How to speed up your conveyancing... and other frequently asked questions

Published: 24/08/2017

Taking the leap and buying your first home? Not entered a property transaction in a while? The process of purchasing a house or flat isn't always straight forward, but with the assistance of an experienced property solicitor, it can be much less stressful! Before you get started, we answer some of our most commonly-asked questions during the conveyancing process.

How long does the conveyancing process take?

A standard freehold purchase will normally take between six and eight weeks. However, it can be less or much more, depending on the circumstances.

Why is my conveyancing taking so long?

Factors can include:

Who and how many people are involved in the property buying process – e.g. the solicitor, the solicitor for the vendor, the vendor themselves, the mortgage company, all external search companies, etc.

If you are buying an empty property with no mortgage, you could complete the purchase in as short a period as one week. Rarely, is a property transaction so straight-forward however, and the sheer amount of parties involved can be staggering!

There could be all-matter of delays. For instance, once you have instructed a conveyancer, they must write to the solicitor of your vendor to advise them they are acting on your behalf and request copies of various documents in order to proceed. Your conveyancer will be handling various sales and purchases, so may not do this immediately.

The vendor could also take a long time to complete required forms. The vendor must therefore be chased by their solicitor, by way of yours, which can be a complicated and time-consuming process.

The complexity of the transaction e.g. it will take longer if the property is leasehold

You must check if you are purchasing a leasehold or freehold. If it’s a leasehold with less than 80 years remaining, this could be problematic.

If the searches or inquiries reveal something unexpected

Land Registry checks, planning checks, flooding and environmental searches and depending on where you are in country, mining searches will all need to be carried out by your conveyancer.

Getting a mortgage and arranging building insurance (your responsibility) It all takes time!

How can I speed my conveyancing up?

Take time researching your conveyancer. The firm should hold a Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) certificate, the accreditation given by the Law Society

Try completing the conveyancing process in a ‘quiet time’ of the year. This is usually December and January. The September summer holiday period can also be less busy

A ‘No-Chain’ purchase – this is when the buyer interested in your property does not have to sell another house in order to purchase yours

Opting to have a full home buyer’s survey done by your lender, not just a valuation report. That way, it will all be done at the same time and will save you money

Keep in touch with your vendor and conveyancer, to make sure everything is going smoothly. Ask to be blind-copied in to relevant emails between parties

Stay organised – have all documents and planning permissions/guarantees for work done in order, to avoid any delays if your conveyancer, purchaser or vendor needs information.

When should I book removals?

It is best to avoid booking your removals until after contracts have been exchanged. At that time removal arrangements can be confirmed to the company. Before exchange, the moving date is not definite and you may incur extra charges should the date have to be changed.

Can I complete on a Saturday?

No. The electronic banking system only works Monday to Fridays. In addition, most law firms do not work on a Saturday.

What should I do with the keys to my existing property?

They should be left with the estate agents. They will only release the keys to the buyer once completion has taken place. If there are no estate agents, you should arrange to give the buyer the keys direct.

Please do not hand the keys over until you have received confirmation that we have received the purchase monies.

How do I get the keys to my new property?

Please make your own arrangements with the estate agents as they will normally hold the keys. If there are no estate agents, you should arrange to collect the keys from the seller.

I am selling to a member of my family. Do we still need to instruct solicitors?

Yes, you will still need the services of a professional conveyancer.

Help! I have more questions.

Feel free to get in touch with us. Lynne and her property team will be more than happy to help.

Content correct at time of publication.
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