Why Do Solicitors Take So Long To Exchange Contracts?

Many people often wonder why it takes so long for solicitors to exchange contracts, whether it is a sale or purchase. Sale and purchases are split in terms of the work that’s needed. Both sales and purchases have pre-exchange and post-exchange work, although it’s worth knowing that these two are not equal in terms of the work put in.

As you’re probably aware, the aspect that takes the longest in terms of time is the exchange of contracts. Once this is done, then a moving date can be set.

Why do solicitors take so long to exchange contracts?

When it comes to buying a property, after an initial contract and supporting papers have been received, then pre-contract searches will be submitted. These searches are Drainage, Local Searches and Enviro and they usually take around 7 days to come back. Solicitors may order further searches, and they can take around 3 weeks longer.

A solicitor is often acting on behalf of you and as well as a lender, so they aren’t able to fully commit to the exchange until these searches have been carried out.

During the Local Search, requests for planning or building regulation consents are often discovered, which haven’t been sent with the initial contract. This needs to be dealt with so that both you and the lender are protected going forward.

When there is a leasehold sale, there will be a number of added enquiries that need to be made, along with a landlord’s pack that should be obtained.

If part of a conveyancing chain, then there are two more delays that you may have to deal with. The first one is the fact that as a series of linked purchases and sales, there may well be many solicitors representing the different people making up a chain – and if one solicitor isn’t able to respond in a timely manner, it delays the whole process.

The second major delay for a conveyancing chain is the arrival of a mortgage offer for buyers. A solicitor has no control over this aspect of the process and has to wait until an offer comes through.

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