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In real estate transactions, most buyers and sellers often find themselves wondering why delays always seem to happen during the final stages of the sale. There are a multitude of reasons why the exchange of contracts will take longer than anticipated. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the side of the buyer or seller, there are times when the final negotiations sometimes get delayed or even halted in seemingly the home stretch of the real estate transaction.

While this is a seemingly normal part of the process, it is natural for all parties involved to want to speed up the transaction. If this cannot be done, you may still want to know the reason for the delay. This article will provide some information as to this.

Conveyancing FAQs: Why Does the Process Take So Long?

If you have ever dealt with a real estate sale before, you may have wondered what the hold up is about, especially in the closing segments of the deal. It is true that the transfer of a property doesn’t happen overnight, why does it sometimes feel that the negotiations take forever? Here are a few of the questions (and answers!) that may be running through your mind while you wait for your real estate deal to be finalized.

Question 1: Why do solicitors take so long when exchanging contracts?

This question might set in right after you have finalized the deal and exchanged contracts. You may be thinking “If the deal has already been finalized and the contracts have been signed, what is taking so long?”

In the conveyancing process, there are many steps that need to take place, even after an agreement has already been reached between the buyer and the seller. During these steps, it may be possible for delays and setbacks to happen, making the waiting time become longer than originally thought.

The delays may come in the form of differences in valuations, solicitors not being able to find searches, the size of the chain, unresponsive parties, or simply because a solicitor may not be doing their due diligence. During extremely long wait times, there have been cases where the real estate deal has ended up falling through. This may happen even if the contracts have already been signed. However, to fully understand why these things happen, you need to look at what happens during the conveyancing process.

Question 2: How long does the conveyancing process take?

Unfortunately, there is no set time frame that can be given as to how long the conveyancing process will take. The timeline will highly depend on the parties involved as well as the solicitors who are handling the negotiations. The enquiry stage is the first part of the process. In this stage, the solicitors of both buyer and seller will meet and discuss the details of the sale. The buyer’s solicitor will ask for a draft contract. Along with this, the seller’s solicitor will also forward the specific details of the property for the buyer to peruse.

This step will last for more or less one to four weeks, depending on how responsive the buyer and seller are during this part of the transaction. If you feel that too much time is being spent on this part of the process, it is a good idea to take it up with your solicitor. They will be able to give you updates as to how the negotiations are going.

The next stage is the exchange of contracts. Many people have the notion that the process after the initial negotiation will be relatively quick. However, this is not the case. After the enquiry stage, the solicitors will then exchange contracts. This part of the process will take around four to eight weeks or even longer, depending on the complexity of the deal.

Question 3: What factors affect the exchanging of contracts?

Many people wonder why the exchanging of contracts takes so long. There are many factors that affect why this part of the conveyancing process may take a while. Here are some of the reasons why contracting parties may experience delays in the exchanging of contracts.

1 - Overworked Solicitors

In some cases, solicitors may have multiple clients. They will need to divide their time among all their existing clients. However, if you are experiencing delays in your conveyancing negotiations, it may be because of this. Solicitors should make sure that they have enough time to allot for each of their clients without neglecting any one of them.

2 - Slow Searches

Many times, authorities will be slow to produce search results. This may cause significant delays to the entire conveyancing process.

3 - Complex Transactions

Conveyancing transactions and negotiations may be delayed because of the complexity of the negotiation process. In many cases, if the situation is not something that normally happens, the solicitors may need more time to be able to figure out the necessary workarounds and solutions before they will be able to negotiate with the other party’s solicitor properly.

4 - If the Buyer Needs a Mortgage

If the buying party will need a mortgage, the speed of the mortgage lender may also play a role with how quickly the conveyancing process will take place. If the mortgage is approved right away, the deal will be able to be finalized more quickly. The opposite will be true if the lender takes longer to approve the mortgage loan of the buyer.

5 - Unresponsive Buyers or Sellers

One key factor that will definitely play a role in determining the speediness of the conveyancing transaction is how responsive the buyer and seller are. Sometimes one (or both) of the parties do not respond right away to an inquiry of the other party. Other times, the process may be prolonged because one of the parties has not yet signed their contract or completed the necessary documents they need to sign and submit.

Question 4: Can I look for a new solicitor?

If you feel that your solicitor is not doing their job as quickly as you expect them to, or if you feel that they are not giving your case the attention it deserves because they have too much on their plate, you may opt to find a new solicitor. Since you are paying them, you should get your money’s worth when it comes to the services you are paying them to do.


If you are in the middle of a real estate transaction, you may be wondering how to speed up the process. One way to hasten the process is to ensure that your solicitor is doing their job. Finding the right solicitor makes up almost half of the equation. Another thing you need to do is look into the fees you need to pay. Using an accurate conveyancing calculator will help you greatly in your real estate negotiations.

If you need help with conveyancing quotes in the London area, you can refer to Conveyancing Calculator! We provide instant online residential conveyancing quotations using our trusted and accurate Conveyancing Fees Calculator. If you are moving home, buying a house, selling a house, or remortgaging a property, then simply use our conveyancing quote calculator and we will provide you with instant prices direct from a UK regulated SRA property solicitor or CLC Licensed Conveyancer. Get the most accurate quotes when you use Conveyancing Calculator today!


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