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For anyone looking to set their roots in a new environment, start fresh, and open up themselves to new opportunities, purchasing a new home is almost always the first solution to consider.

After some time researching, planning, sending inquiries, finding the right lender, and visiting a few open houses, you’ve finally found a prime piece of property at the right price. Now, all that needs to be done is send in your documents, have your loan approved, and sign a few contracts – just like in the movies, right?

In reality, however, the home buying process isn’t as speedy as most people expect. As a matter of fact, the process itself is no stranger to its fair share of delays and hold-ups because of all the different intricacies involved from start to finish since there is a significant amount of money and documentation included.

While each component has its respective effect and potential to delay an entire home buying process, there’s one particular component that’s prone to slowing down the process: conveyancing.

Why does conveyancing get delayed in the first place?

What makes the aspect of conveyancing delays much more complicated lies in the fact that this problem can be tied to a significant number of causes that come up as a result of mistakes. If you’ve been meaning to purchase a home for quite some time now and haven’t seen any progress with your application, here are four common reasons that may explain your conveyancing delays:

Reason #1: Your offer has been “gazumped”

In the world of real estate, the risk of “gazumping”—which is where a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after initially verbally agreeing to another offer—is quite inherent in any type of transaction.

Generally, this problem tends to take place before contracts and signatures are exchanged because a selling party still has the opportunity to legally go back on their agreement and entertain a higher offer from another party. Until you put a form of legal binding into the equation, it’s best to expect the probability of getting gazumped to be higher. Once you’ve managed to exchange contracts with a buyer, however, you’ll be able to cut out this conveyance-delaying risk to keep the ball rolling in getting your dream property.

How to remedy this situation: For most cases of gazumping, the only solution that you can capitalise on so that further delays are prevented is to match a new buyer’s offer or negotiate well enough and meet them halfway. Should you fail to reach a compromise, however, the stage wherein your transaction is in the conveyancing process will determine the willingness of a seller to accept your offer or completely overturn the higher-price party’s proposal.

Reason #2: Failing to instruct a conveyancing solicitor about an offer acceptance

Another common reason for lengthy delays in the conveyancing process experienced by aspiring UK homeowners is that they fail to instruct the assigned solicitor of their acceptance.

Instructing a solicitor promptly is vital for avoiding delays because the time between the acceptance of an offer and the transfer of a property title will dictate how long the legal processes involved will take. It is imperative to report any updates on the acceptance of your offer because, at this part of the process, the magnitude of wasted time is far greater than it would be in other stages. This is why you should always be ready to instruct your solicitor once you get an update!

How to remedy this situation: When it comes to avoiding this common chokepoint, the best approach is to get several conveyancing quotes in advance so that you can gauge how long it takes for an agent or lender to approve your offer. Using our Conveyancing Calculator, for instance, will make it far easier to compare the fees you have to pay against the level of service offered without any further delays!

Reason #3: Disagreeing on the price between a buyer and seller

Out of all the probable reasons for delay that your transaction’s conveyancing process can run into, none pose a more substantial risk than a potential disagreement between you and a seller (or the other way around).

More often than not, disagreements lead on to further negotiations between both parties which usually span for a few hours up to a few days and subsequent revisions to a contract after. Negotiations or compromises on various aspects, such as fixtures, pricing, fittings, or date or entry, will eventually lead to days or weeks’ worth of delays as the paperwork needs to be fixed up once more before all is filed and served.

How to remedy this situation: The only way you can prevent disagreement on any aspect of the purchase process from delaying the entire conveyancing process is to make your requirements clear and negotiate before writing up a contract. By taking the time to map out any potential differences and reach a compromise, you can keep the whole process smooth later on and prevent delays!

Reason #4: The paperwork on either side has issues

What anyone should know before getting into the conveyancing process during a purchase is that no bigger hurdle could come up unexpectedly than improper paperwork. Given the amount of time spent going back and forth on revising or correcting crucial documents, it’s clear that you can’t afford to experience any errors in your paperwork. If you’re a buyer, however, you won’t need to worry as much about messing anything up on your end as most of the causes for delay will come from the seller’s end!

How to remedy this situation: Seeing that the potential cause for delays regarding paperwork comes from the seller’s end, you’ll need to make sure the listing you’re looking at has all its documentation before you even embark on the conveyancing process!


When it comes to purchasing a home in the UK, one of the essential factors that you need to understand and consider realistically is the potential risk of having your conveyancing delayed. By taking the time to watch out for the four common causes for delay mentioned above and taking the necessary steps to remedy them, you can make sure that you won’t have to spend too much time waiting to own your dream home!

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