experienced professionals with a strong track record of success in moving clients without avoidable delays.
Contact our residential property team
If you are thinking of moving, we would be delighted to represent you.
Want to see how much your conveyancing might cost? You can get a competitive quote with no obligations.