Ultimately, this is dependent on a number of factors. However, if you would like a quick guide to an average time frame – it can be anywhere from 4-6 weeks at the quicker end but up to 12-16 weeks in some cases.
That is, of course, a rough guide based on experience, it can be swifter or indeed slower. With quite a few people, maybe a chain of buyers/sellers and various companies involved, a relatively large portion of control is out of your hands, this makes it all the more important to employ the right people from the outset.
We understand how keen you will be to purchase, or eager you will be to sell, so here is an overview of some of the people and processes that will influence the overall conveyancing process. Whether buying or selling the starting gun is fired once an offer has been accepted so let’s see what to expect and how you can potentially speed things up:
Initial instruction and draft contract preparation
You will need to formally instruct your property solicitor; they will provide terms of engagement and may ask for monies on account to handle your disbursement costs which we will highlight later. It will be the seller’s solicitor that will produce the draft contract and issue this to the conveyancer acting for the buyer, generally, once the purchaser’s solicitor has confirmed they are instructed to act, they may also require the property title. Standard information forms, property information, and fixtures/fittings documents will be issued to you also.
A good tip here is to ensure all parties are introduced, generally via a memorandum of sale written by the seller’s estate agent. Push communication via all channels to make sure a quick start is secured, and no delays occur by people not picking up the phone!
Initial Enquiries, Searches, Survey & Mortgage Offer
This mid-portion of the transaction brings a range of people together; mortgage brokers, surveyors, estate agents, and even the local authority.
Your solicitor will be investigating the title, raising or answering questions from the other conveyancer and also requesting what is known as searches (legally required for a mortgage) from the local council. This will cover subjects such as drainage, flood risks, chancel repairs and even whether a motorway is planned to build a few feet from your new patio area. There will be other points that can arise here and this forms part of those initial enquiries and conversations that can happen, this portion typically will take the longest to get through. A good conveyancing solicitor will be quick to sort all of this, make sure what needs to happen does so and update you as to what is happening.
If you are buying or selling a leasehold property, this will likely involve a managing agent to provide documents and a pack that covers important information relating to the overall ownership of the building, any charges and the remaining length of the lease.
A top tip here is to get all of the documents requested across to your mortgage advisor very quickly indeed, sometimes as soon as your broker has a decision in principle. Even before you instruct your solicitor in some cases or at the very least, simultaneously. This will help get the survey instructed at the earliest opportunity if you are the buyer, getting over the mortgage hurdle can be the biggest task. Your mortgage solicitor will require a copy of your mortgage offer prior to exchanging contracts.
Reporting to the client, signing and exchanging contracts
If, as we expect and hope, all of the above pans out smoothly and in a timely fashion, your solicitor will complete a final check and report to you all of their findings, raise any concerns if there are any and ensure all is in place even down to buildings insurance (another legal requirement).
If the conveyancing solicitor and more importantly you are happy with everything you read, you will need to transfer your deposit as the buyer, typically 5% of the purchase price as a minimum and sign and return your contract.
You will, of course, need to agree a completion date, the day you move in or out of the home, many people, property solicitors and mortgage lenders will want at least five days between exchanging contracts and handing over or receiving keys at completion.
Be aware that exchanging contracts binds all parties legally and any cancellation after this time can incur financial penalties.
A tip for buyers and sellers here is organisation. Ensure you have removal companies in place and a moving date agreed in advance so as not to cause delays.
Post exchange – Pre-completion
Now is the time to breathe a sigh of relief and officially get excited about moving!
The conveyancing process is not quite complete, and your property solicitor still has more to do, this will involve lodging the application with the land registry, preparing financial statements and requesting mortgage funds.
Remain organised here and quick to communicate, your estate agent should make sure keys are ready for you to collect or hand over.
Completion and final points of note
You will generally receive a call from your property solicitor between 10 am to 2 pm, funds should have been transferred and received and you can get moving in – hopefully, as the seller, you have moved out or are very close to when this call comes in.
Your conveyancer will now need to pay stamp duty if you are buying, ensure you receive all legal documents, send title deeds to the mortgage lender or pay off the loan as the seller.
We hope this provides a clear overview of the majority of what is required and the efforts needed to ensure everything runs smoothly for you, the overall tip here is to make sure you use of the trusted, prompt and efficient solicitors recommended by Your Conveyancing Solution. We wish you all the very best.