17 May

How long should conveyancing take?

How long does conveyancing take? It’s the ultimate million-dollar question in property, but it’s one without a definitive answer. The truth is that the conveyancing process can be completed in a matter of weeks, assuming there are no delays on either side, or the whole shebang can take months to knit together.

So, when you ask how long does it take to buy a house, you have to figure out the factors that can delay a sale and how you, as either buyer or seller, can mitigate them. Read on for a look at the most common issues that most frequently delay conveyancing.


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Securing a formal mortgage offer

This might seem like a no-brainer, but many buyers stick in an offer on a property they want without having the finance in place to buy it. Banks and other lenders will let you check online if your finances are secure enough to get a mortgage. That’s not the same as a formal application for a mortgage, and when you start the process of buying a property, at some point your conveyancing solicitor (and the seller) is going to want to see proof that you have the funds. Get your mortgage application underway as early as possible so you don’t hold up the conveyancing process.

Holdup in having a survey done or defects revealed by a survey

Not every purchase requires a survey – for instance, a cash buyer might be prepared to proceed with a sale without a survey. However, some mortgage providers will insist on a survey and so the sooner you get that underway, the better. The main reason for delay in getting a survey result is the lack of access to the property so do keep on top of the estate agent or vendor. Any defects revealed by a survey tend to become part of the price negotiation, but more complicated or structural problems could cause a delay in the conveyancing process or result in the whole transaction grinding to a halt.

Search results slow in returning

Searches are essential information about a property held by the local authority and organisations such as the Land Registry, which reveal accurate information on who actually owns a property and other facts such as planning permission for the surrounding area. Read more here. These searches are ordered by the buyer’s property lawyer or licensed conveyancer. The conveyancing solicitors on Homeward Legal’s nationwide panel use the professional team at our sister site Searches UK to ensure quick returns on searches that avoid any delays.

The effects of a chain

One of the most frustrating parts of buying or selling property is being part of a chain, where each move is dependent on another party buying or selling. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to influence how quickly other people organise their conveyancing or surveys. However, you can keep on top of your own side of any move by speaking regularly to your solicitor or conveyancer and replying promptly to any queries or request for documentation.

Problems with the seller’s title

The information that details who owns a property is contained in the title deeds, which are held by the Land Registry. The seller may not always be the registered owner, which can lead to complications for example, when someone has died and their estate is being sold via probate. The onus is on the buyer’s legal team to ascertain that all the legal requirements for the sale are in place, but they depend on receiving the correct information from the vendor. Again, this is a situation that the buyer cannot influence but it may cause a delay in conveyancing. As with all elements of the conveyancing process, work out early on the best method of communicating with your conveyancing solicitor and make regular contact with them. Homeward Legal’s sales team are also available seven days a week on 0800 038 6699  if there are any issues around communication with your legal representative.

A little luck can help

The key point to remember about accelerating the conveyancing process and avoiding delays is to keep on top of all paperwork, respond quickly to all requests from your conveyancing solicitor and keep fingers and toes crossed!

For a no-obligation quote, call Homeward Legal now on 0800 038 6699 or get an instant online quote. Remember, our no-completion, no-fee guarantee takes the headache out of conveyancing because you won’t be out of pocket if your transaction fails to complete.

If you’re a first-time buyer, check out Homeward Legal’s comprehensive First-Time Buyers’ Hub where all your questions about purchasing for the very first time are covered in detail.​