Skip to main content

Why does it take so long to complete a property purchase?

By June 26, 2017February 18th, 2021Conveyancing

The process of buying a property generally takes weeks and not days because there will almost always be a variety of different variables and details involved that need to be carefully addressed by solicitors.

For anyone buying a new property all this can be frustrating but solicitors have an obligation to ensure that all the relevant transactions involved are handled properly and in a way that doesn’t lead to legal headaches for their clients further down the line.

The process of buying a house, the legal side of which is called conveyancing, typically takes between 6 and 8 weeks in the UK. But for anyone eager for the process to complete it may well seem like a whole lot longer.

So, why does conveyancing take so long? Here’s our look at some of the potential reasons why a property purchase may be delayed.

Sellers delaying surveys

Any offer of a mortgage deal given to a potential buyer of a property is contingent on the valuation of the property. Sometimes the process of carrying out this survey is delayed by the selling party and that can put the whole transaction on hold.

In many cases, a buyer will wish to have the property they’re intending to buy surveyed thoroughly via a full-scale building survey so that they can be more confident of knowing exactly what they’re buying. This process doesn’t usually take long but if the seller doesn’t make the necessary arrangements quickly enough then this can delay the progress of whatever deal is in the offing.

Long chains can leave everyone waiting

In a situation whereby a chain of residential property transactions develops and they become effectively interlocking, suddenly there is potential for even the smallest of hold ups anywhere in the chain to significantly hinder the progress of every other deal in the chain. One can only go as fast as the slowest party in the chain.

Your seller’s solicitor could be slow to reply

Conveyancing generally involves two sets of solicitors communicating with one another about the details of a potential deal. Usually solicitors acting on behalf of a buyer will contact the solicitors representing the relevant seller to make a variety of enquiries. Response times in these scenarios vary and delays are not uncommon.

Third party documents can take time to retrieve

There can be various reasons why your solicitor, if you’re intending to buy a particular property, will need to track down relevant legal documents from third parties before they can proceed any further on your behalf. This might be in relation to planning permissions, for example, or because the property involved is leasehold and information is required of the freeholder. All this can take time, increase costs and hold up the process of completing a purchase.

All which means that when you ask your conveyancing solicitor how long your property buying process might take – the truth is that they won’t really know until they tackle all the issues involved and overcome whatever potential hold ups they find along the way.

One thing we can assure you is that all the conveyancing staff at Glaisyers are committed to completing matters as speedily and efficiently as possible.

Tom Simpson

Author Tom Simpson

More posts by Tom Simpson