How long does conveyancing take?
On average, conveyancing takes 8 to 12 weeks in the UK. Often there are significant delays. Why does it take so long, and can you speed it up?
What does a conveyancer do?
A conveyancing solicitor is responsible for the legal work required to transfer ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. This is known as ‘conveyancing’.
On average, conveyancing on a residential property this takes eight to twelve weeks, but many variables can impact this timescale, one way or another.
Conveyancing for buyers – main areas of delay
When acting for a buyer, a solicitor will carry out due diligence into the property and report back to the buyer.
This will include:
- reviewing all information supplied by the seller
- raising detailed enquiries about the property
- carrying out searches
- dealing with and representing the mortgage lender
- writing a report on title about the property
- handling all financial aspects of the transaction
- the registration of the new owner property at the land registry
Obtaining a mortgage offer has become increasingly long-winded over recent years.
Despite technological advances, conveyancing has become ever more bureaucratic and many hoops must be jumped through before an offer is received.
Getting your finances arranged should be your first and highest priority when buying
Solicitor/lender panel issues
If you are obtaining a mortgage, your solicitor will also act for your lender. Not all solicitors can act for all lenders. This can be a significant cause of delays.
Make sure your solicitor can act for your lender before you instruct. If they cannot go elsewhere.
Where there are three or more linked buyers and sellers, you have a chain. If there is a chain, sales can only move as fast as the slowest cog in the machine, e.g. an uncommunicative solicitor.
Buyers and sellers often feel impotent as there is little they can do. It is possible to address some of the problems in the chain, however.
Searches will be carried out through the local authority. It can take weeks, sometimes even months, to get the results.
Solicitors tend to use private search agents who usually get faster results. However, some local authorities can still create bottlenecks.
If the searches uncover any significant issues (risk of flooding, for example), further searches may be required. This may feel frustrating, but property searches are vital in ensuring you are not buying a house with any major long term problems.
The reviewing of documents
It is also your solicitor’s responsibility to look over all documents relating to the property in detail and offer legal advice on proceeding with the purchase. The documents reviewed will include the property information forms, the mortgage offer, and the contract pack obtained from the seller’s solicitor.
If any of these documents highlight issues that need to be resolved before you proceed, you could face delays.
It is your surveyor’s job to carry out checks on the condition of the property, and as with the property searches, finding problems could cause delays.
If issues are highlighted in the survey, it could mean renegotiating the price with the seller, or stipulating that they make repairs before you proceed with the purchase. If you are obtaining a mortgage, your mortgage lender may insist on repairs before releasing the money.
Get your survey instructed as soon as the offer is accepted.
Further possible causes for delay
- Your solicitor being reactive and failing to drive the transaction
- The vendor’s solicitor being slow to respond
- The vendor being hard to get hold of or slow to respond
- The need to obtain documents from other organisations
Conveyancing for sellers – main areas of delay
As with buying, sale conveyancing can only move as fast as all of the other solicitors and related parties in the transaction and elsewhere in the chain.
Choosing a proactive solicitor, completing and returning documents asap and being as responsive as possible will help.
If you need to source information to support the sale, such as managing agent information, it is a good idea to apply for this as soon as you go on the market.
There are things you can do to speed things up
Most buyers and sellers think they are mere passengers in the post-offer conveyancing work.
This is not the case. There is much you can do to take control and help accelerate your conveyancing.
How can Quittance help?
If you are buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring equity in a home, our conveyancing solicitors can help.
Our conveyancing service aims to deliver a stress-free moving experience. In particular we focus on proactive communication as this can help drive a purchase or sale forwards to speedy completion.
Get an all-inclusive conveyancing quote
Quittance offer a guaranteed fixed fee, all-inclusive conveyancing service from £348. To get a conveyancing quote please use the conveyancing fees calculator below.
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