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The conveyancing process can be complicated, especially for the uninitiated. There are plenty of complex documents to understand, regulations to comply with, documents to both fill and provide, deadlines to manage, and much more.

There are many concerns and questions that may arise throughout the process. Even the smallest mistake can become highly inconvenient for everyone involved, possibly becoming an expensive problem. Luckily, we have created this guide to help you navigate the complexities of conveyancing.

How long does the process last?

The entire conveyancing process, from the day you look up online conveyancing calculators to the day you complete the requirements, can take anywhere from eight to twelve weeks. This can depend on a few circumstances, such as if you’re part of a property chain, whether you’re the buyer or seller, and the conveyancing solicitor you decide to go with.

This might seem like a long time, but the deadlines are tight, and there are many steps in the process. There is little room for error. Every requirement and deadline must be complied with as soon as possible. To avoid delays, you should communicate with your conveyancer to begin the process once either side has accepted an offer.

Why does it take long?

There are quite a few reasons that the procedure can take a while, but here are some of the most common:

  • You’re part of a property chain. This process can take longer if you’re part of a property chain, specifically because the entire chain is being processed as a whole. If any delays occur in one part of the chain, it delays the whole chain. If you are not part of any chain, your entire process may take as short as eight weeks. This is an issue most first-time homebuyers do not experience.

  • Adverse survey results. Part of the conveyancing process is the survey of liens and issues on the property in question. If any arise in the survey step, it will bring things to a halt until the issues are resolved. This time can be taken to renegotiate the offer or even pull out of the purchase entirely.

  • Mortgage offer issues. If you apply for a mortgage a little too late in the conveyancing process, it can delay the whole procedure. Make sure to have a mortgage ready by the time it is necessary to avoid this delay. It is also important to ensure that this mortgage has not expired, as they typically last about three to six months.

  • Conveyancing search delays. An integral part of the survey is when your solicitor orders property searches from the relevant authorities, such as local governments, organisations, and so on. There is no way to account for the staffing and efficiency of these local bodies, so this might end up delaying the process. This part of the procedure is sometimes the one that takes up the most time to accomplish.

How long do the conveyancing searches take?

Depending on the location and nature of your property, a number of searches might need to be made. Generally, the searches include a local authority search, environmental search, and drainage and water search. The more searches you have to make, the longer it is likely to take, as all these searches must be performed by local authorities and organisations.

Depending on how well-staffed and busy these organisations might be, it might take some time for them to complete the searches. The environmental and the drainage and water search results, for example, can take between five to ten working days to conclude from the day your solicitor sends in an application to the local authority.

How long will it take from the searches to the exchange?

Assuming no issues and liens have been found on the property in the searches, the exchange of contracts can occur in the eighth week of the process. Depending on the type of transaction, the personal circumstances of the parties involved, and the size of the chain, completion may occur between seven to fourteen days after the exchange of contracts.

In some very rare cases, it is possible to exchange and complete on the same day, but only if you are not in a property chain and the property is vacant.

How is the experience when I am a buyer?

The purchasing side of the process can take longer, as there are more steps for a buyer than a seller. For a buyer, the process begins once the offer has been accepted. Some of the things that need to be performed on your end are:

  • The conveyancing searches

  • The obtaining of surveys and mortgage offers

  • The review of the search results.

  • The buyer’s conveyancer will also submit a set of Pre-Contract Enquiries to the seller’s conveyancer, which will help ensure that the property is legally sound.

  • After the aforementioned have been obtained or completed, the exchange of contracts can commence, and the date of completion can be set.

We’ve mentioned before that the process can take eight to twelve weeks, and this is the time frame that generally accounts for the experience of the buyer.

What about the seller?

A seller can finish their side of the process within six to ten weeks if everything goes smoothly and without any hitches. This is also the general timeline if there is no property chain, and if the buyer requires a mortgage and decides to have a survey conducted.

The main stage on their side of the process is to draft the contract paperwork and to answer and address the Pre-Contract Enquiries raised by the buyer’s conveyancer.

The more quickly this stage can be completed, the faster the transaction can proceed to completion.

Should the buyer need a mortgage and elect to have surveys conducted, then the time frame extends to around eight to twelve weeks.

Final thoughts

There are many conveyancing calculators online, but few ever go in-depth about how long the process is likely to take. If you are thinking of purchasing or selling a home, it is important to be aware of every step in the process—what fees you might need to pay, what requirements you need to fulfil, how long it takes, and so on.

Having a good understanding of the procedure and the help of a skilled conveyancer or solicitor can prevent all the little mistakes that may result in expensive and tedious delays. However, even if they do arise, the knowledge you have might give you a better grasp of how to deal with these problems as they come. With patience, you could complete this transaction smoothly—whether you were hoping to buy or sell a property.

If you’re looking for a conveyancing fees calculator to help you understand what you should expect, send us a message at Conveyancing Calculator. We have the resources you need to make this process less tedious and less stressful.


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