How Long Does Conveyancing Take

How long does conveyancing take?

This page was last updated on 1 April 2021

How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

Buying a house in the UK can be difficult, given high house prices and the often complex conveyancing process. Lots of factors can affect how the time it will take for buyers to get the title in a new house, including the solicitor you use, property searches, your mortgage and issues in the property chain.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

What is conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the legal term for where you transfer the ownership of property. This legal process is a necessary part of buying a house. 

How long does conveyancing take?

The entire conveyancing process will normally take anywhere between 8-12 weeks, however you should be prepared for this to take much longer depending on your circumstances and wider factors. 

When does the conveyancing process begin?

The start of the process is when you put in an offer on a property, or you accept someone else’s offer on your property. Your solicitor will then begin pre-contract work.

When does the conveyancing process end?

The last step is completion. This is when the seller gives the buyer the keys for the property. 

Here is a short video that explains more about the conveyancing process.

When does the buying or selling of the property become binding?

The sale becomes binding once the solicitors exchange signed contracts. This is concurrent with the buyer’s deposit being given to the seller’s solicitor.

What does a buyer need to do straight after making an offer?

To speed up the process, buyers should immediately make sure there is mortgage funding available, instruct a solicitor and get in touch with a surveyor. The licensed conveyancers can then get on with initial stages, like mandatory identity checks. 

What can slow down the time conveyancing takes?

  • If you are part of a property chain, if there are delays in the sale of other properties, this will slow down yours.
  • Delay in the conveyancing search. The search will be done by your local authority, and so if they have internal delays it could take them longer, up to a few weeks. 
  • Delay in getting a mortgage offer. There will also be a delay if your offer expires, generally after 3 to 6 months.
  • Getting adverse survey results. It will take even longer if your solicitor has to see if you can negotiate your offer following the search results.
  • Problems with the property title deeds.
  • Not having enough information from the seller.
  • The build property is not ready for the buyer to move in.

Why might getting a mortgage offer take longer than you expected?

This part of the process often takes longer than expected because people think that a pre-approved offer is the same as an offer. You can only make an application once you have a property to buy, and a property evaluation and risk analysis have been carried out. 

What happens if the survey shows there are defects with the house?

If there are defects, you might need to get a specialist survey, or an estimated cost of repair might need to be calculated. Your solicitor will then have to negotiate with the seller, and if these are unsuccessful, this will cause a delay. 

Why might there be a delay in getting access for a survey?

To undertake a survey, the surveyor must get access to the house. This can be an issue if the seller is difficult to get in contact with, the wrong contact details have been provided by the buyer, or if the seller is uncooperative. 

"Conveyancing is the legal term for where you transfer the ownership of property. This legal process is a necessary part of buying a house. "

Why might there be a delay in getting search results?

Once the official search form has been sent off to your local authority, how long they take to return the results is in their hands. Not all local authorities have made their records computerised, so it can take a long time for them to access the records. 

How long should conveyancing take if you are buying a leasehold home?

The average conveyancing time for  buying a leasehold property will be more, and it will probably be more expensive. This is because there will be more work for conveyancing solicitors to do on a leasehold, and there are more potential expenses. 

What are property chains?

Where the party selling a property is also purchasing their own new home. Generally, buyers need to get the money from the sale of the first property in order to buy the new house. 

This means all the transactions have to happen on the sale day so funds can be released. This can cause lots of coordination problems, so the longer the chain, the higher the chances there will be some delay. 

How long does conveyancing take if there is no property chain?

The process will generally take 8 weeks from the sale having been agreed. The process is shorter if there is no chain because this is where most of the delays come from. The chain will generally be shorter where you are purchasing a new build.

What impact do property chains make to conveyancing timescales?

The issue can be that if there is a problem with one property chain, this can delay other chains. Approximately a quarter of people buying a new property have some delays or there is a cancellation on the day they move into the house. 

How can I speed up my conveyancing process?

How long conveyancing will take is quicker if there is no mortgage or no survey. However, it is a good idea to get a survey done in the long term. 

How can I avoid conveyancing process delays?

You should instruct a conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible when buying a property. You need to have the right property lawyers, as otherwise they may cause problems in the process. You also need to make sure you have the right estate agents, as they will do the work communicating between the buyer and the seller. During the process, you can speed up the process by staying in touch with your solicitor and the estate agent. 

What are the steps in conveyancing?

There are four main steps of the conveyancing process: Pre-contract work, mortgage offer, draft contract, and exchange of contracts to completion. 

How long does conveyancing pre-contract work take?

Once you have an offer, a conveyancing solicitor will look over the legal documents and give you legal advice. They will have discussions with the seller’s solicitor and put together a draft contract and begin searches. At the same time, you should get a survey of the home computed by a surveyor, which should take a couple of days, but up to a month.

average time to exchange contracts

What legal documents will the conveyancer have to review?

Your conveyancer will give you legal advice after looking at:

  • The contract pack from the seller
  • Your mortgage offer
  • The results of the property survey, which will likely include legal notes on things like building control, guarantees and other planning issues.

How long will it take to secure your mortgage offer?

You should have a mortgage agreement in principle before you make an offer. Once the offer is accepted, you must submit a mortgage application, and a mortgage lender can turn this into an offer. The timescale from putting in a mortgage application to getting an offer is probably a month.

How long will it take to get your draft contract for buying a house?

This can be done simultaneously to your mortgage application. The conveyancers will have to collate all the information from the land registry, and information from both parties’ conveyancers. 

At this stage, the search results and a survey are likely to be returned, so you will have to resolve any issues they bring up. Therefore, this stage can take anywhere between 2 weeks and 10 weeks.

How long from exchanging contracts and completion?

Completion is normally 7 to 14 days after exchanging contracts. However, this will depend on the type of transaction, yours and the other party’s personal circumstances and the size of the conveyancing chain. 

long does conveyancing take

What is the window in which I can exchange contracts?

You will have authority to exchange for 28 days. Your solicitor must exchange contracts within this time. 

Can the date of completion be varied by the parties?

Both of the parties and others in the chain can decide the date of completion. This might be necessary if you need time to ensure that your conveyancing process will align with your onwards purchase. 

What happens at completion?

This is where you exchange the keys, and with this you become the owner of the home. On completion day, the conveyancing solicitors will make sure that all of the funds are transferred between the parties. The person selling the property needs to have left the property by the 12PM on the day of completion, and so the buyer will get the keys in the middle of the afternoon.

How long does it take from offer to completion?

Probably 8-12 weeks. However, this is a ballpark figure, and if you take with no chain as you are a cash buyer, or you already have mortgage funds sorted, this is likely to be faster. 

What happens after the completion date?

Even after you move in, your conveyancer will continue to be involved in tying up the sale. The conveyancers will send off signed completion documents and will be responsible for making sure the purchase and the mortgage are registered with HM Land Registry

Should I get a conveyancing search done?

Even though it is time-consuming, it is worth getting a search done in case you find out anything that would be a problem once you move into the property. 

How long do searches take?

You can expect a conveyancing search to take from several days to several weeks. This includes the local authority search, an environmental search and a search of the drainage and water. The length of the search process will vary based on the number of searches you need, and what types. 

How long does it take to have a local authority search completed?

This will vary based on how busy the council is at the time and which local authority you live in. For example, in 2019, Camden Council told buyers it would likely take 70 working days to get back the results of a search.

How long does the environmental search take?

To have a search done for the environment, drainage and water, will take somewhere between 5 and 10 days. This is from the date you apply to the date the results are received by your conveyancing. 

How long after searches to exchange?

Normally you exchange contracts in the eighth week of the process. You have to have the results of the search and an agreed completion date before you can exchange contracts.

How can I accelerate the time it will take to exchange contracts?

To speed up the average time to exchange contracts, you should make sure everything else is sorted first. You can also avoid properties with an onward chain. 

conveyancing take

What is simultaneous exchange and completion? 

This is where you exchange contracts and complete the sale at the same time. This is possible but rare. It can happen where there is no property chain and there is no one currently living in the property.

How long does conveyancing take if you are purchasing a property?

It will take longer if you are the purchaser because there are more stages in the process. Conveyancing will start after acceptance of your offer. After this, searches will need to be done, and you will need to get a survey as well as a mortgage offer. 

The seller’s contracts will then be reviewed, and pre-contract enquiries will be made. Only after this can you exchange contracts and determine your completion date. If there is not a chain, it should take 8-12 weeks.

How long does conveyancing take if you are the one selling the property?

The conveyancing process is shorter if you are selling, so for a simple transaction with no property chain, it can take somewhere between 6 and 10 weeks. 

What are the stages for selling property?

Your conveyancer has to put together the draft contract documents, and deal with the buyer’s pre-contract enquiries. If the buyer needs a mortgage and a survey to be done, then they should follow the normal conveyancing process, so again, the conveyancing timeline will probably be 8-12 weeks. 

When is stamp duty payable?

You have to pay stamp duty at most 30 days from completion. If you are a first time buyer, you do not need to pay stamp duty on your new home. 

Learn More About Mortgages In The UK

How do mortgages work in the UK?

Buying a home or land is expensive. A mortgage is a financial product that helps people purchase their own home or land.This is especially true for a first time buyer, as it might be the only route onto the property ladder.

The minimum credit score for a mortgage

ou can still be approved for a mortgage to buy a property if you have a poor credit score. However, someone with a poor credit score will probably have a higher interest rate than someone whose credit score is good. Buyers with a low credit score may also need to pay a bigger deposit.

fixed term Contract Mortgages

A fixed term contract is a way of describing certain types of employment. If your current employment contract is due to end after a certain period of time, or after a specific piece of work is complete, you are likely on a fixed term contract.

how long does a mortgage application take?

After sending off the final application waiting for the decision can be frustrating. Many prospective homeowners ask ‘how long does it take?’ but the truth is the mortgage approval process is always different for each customer.

how long does conveyancing take?

The entire conveyancing process will normally take anywhere between 8-12 weeks, however you should be prepared for this to take much longer depending on your circumstances and wider factors. This articles explores what the timescale involves.

Mortgages if You are bankrupt

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to what lenders will accept your mortgage application if you want to get a mortgage after bankruptcy. They will lend to discharged bankrupts and consider each case individually.

what stops you getting a mortgage?

Everyone wants to get the best deal when it comes to buying a home and getting a mortgage when they buy a home. However, being too ambitious can lead to your application being rejected.

how much do mortgage advisors charge?

Fees for mortgage brokers can be off-putting. A mortgage is an expensive financial product, and often buyers want to save as much money as possible. This might limit their options when it comes to using a mortgage broker.  However, not everyone advisor charges a fee.

IVA Mortgage

When you have an IVA, mortgage acceptance is still possible. However, involuntary agreement mortgage lenders can be hard to find. Typically, a high street company will be more less keen to give you a mortgage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does conveyancing take?

The entire conveyancing process will normally take anywhere between 8-12 weeks, however you should be prepared for this to take much longer depending on your circumstances and wider factors.

When does the conveyancing process begin?

The start of the process is when you put in an offer on a property, or you accept someone else’s offer on your property. Your solicitor will then begin pre-contract work.

When does the conveyancing process end?

The last step is completion. This is when the seller gives the buyer the keys for the property.

Why might getting a mortgage offer take longer than you expected?

This part of the process often takes longer than expected because people think that a pre-approved offer is the same as an offer. You can only make an application once you have a property to buy, and a property evaluation and risk analysis have been carried out.

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