How long does conveyancing take?

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How long does conveyancing take?

Many first-time homebuyers are surprised when they find out how long it can actually take to buy a property. With lots of people involved, and a big pile of paperwork, the process is generally measured in months rather than weeks.

Buying and selling a property can be a bit like herding cats, especially if you’re part of a chain. So the answer to “How long does conveyancing take?” can be a bit of a guess. On average, you can expect it to be wrapped up in around two to three months. But every sale is different.

The best case

  1. Choose a conveyancer

    The buyer and seller each appoint a conveyancer to handle the legal transfer of ownership.

  2. Sort the paperwork

    The conveyancers get busy, drafting, gathering and checking relevant documents. This could include local authority searches, title deeds to the property, forms the seller fills in, details about the lease (if it’s a leasehold) and more. Finalising searches and contracts can take about a month.

  3. Arrange the mortgage and survey

    The buyer applies for a mortgage (if they need it) and arranges a survey of the building. It could be a month before the formal mortgage offer comes through.

  4. Exchange and complete

    All questions are answered and documents are ready, so it’s time to agree a completion date and exchange contracts. The seller’s conveyancer gets the buyer’s deposit. Up to four weeks later, on completion day, they get the rest of the sale price. The buyer’s conveyancer then gets the title deeds to the property and the buyer picks up the keys to move in.

  5. Wrap it up

    The buyer’s conveyancer pays any stamp duty due to HMRC, sends the title deeds to the mortgage lender (if there is one) and registers the new owner with HM Land Registry. The buyer’s conveyancer pays the estate agent and pays off any mortgage. Then they send out their bills.

How you can help keep the process moving

Making the time to gather, read, sign and send back documents nice and quickly could make a real difference to your schedule.

If you’re the buyer

Get the ball rolling on your mortgage application and house survey as soon as you can. Be ready to transfer your deposit well before you exchange.

If you’re the seller

Fill out the property and fittings forms as fully and accurately as you can to cut down on questions the buyer might come back with.

What might slow the process down

You’re in a chain

One of the most frustrating bits about buying or selling a property is being one in a chain of sales that all need to complete on the same day. While your deal might be motoring along, another could be stalling. There’s not really anything you can do about it, except stay on top of your own process.

The buyer has to find proof of funds

The buyer will need to prove where their cash is coming from and how they got it. (This could be from another house sale, savings, an inheritance or a gift.)

Someone goes on holiday

Easter, Christmas, summer – at certain times of year, holidays are likely to slow your sale down, especially if you’re in a chain.

There are problems with the title deeds

Every now and again there’ll be issues with the documents that record the property’s ownership, or ‘title deeds’. They could have got lost, or not been updated after an owner has died. Problems like this can be fixed but will take time.

The property is looked after by a management company

If a management company charges a fee for looking after the property, the buyer’s conveyancer will ask for more information. The company will then charge an admin fee for putting this management pack together. If the seller is slow to pay, there could be a delay.

The survey or searches throw up problems

It’s amazing what turns up in surveys and searches. Depending on how serious the situation is, the buyer might decide to lower their offer before exchanging contracts. It’s then up to the seller to decide whether they still want to go ahead.

In a nutshell

Conveyancing typically takes around two to three months to sort out. Your conveyancer will be balancing your desire to get things done quickly with their need to protect your interests. And there are plenty of things that might happen and slow you down. By staying organised and in touch, you can help keep the process moving along.

Can we help?

We want to open up the law to everyone. Explaining it clearly is part of that, but we also find ways to make everyday legal services cheaper and easier.

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Can we help?

We want to open up the law to everyone. Explaining it clearly is part of that, but we also find ways to make everyday legal services cheaper and easier.

If you’d like to set up a business or register a limited company, we can help you. In fact, we’ve managed to make our cheapest company formations cost less than going direct to Companies House. We can also help with accounting, payroll and tax services or a central London address – there’s a month’s free trial, and you can cancel any time. If that all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. Using a formation agent (like us) to do the legwork could actually save you money. Visit our company formation webpage, or call us on 0345 122 8103 if you need advice.

Can we help?

We want to open up the law to everyone. Explaining it clearly is part of that, but we also find ways to make everyday legal services easier and more affordable.

Perhaps you’re thinking about how to take care of things if the worst happens, so there’s less stress for the people you love? We can help with willsliving willspower of attorney and more. Or call us on 0345 122 8103 if you need advice.

Can we help?

We want to open up the law to everyone. Explaining it clearly is part of that, but we also find ways to make everyday legal services cheaper and easier.

If you’re buying or selling a property, we can help you. In fact, we have everything you need to get the conveyancing process done and dusted online. Have a look at our conveyancing webpage, or call us on 0345 122 8103 if you need advice.

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