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After initial news of NCoV-19 hit the UK’s shores, very few British people expected what was to come in the form of lockdowns, economic restrictions, and a constant crisis brought about by circumstances.

At this point, your daily routine may be completely different from what it was in 2019 because of all the different adjustments that you’ve made due to the COVID-19 related precautions. From the amount of time you can spend outside and where you can go to what has to be done once you get home, living in the pandemic now has most of us adjusting in various ways.

With the call for continuous adjustments forcing you to rework your daily routine and goals over the next months (or year, even), you might already be thinking about what priorities need to be settled. Amid all the different things that are happening in the UK and how much COVID-19 has affected everyday life, the chances are that you’re worried and wondering about one thing in particular: The latest national lockdown’s impact on the conveyancing process.

The general impact of the pandemic on the home buying process

Currently, the British real estate market is at a slowdown as a result of the various restrictions that government officials have placed to mitigate the various risks associated with the pandemic.

As case numbers rise, authorities continue to face many different difficulties in making way for home buying and selling activities because of the inherent slowdowns involved. With many transactions being significantly delayed by various kinks along the way, it’s clear that most—if not all—buying and selling efforts are bound to face a standstill or hang in the balance.

While the Coronavirus will affect any industry without prejudice, the real estate industry has seen the most significant amount of difficulty because of how much its processes depend on in-person interactions. Considering that the physical workforce is restricted and not all documents involved in processing transactions are accessible online, it’s clear that slowdowns are expected to persist until lockdowns cease.

Will the latest national lockdown affect your real estate transaction?

Definitely––with estate agents, surveyors, mortgage lenders, solicitors, and other pertinent professionals forced to find new ways to work from home, it’s best to expect that your current home transaction is bound to experience difficulties. As a result of the national lockdown and the associated hurdles that it has imposed on the real estate industry, here are some of the main challenges you should expect to face:

  • Extended waiting times for documents processing

  • Delayed inspections due to lockdown restrictions and forced closures

  • Lower available workforce for relevant firms involved in the real estate transaction process

While all of these different problems come in different forms, most of them end up significantly hampering conveyancing transactions the most. Unfortunately, the pool of expected problems isn’t going to let up anytime soon as authorities and governing bodies seek to put together solutions so that operations can get back up to speed once more.

If you agreed to buy a property recently, will you be able to complete the purchase before the Stamp Duty Thresholds change?

For anyone who intended to capitalise on lower market prices by buying a home recently, one of the biggest concerns that come to mind is whether or not process slowdowns will end up incurring a stamp duty thresholds change. Given the current state of the market and the government’s various efforts to remedy slowdowns in the real estate transaction and conveyancing processes, it is still too soon to get a definitive answer.

Ever since the Chancellor announced an increase in the threshold at which point stamp duty became payable last July 2020, the increase of home buyers significantly surged. With the premise of saving as much as £15,000 on a transaction, many have aimed to get their affairs in order and expedite their purchases.

With average transaction times being stretched to anywhere from 18 to 20 weeks, purchases initiated within (January 2021 up to this point) the year may likely not be completed yet. Given the nature of these extensions and their impact on the processing times that businesses are expected to face, it’s best to expect that you may not have been able to complete your purchase before the change. If you initiated your transaction during October 2020 (at the latest), then the chances are that you may be able to enjoy the stamp duty threshold.

What happens if your real estate purchase isn’t completed before stamp duty returns to pre-Coronavirus rates?

Based on current legislation, it is best to assume that expected savings won’t accompany any purchase that wasn’t completed before a stamp duty thresholds change on March 31. However, experts and solicitors alike expect the government to establish an extension for threshold validity to compensate for such slowdowns in processing times.

Currently, the conveyancing industry is lobbying the government to extend the recently-concluded stamp duty holiday because of the aforementioned delays, which are expected to persist. Yet, it is still best to consult with your conveyancer about possible routes that you can take to still maintain an advantageous position in your transaction!

To learn more about why else your conveyancing process may have been delayed, feel free to refer to our “Conveyancing FAQs: Why Does the Process Take So Long?” guide to brush up on the necessary know-how!

“Now that the process has been slowed down, is there anything you can do to speed up the process?”

While the recent slowdowns in conveyancing processes pose a significant difficulty for anyone looking to buy or sell real estate in the UK, it is still very much possible to speed up the process. If you want to get the transaction as done as quickly as possible, here are a few key pointers that will help you cut down your processing time considerably:

1. Suggest using a longstop completion date

One of the most effective ways to speed up the conveyancing process when you collaborate with your conveyancer or solicitors is to suggest a completion date.

While it may work on a case-by-case basis, going for such an arrangement can be especially helpful because it suggests they can revoke their legal ties to a transaction if the process isn’t completed by a certain date. Opting for a longstop completion date means that you can shift to a faster processing experience at will in case you find yourself stuck in a particularly long transaction!

2. Opt to use a simultaneous exchange and completion

With a simultaneous exchange and completion, you can speed up your conveyancing process well enough to significantly minimise the risk of experiencing a failed completion. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic and its constant effects on processing times, Conveyancing Calculator’s experts recommend using this method because it helps move the process better!


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly affect the UK’s real estate industry, it’s important to be more mindful of its effects on the conveyancing process. Through this guide’s help, you’ll be able to help ensure that you end up circumventing any potential delays that will come up during the experience of buying or selling your home!

Are you looking to streamline your home buying or selling process without taking any unnecessary risks along the way? Check out our conveyancing fees calculator today to get the best and most accurate results from our team of fully regulated and trained professionals!


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