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From an idealistic standpoint, the home buying process is something that most people expect to pull off without a hitch. Unfortunately, the average experience proves otherwise.

While the basic idea of purchasing a home may seem rather simplistic, its many nuances and common problem points make it difficult. Whether you’re buying a studio apartment or a full-sized mansion, you’re bound to run into tough spots on the way to turning your dreams of homeownership into reality.

From negotiating prices to choosing listings, the process of purchasing a property in the United Kingdom bears difficulties that you should prepare yourself for. One particular aspect of the home buying experience that can be especially agonising to deal with is the conveyancing process.

How Long Does the Conveyancing Process Take?

Before we talk about the mistakes you need to avoid when taking care of the conveyancing portion of your home buying process, we will first go over how long it takes. To give you a better idea of what the standard conveyancing timeline looks like, let’s go over the various phases involved from the beginning to end:

Step 1: Pre-Contract Work (2 weeks)

As soon as the offer on a property is accepted, the conveyancing process begins with pre-contract work. The first thing you’ll need to do is find and appoint a capable conveyancing expert, such as those partnered with Conveyancing Calculator. It’s important to get this task settled as soon as possible so your hired professionals can immediately begin working on your transaction.

Professionals will obtain and review the legal documents needed to carry out the other tasks involved in the pre-contract stage. Such steps entail arranging a survey of a chosen property (for either buyer or seller’s side), which can be done in a day or two or take up to an entire month.

Step 2: Mortgage Offer (4 weeks)

After going through the necessary processes for collecting documentation before a contract can be drafted, the next step is to send in a mortgage offer. This stage involves acquiring a Mortgage Agreement in Principle and turning an accepted negotiation into a definitive mortgage offer.

Step 3: Draft Contract (2 to 10 weeks)

Once a mortgage offer has been accepted, a conveyancing solicitor will guide you to the contract drafting stage by working on a draft contract. This process is absolutely essential because it involves collating all the necessary information from the land registry, seller, and seller’s conveyances to close the sale as smoothly as possible.

Step 4: Exchange of Contracts to Completion (1 to 2 weeks)

This stage comes after your mortgage offer has been accepted or you accepted a buyer’s offer, the necessary searches are complete, and the surveys are finished. At the end of your conveyancing and buying process, both buyer’s and seller’s parties will set a completion date wherein a full payment is sent, and house keys and titles change hands.

What Can Go Wrong during Conveyancing?

When dealing with the conveyancing process, all sorts of problem points can pop up and turn into a bump in your path to homeownership or selling a home. Many aspiring buyers and sellers needlessly delay their transfer processes because they’re unaware of what exactly can go wrong.

To give you a better idea of the issues that may pop up during your purchase process, here’s a quick rundown of what to watch out for:

  • Gazumping

Simply defined as a situation wherein a seller accepts a higher offer on a property, gazumping is any buyer’s nightmare because it undoes months or weeks of hard work. Generally, this particular event can take place in the days, weeks, or months leading up to the moment that contracts are exchanged.

Gazumping is considered improper or rude, but it is still legal because a property transaction is not legally binding until documents change hands. This means that a seller is allowed to accept a higher offer from another buyer, forcing a buying party to:

  • Match the new buyer’s offer

  • Negotiate a price until it gets somewhere between the original deal price and the new offer

  • Drop out of the sale altogether

  • Failing to Instruct Conveyancers Early in the Process

The one mistake that many buyers and sellers make during a conveyancing process is that they fail to instruct their solicitors when offers are accepted.

Generally, having more time between the accepted offer and instructing an assisting party leads to unnecessary delays that extend an already lengthy buying process. By simply informing your solicitor about an acceptance as soon as you get the news, you can move the transaction forward and speed everything up so you can move in or sell ASAP!

  • Issues with Paperwork

One of the most common obstacles that home buyers and sellers experience when purchasing or parting ways with property is paperwork issues.

The main culprit of paperwork issues is incompletion. Even one missing portion of a document can halt the progress being made, leading to more chokepoints down the line. If you don’t want to spend more time organising and taking a few steps backwards in your buying process, it’s best to ensure that you and your solicitor double and triple-check all your documentation at all costs.

  • Issues with the Property

Another hurdle that can be experienced during a property transaction is when another set of issues concerning the house begin to emerge. These problems arise whenever a survey highlights a problem with the property involved in a transaction and will cause extended delays in the conveyancing process.

Whether it’s in the context of missed deadlines, preservation-related barriers, or a failure to meet set safety standards, any kind of issue related to a home can only make the transaction difficult.

Seeing that property issues can’t be ruled out early on, the best way you can approach this problem is to do your best to stay on top of them and get everything in order right away!


The conveyancing process is complicated, and unfortunately, certain issues may arise to make matters even more difficult and time-consuming. By understanding the key points mentioned above and ensuring that you minimise the risk of potential problems that may come about, you’ll be able to get the ball rolling with ease!

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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