How Long Does Conveyancing Take & Other FAQs
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Here are some of the questions we get asked on a regular basis:
1. How Long Does Conveyancing Take?
The answer to this question will vary from buyer to buyer but it is always worth asking when you compare solicitors fees. However, the general consensus is that residential conveyancing will normally take between 6 to 12 weeks in a standard purchase/sale. The amount of time can be longer or shorter though, depending on the individual circumstances of the seller or buyer.
It’s difficult for any conveyancer to offer an exact time scale as to how long the transaction will take since many factors can affect the length of the process. The time it takes will also depend on the length of time required by conveyancers to acquire all the correct documents from other conveyancing solicitors.
If you are in a property chain, the conveyancing process will take longer than if you’re not. If another transaction in the chain is experiencing delays, then this will slow down your conveyancing process too.
Other hold ups can be caused by:
- Survey Results – Your property survey could return adverse results which will alter things. It will take extra time to see if you can negotiate a new offer, get further expert advice or pull out of the purchase.
- Mortgage Delay – If everything is in place but you’re still waiting for your mortgage offer to be issued, this can delay the conveyancing process. The same goes for if your mortgage offer has expired. Mortgage offers will usually last between 3 and 6 months.
- Delay In Search Results – Your conveyancer will organise property searches from the relevant authorities. Depending on how busy the local authority is, the searches could take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to be completed.
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2. What Are Searches And Do I Need Them?
The role of property searches is to make sure that homebuyers have all the facts about a property before they buy it and do not find out about serious problems afterwards when it is too late. It is normal practice for us to order searches on your behalf from a variety of sources.
These searches will include information held by your local authority on a variety of matters such as planning applications and road information; environmental search company data on issues such as ground movement, contaminated land and flooding; water company information about mains supplies, pipe work and drains.There may also be specialist searches on coal mining, chancel repair liabilities for the local church roof, a new housing development two miles away that will stretch local infrastructure
In addition there may be restrictions that your mortgage lender will apply in respect of certain issues or risks, and this may cause a problem with the purchase. For example, if a property is in an area that is rated as a high flood risk, it may limit the ability to obtain buildings and contents insurance which is always a condition of lending.
3. How Long Does It Take To Exchange Contracts?
Contracts are exchanged when a Seller and a buyer are about to commit themselves legally to the transaction – “the point of no return”. All searches and enquiries must have been carried out and the mortgage offer received (if applicable) prior to committing yourself to an exchange of contracts.
If you are taking out a mortgage, we will also require your full mortgage offer from your mortgage company before contracts are exchanged. And if you are selling property, we will not exchange contracts unless you authorise us to do so and are able to complete on the completion date. If you are synchronising the sale of your property with another purchase we will only exchange contracts on your sale when you have everything you need on your related purchase (i.e. search results, mortgage offer and replies to all pre-contract enquiries).
4. What Is The Difference Between Leasehold And Freehold Properties?
When you buy a freehold property you also buy the property and the land on which it is built. With a Leasehold property, you own the property for a fixed term, but you do not own the land. You would usually pay an annual ground rent to the Freeholder and at the end of the term, the land reverts back to the Freeholder. Always mention to your conveyancing professional if you are buying a leasehold property when you compare solicitors fees.
5. When Do I Need To Get Building Insurance?
Under most Contracts, the purchaser is liable to insure the building from exchange of Contracts. Therefore, you will need to ensure that the insurance policy can begin immediately upon exchange.
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