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How long does conveyancing take?

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Conveyancing is an essential process when buying or selling property in the United Kingdom. Conveyancing is a necessary step, as it involves the legal transfer of ownership of a property, which means many people are often curious about how long the process takes.

In this blog, we will explore the conveyancing process timeline, including the average conveyancing time, conveyancing timescales, and the various factors that can impact the duration of the process.

Additionally, we will address various frequently asked questions surrounding the process, such as the role of a conveyancer, the duration of conveyancing searches, and how the absence of a property chain affects the conveyancing timeline.

What does a conveyancer do?

A conveyancer is a qualified professional, typically a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, who specialises in property law. Their primary role is to handle the legal aspects of buying or selling property on behalf of their clients. Some of the key responsibilities of a conveyancer include:

  1. Title checks: Conveyancers investigate the legal ownership of the property and ensure there are no outstanding claims or restrictions.
  2. Contracts and documentation: They prepare and review the legal documents, including the sales contract and transfer deed, to ensure accuracy and compliance with legal requirements.
  3. Searches: Conveyancers conduct various searches, such as local authority searches, environmental searches, and water and drainage searches, to gather information about the property and its surroundings.
  4. Liaison: They communicate with the other party's conveyancer, mortgage lenders, and relevant authorities to facilitate a smooth transaction.
  5. Financial transactions: Conveyancers handle the financial aspects of the process, including the transfer of funds between parties, payment of taxes, and disbursement of fees.

By entrusting the conveyancing process to a professional, individuals can ensure that their property transaction adheres to legal regulations and that their interests are protected throughout the process.

How long does the conveyancing process take?

The duration of the conveyancing process can vary depending on several factors. On average, the conveyancing process takes around 8 to 12 weeks to complete in the UK from the issuing of contracts.

However, it is important to note that this estimate can be influenced by various elements, including:

  1. The complexity of the transaction: If the property has complex legal issues, such as leasehold arrangements, shared ownership, or unusual title restrictions, it can prolong the conveyancing process.
  2. Property Type: The type of property being bought or sold can impact the conveyancing timeline. For instance, leasehold properties may involve additional legal complexities, such as reviewing lease terms and obtaining consent from the freeholder, which can extend the process.
  3. Chain length: If the transaction is part of a property chain, where multiple buyers and sellers are involved, the conveyancing process may take longer due to the coordination required between all parties.
  4. Mortgage arrangements: If the buyer requires a mortgage, the conveyancing process may be delayed if there are issues with the mortgage application or if the lender's requirements are not met promptly.
  5. Additional Legal Considerations: Certain legal considerations, such as property boundary disputes, shared ownership agreements, or easements, may require additional legal work and negotiation, thus extending the conveyancing process.
  6. Speed of communication: Timely communication between the conveyancers, clients, and other involved parties is crucial. Delays can occur if there are difficulties in obtaining necessary information or if there are delays in responding to queries.
  7. Gazumping or Gazundering: Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after accepting the initial offer, while gazundering refers to a buyer reducing their offer just before the exchange of contracts. Both scenarios can lead to delays and complications in the conveyancing process.
  8. Search results: Conveyancing searches, such as local authority searches and environmental searches, are conducted to assess any potential issues that may affect the property. The duration of these searches can vary depending on the area, but they usually take around 2 to 3 weeks to complete.

It is important to understand that the conveyancing process involves several stages, and the time required for each stage can vary. Additionally, unforeseen circumstances, such as legal complexities or issues with the property, may arise, which can further prolong the process. Maintaining open lines of communication with your conveyancer and being prepared for potential delays can help manage expectations during the conveyancing process.

How long do conveyancing searches take?

Conveyancing searches are an integral part of the conveyancing process as they provide crucial information about the property and its surroundings. The time taken to complete conveyancing searches can vary depending on various factors, including the location and the type of searches required. Each council has their own timescale but on average, conveyancing searches usually take around 2 to 3 weeks to complete.

The most common types of searches conducted during conveyancing include:

  1. Local Authority Search: This search is carried out with the local council to gather information on planning permissions, building regulations, proposed developments, and any other factors that may affect the property.
  2. Environmental Search: This search assesses the environmental risks associated with the property, including potential contamination, flood risks, ground stability, and radon gas levels. It aims to identify any factors that may impact the property's value or pose health and safety concerns.
  3. Water and Drainage Search: This search provides information about the water and drainage connections for the property, including details about water supply, sewerage connections, and any potential issues or responsibilities related to drainage.
  4. Chancel Repair Liability Search: This search determines whether the property is subject to chancel repair liability, which is an ancient legal obligation to contribute towards the repair of a local church.

The time required for these searches depends on the efficiency of the relevant authorities and the complexity of the information requested. Some searches can be completed relatively quickly, while others may take longer, especially if there are specific local factors to consider.

It's worth noting that additional searches may be necessary based on the property's location and specific circumstances. For example, if the property is in a mining area, a coal mining search may be required to assess the risk of subsidence. Similarly, if the property is located in a conservation area, additional searches may be conducted to determine any restrictions or requirements related to conservation regulations.

To ensure the timely completion of conveyancing searches, it is advisable to instruct your conveyancer to initiate the searches as early as possible in the process. This will allow for any potential delays or issues to be addressed promptly, minimising the impact on the overall conveyancing timeline.

How long does conveyancing take with no chain?

Conveyancing without a property chain can significantly reduce the overall time required to complete the process. A property chain refers to a sequence of buyers and sellers who are dependent on each other's transactions, and any delays or issues within the chain can have a knock-on effect on the conveyancing process.

When there is no chain involved, the conveyancing process can proceed more smoothly and swiftly. The absence of other parties' transactions means there are fewer dependencies and fewer potential delays.

However, it is essential to note that even in a chain-free transaction, the exact time taken can still vary depending on the specific circumstances and factors such as mortgage arrangements and the efficiency of all parties involved.

In general, without a chain, the average conveyancing time could be reduced to around 6 to 8 weeks, or sometimes even less. The process can be expedited as there is no need to wait for other transactions to be finalised, allowing for quicker completion.

Conveyancing without a chain provides more certainty and minimizes the risk of the sale falling through due to complications in other parts of the chain. It allows for greater control and flexibility, making it an attractive option for both buyers and sellers.

In conclusion, the duration of the conveyancing process in the UK can vary based on several factors. On average, it takes around 8 to 12 weeks, but this timeline can be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the transaction, the presence of a property chain, the efficiency of communication, and other individual circumstances.

By understanding the various stages of conveyancing, engaging a professional conveyancer, and staying informed throughout the process, individuals can navigate the process smoothly and achieve a successful property transaction within a reasonable timeframe.

Contact our conveyancing solicitors

At Bird & Co, we are renowned for our exceptional conveyancing services, backed by our team of highly experienced professionals. We take pride in our ability to ensure a seamless process for both sales and purchases, and our clients can trust us to keep them informed of the progress every step of the way.

Our commitment to excellent client service has earned us the prestigious Conveyancing Quality Mark accreditation, granted by the Law Society to residential conveyancing practices that meet the highest industry standards.

You can easily get in touch by giving us a call on 01476 592711, or if you prefer, you can fill out our convenient online quote form.