When selling or buying a house, it can be an emotional rollercoaster and here are our tips on how to speed up conveyancing solicitors.
There are several issues to consider – not only will you need to find a buyer for your own home, and sell it at the right price, you will need to begin the legal process to buy the property you want.
However, one of the downsides to this process is that you may go days or weeks without hearing from your solicitor about how things are progressing with your purchase and if there are any issues.
It can be irritating and worrying but there are ways and means of speeding up this process.
One of the big issues for someone buying a property is to move things along quickly so they can move in but also to prevent the prospect of being gazumped which will be heart-breaking if this is the property of your dreams.
Why do solicitors take so long when buying a home?
However, if you want to know why do solicitors take so long when buying a house, then you’ll need to appreciate what the conveyancing process is.
It’s not that straightforward when you consider what’s involved and the process will only begin when your solicitor receives instructions from the home seller once the price has been agreed.
The solicitor will then need:
- Details from the agent
They will need to make contact with the seller’s solicitor.
- Examine the legal contracts
They will check the legal contracts and carry out the relevant searches.
If the property sale is uncomplicated and straightforward, then the completion can take between four and six weeks.
However, it’s always important to keep in touch with your solicitor as well as the buyer and the estate agent.
By doing so, you will be aware of any potential small issues that could potentially derail the entire process.
Communication is key to ensure everything is processed smoothly.
Indeed, it may even help if you are copied into any communications by email from the solicitor to any third parties, particularly when it comes to searches.
How quickly can a house purchase go through?
As mentioned, if you want to know how quickly a house purchase can go through, then the average time is between four and six weeks.
However, you really should factor for the process taking eight weeks and it’s not unusual for the conveyancing to be completed within 12 weeks if there are some ‘niggles’.
Also, you’ll need to appreciate whether you are opting for a valuation report or a full survey, some people call this the homebuyer’s survey.
They are not the same.
It’s important to appreciate that the valuation report is not done to benefit you but the mortgage lender.
The alternative is to have a full survey carried out which will highlight any defects in the property, so you will be reassured that it is a sound purchase.
The full survey will bring peace of mind and if defects are found then you can use this information to negotiate a better price or have the seller carry out the repairs before completing the sale.
Another option for completing the process quickly is to buy a property that has no chain. This essentially means that the seller is not involved in the conveyancing process for buying their own home as they have moved into another property.
How to put pressure on solicitors
If you want to quickly complete the conveyancing process by putting pressure on the conveyancing solicitors when buying a house, then there are ways and means of doing this.
It’s important that you appreciate that conveyancing delays may be down to the process itself being complicated – rather than the solicitor being slow.
For example, there are more than 100 points on a freehold purchase that will need to be checked in a normal purchasing process.
If it is a leasehold then there are more than 200 points the solicitor will need to check and for those who are obtaining a mortgage, then there’s another 100 points that will need to be analysed.
If the process is not being completed quickly, then you’ll need to know whether you’ve opted for a large conveyancing firm because not all conveyancing firms are the same.
These larger firms tend to be cheaper but they’ll be using junior support staff to carry out most of the work and to deal with communications.
Also, some conveyancing solicitors may have too much work to give you the level of service you are expecting.
Again, communicate effectively to see what the hold-up might be and if things are not progressing as quickly as you are hoping, then it’s time to ask the solicitor to focus on your purchase or see whether there’s a complaints procedure in place to hurry things along.
Solicitor holding up house sale
While it may be easy to blame a solicitor for holding up your house sale,
For example, the delay could be with the mortgage lender and their administration department may be very busy.
Your mortgage application goes through several stages and will be checked by various departments before you receive your final offer. Any questions at any point during the mortgage application process will slow down the completion.
Also, the mortgage lender may be slow in arranging for a mortgage valuation to take place which will cause a delay when buying a house.
The surveys take time to schedule and then write up and if you have a full survey there may be problems that need to be dealt with.
Can I contact my buyer’s solicitor?
If you are becoming frustrated with the delays and want to know ‘Can I contact my buyer’s solicitor?’, there’s a very simple answer. And that answer is no. Absolutely not.
You could try but your buyer’s solicitor will not talk to you, since this goes against normal solicitor etiquette. If you want to communicate with a solicitor, then you have to do it through your own and explain why.
If there are problems then speak with your estate agent who may be able to pursue any issues with the buyer’s solicitors.
To help, this is a quick checklist to ensure that you speed up the process for buying your property:
- Sort your finances
Since arranging your mortgage can take weeks, you should start this process early. It may be a good idea to have lender’s agreement in principle so you know how much your potential mortgage might be.
- Book the survey early
The mortgage lender will require a property valuation and will instruct a valuer for this purpose and charge you their fee. However, you should arrange your own valuation or for a full survey to be carried out. Surveyors can be very busy and can be booked up weeks ahead.
- Instruct a solicitor
When an offer is accepted, your estate agent will need your conveyancing solicitor’s details. The conveyancing process will begin straight away and you could use a conveyancing firm on your mortgage lender’s approved panel to save money and time.
- Identify issues
A conveyancer should be able to identify potential title problems early on in the process – and find a way of resolving them.
- Speed up the searches
Depending on the local authority, a solicitor will spend time on conveyancing searches, including planning enforcement which may affect the property. Start this process early and use online search facilities where possible.
Complete their home purchase quickly
For anybody who is looking to complete their home purchase quickly, then you should look for a firm of solicitors that holds the Conveyancing Quality Scheme certificate which is accredited by the Law Society and recognises exceptional conveyancing practice.
There are other accreditations for highlighting excellence which may also help speed up the process because you will be dealing with experienced professionals.
Essentially, when buying a house there are no special ways of speeding up the conveyancing process and whether you complete quickly will be down to several factors working in your favour. But, as mentioned, being prepared will go a long way to completing a home purchase quickly.