Conveyancing usually takes 8-12 weeks to complete; however, this can vary depending on your situation. Delays can occur when both parties are not as responsive or proactive. Delays are also common in cases where the purchase is part of a divorce case or a leasehold property.
Below is a guide to speed up the conveyancing process.
Look for the best providers
In order to sell or buy a property, you will need a conveyancer to carry out the legal work on your side of the transaction. You can read more about what conveyancers do here.
Using the best conveyancers is also essential if you are to see a quick process. Do your research, and you’ll likely be able to find experts who will commit to a timeline, for example, by using search indemnities to make things move faster. Also, if you seek out those who have lower lawyer caseloads, this means that your file will get more attention and, therefore, a greater focus and faster turn-around.
A firm that makes good use of technology is also helpful. If they have streamlined signature processes, made online portals for those who want to track every aspect and introduced more convenient ways of involving customers, then that is an incredibly good sign.
It is essential that you instruct your conveyancer first and give them all of your relevant IDs so that they can carry out any anti-money laundering checks. Conveyancing solicitors can’t begin the process until this step has been completed.
Have your finances ready
Arranging a mortgage is not a short process and can take several weeks. The most logical thing you can do is start the process early.
To ensure that you’re fully prepared, it’s best to decide what type of mortgage you want and have a lender’s agreement in principle about how much they would be willing to lend you before making an offer on your dream home. Estate agents, vendors and sellers will then know you are a committed, genuine buyer and that you are able to move quickly should the sale go through and progress.
You need a formal mortgage offer before the exchange of contracts. Your lender will perform checks on your identity and finances, so be sure to supply them with the necessary information. If they make an offer subject to certain conditions, discuss these with your conveyancer to ensure you can meet them within the quoted time frame.
Identify any issues quickly
A good conveyancer can identify potential problems with a property and will be able to suggest creative ways to improve the situation. Issues with planning permission, for example, can be used as bargaining chips on price if the new owner has to inherit any local planning laws or processes.
It’s always best to tell your conveyancer as much detail as possible, no matter how trivial an issue might be.
When carrying out conveyancing searches, it is the government's target that they are completed in just 10 days. In reality, searches can take much longer than this and can be a big contributor to delays. Check out our guide on conveyancing searches to see all the different searches you may need and how long they take.
Get that survey booked early
This can be a real drag on a house move. Getting a survey carried out is always one of the sticking points, so moving quickly to get one booked is crucial.
Mortgage lenders will nearly always require a property valuation to ensure it provides sufficient security for the loan. They will then instruct their own valuer and will likely charge you a fee.
This valuation is for their benefit, not yours. You should therefore arrange for your own survey or homebuyer’s report to be carried out for your own peace of mind and protection.
It’s also important to seek advice on which type of survey is most appropriate for the property you are buying. A building survey is the most comprehensive report on the state of the property. Despite being the most expensive type of survey, it does not usually include a valuation.
A homebuyer’s report will give you detailed information about the property, but not as much as a full survey, and often includes a valuation.
For those in a hurry, you can seek combined valuation and surveys or condition reports with your lender. A single surveyor can then carry out both at the same time.
Surveyors can also be booked up for several weeks in advance. Booking ahead as soon as you’ve made the decision to buy is always canny.
Should the worst come to the worst, it is advised that you allow the time for any issues or discrepancies that are brought up by the survey to be resolved in your plan.
If you have time, some problems can even be anticipated. With older houses, issues like dampness, subsidence, dry rot or older heating or roofing can often be the survey’s most prominent findings. Having a list of specialists researched before you encounter these problems is also wise.
Communicate with the chain
More often than not, you will likely be in a chain when buying property. Progress may therefore grind along slowly because of issues beyond your control.
Chains arise where one property transaction or move depends upon another. Frustratingly, you can find yourself in a chain even if this is your first home purchase. Your sellers could experience problems with theirs that could impact your arrangement.
Buying chain-free can eliminate this risk substantially, but it’s always wise to check the seller’s status with the agent and ask your conveyancer to confirm this.
Circumstances can, and often will, change, so ensuring you get regular updates from the estate agent and conveyancer is very important.
Talking to your seller and their agent regularly is really important. It’s best to keep track of progress to make sure you can all complete on time.
Responding to any queries quickly, communicating with your conveyancer and nudging people along will help to speed up the process. Take on the responsibility of making sure the process continues to move at a smooth continuous pace rather than relying on other people to progress the transaction. You should find that the process won’t have too many delays if any.
Muve’s industry-leading ‘Fast’ upgrade is another way in which you can help to speed up the conveyancing process. This upgrade guarantees exchange in 5 weeks for a freehold property and 8 weeks for a leasehold, or you get your upgrade fee back for every week over the timeline.