Buying a house can be a particularly complicated and time-consuming process, especially for first-time buyers. While there’s the excitement of owning a new home, conveyancing can sometimes suck all that excitement out because of how long the process takes to complete. Many reliable conveyancing solicitors in London are quite professional and would do anything to speed up the process.
But did you know you can actually influence just how long the conveyancing process takes by making some adjustments yourself? If you want to close the deal as soon as possible, you must first understand what makes it a long process in the first place.
Why Does Conveyancing Take So Long?
There really is no simple explanation for this. Every time a conveyancing transaction occurs, there are always unique circumstances surrounding it, ultimately influencing the time it takes to complete the transaction.
In a property selling situation, the process of conveyancing begins with a conveyancing lawyer or solicitor being instructed to represent either a seller or a purchaser once an offer has been accepted. If the transaction was agreed upon through an estate agent, a memorandum of the sale would then be issued. This memorandum outlines either party’s solicitors details together with the sale or purchase price on the back. Your solicitor will contact the other, commission the appropriate searches, and complete the title discovery stage. Ideally, a standard property transaction such as this can be completed in a few weeks.
From then on, frequent communication between both parties will take place. The back and forth of communication between you and your solicitor and also between your solicitor and the other party’s solicitor is mostly why the process takes too long. The speed at which the transaction completes depends entirely on how quickly the response is from everyone involved. This means, if any of the parties involved decide to drag their heels, the entire transaction will be put at a standstill. No matter how good your conveyancing solicitor is, the transaction is still bound to slow down unless everyone is pretty much proactive in responding. Other factors that could potentially slow down conveyancing are:
Adverse Survey Results - Getting adverse results on your property survey can bring the case down to a halt. It’ll take more time to see if you can negotiate your offer, get further expert advice, or even pull out of the deal.
Mortgage Offer Delay - If everything else is in place and you’re still waiting for your mortgage offer to be issued, this could potentially delay the conveyancing process. If your mortgage offer has expired, that could also cause some delay. Mortgage offers last between three to six months, so make sure your conveyancing fits within those time frames.
Delayed Conveyancing Search Results - Conveyancing solicitors typically order property searches from the relevant authorities. Depending on the local authority’s response time and how well-staffed they are, the searches could take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to be completed.
What’s the Most Time-Consuming Part of Conveyancing?
The pre-exchange stage of any conveyancing transaction takes up most of the time in the process. There are already quite a number of people involved in the transaction, and a pre-exchange inspection requires the involvement of third parties. If you’re the buyer, you need to coordinate with your mortgage lender or wait for your property search results from the local authorities. If you’re the seller, you could be waiting for title documents or duplicate documents.
During this stage, it’s best to be in the loop at all times. Ask both your solicitor and your mortgage broker to copy you into all correspondence. This keeps you updated on how the transaction is proceeding, and you’ll be able to keep tabs on everything. If any problems arise, you can address them immediately.
What are the Standard Conveyancing Time Frames?
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority has strict implementations for conveyancing solicitors in London to inform their clients of the estimated time it’ll take to complete the purchase. The time frames range depending on the type of transaction. Freehold properties take from eight to ten weeks, while leasehold properties usually take longer due to their complexities. Depending on your situation, your case can take anywhere from eight to 12 weeks.
How Can You Speed Up Conveyancing When Buying a House?
Even when both the seller and buyer are keen to exchange quickly, things can grind to a halt, especially when complications arise. Despite the process taking so long, there are steps you can take on your end to speed it up, even for just a bit.
Understand the Chain
The so-called “chain” is practically made up of all the people involved in the entire conveyancing process: the seller, the buyer, and the conveyancing solicitors for both parties. However, various third parties may get involved at different stages, like mortgage brokers or local authorities performing the search, making the chain longer and more complex. The more people involved, the slower the transaction. It pays to understand the chain you’re in and all the players involved to give you an idea of just how long it will take to complete the transaction.
Organise Your Mortgage
Cash buyers can compete faster than anyone getting a mortgage because of the logistics of the mortgage application process. There are also additional legal requirements of the mortgage lender that could still be potentially onerous.
For buyers, a mortgage application process could take anywhere from three to six weeks, so make sure you start the process as soon as possible. If you’ve already got your mortgage in principle, you can maximise your time by booking your lender’s valuation straight after you’ve had your offer on a property accepted. The sooner you can get your mortgage offer, the more quickly your solicitor can act.
Make Sure the Seller is Ready to Go
All conveyancing transactions pretty much follow the same path. As the buyer, the legal work starts only once the seller has returned their property forms, and their solicitor has issued the contracts. Make sure you keep in touch with the seller, so you are updated on the progress of the paperwork. Proper and constant communication is key if you want to make good progress with the seller.
Prioritise Key Stages in the Process
It pays to have a checklist when going through the process of conveyancing so you can keep track of everything. However, if you want to speed up the process, you may have to forgo the comfort of ticking stages off one by one and instead start the ball rolling on all key stages, such as:
Instructing your solicitor
Ordering your mortgage valuation
Ordering your property searches
Ordering your building survey
Selling or purchasing a new property comes with its highs and lows, and that includes conveyancing. The slow and laborious conveyancing process has frustrated many. Still, it is a crucial step to the property buying process as it would ensure you are getting exactly what you paid for. This guide should help you better understand the process and how it can be influenced to move at a faster pace for your benefit.
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