How Long After Searches To Exchange And Completion?

Written by Millie Archer

I love all things property and have a real eye for detail. I’m always reading up on property news, whether it be renting a first property or buying a mansion.

Explaining how long after searches to exchange and completion, what searches are and how to speed up the time between searches and exchange...


When it comes to moving house, there are a lot of things that are out of your control, with the length of time taken being the biggest factor.

If you’re wanting to sell your house fast, you will want to know the length of time it’ll take for the various aspects to take place and how that impacts the overall selling time.

How long after searches to exchange? And to completion? What are the searches which will be done on your property?

We’ve got the answers to all these questions and more, including what you can do to speed up the process from your house undergoing searches and exchange and completion...

Use this menu to help you find answers ASAP:

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What are pre-contract enquiries?

Pre-contract enquiries take place between your house going ‘Sold STC’ and the exchange of contracts. The enquiries are raised by your buyer’s conveyancer, and they will have to receive answers they’re happy with in order for the sale to proceed.

The pre-contract enquiries are the start of the conveyancing process, and the enquiries tend to relate to the title, rights and obligations over the property and/or the underlying land.

General queries you will see raised at this stage will relate to:

  • Boundary checks
  • Allocated parking spaces
  • Land restrictions
  • Any issues that have been flagged up on the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)
  • Terms and costs of the leasehold (if applicable)
  • Shared utility supply (gas, water, electric)
  • Building regulations and certificates (electric, windows, gas, etc)
  • Any constraints on altering the building, for example, if it’s a listed building
  • Any relevant planning permission
  • Any non-standard elements involved (such as if it’s a probate sale)


Conveyancers will likely be very thorough with these enquiries, as once they’re satisfied with the results, the sale can progress towards exchange of contracts, where the deal will become legally binding.

What are conveyancing searches?

Conveyancing searches are carried out by the buyer’s solicitor to make sure there’s nothing majorly wrong with the property before you all put pen to paper and exchange contracts.

The main searches which are carried out in conveyancing searches are:

  • Local authority search – looks for planning, pollution and building control issues. There are two different types of Local Authority search, with one being a generic council search and the other being done by a company that is registered with the Property Codes Compliance Board, with the second option covered by insurance, meaning there’s more reassurance. The search will also be conducted in two parts – LLC1 and CON29
  • Environmental search – this search looks at whether the property has been built on or near contaminated land, waste, or landfill site. This search also does a basic search for any landslip or subsidence issues and for potential flooding issues. This will be a basic check, however, and for a proper flood risk check, you will need…
  • Flood risk search – this search looks for the risk of flooding (as you may have guessed). This search is most essential if you’re buying a property near water, as these are naturally more at risk and are therefore harder to insure
  • Drainage and water search – this search looks to find out where all the drainage systems are around the property and whether there’s a future risk of those affecting the property. This will be a useful search if you’re wanting to build an extension, as it provides you with more information about where all the drains run
  • Land registry search – this search checks whether you, the seller, are the legitimate owner of the property and if any bankruptcy has taken place. The title plan and title register searches can also be included in this section as the documents are purchased through the Land Registry website. The title register has details about who owns the property and the land and how it has been paid for. The title plan is a map that will show the location and boundaries of the property
  • Coal and general mining search – these look for old tunnels which have been used for coal, brine, or salt mining in the past. The old tunnels can put the property at risk of subsidence (which is sudden or gradual sinking of the ground surface)
  • Chancel repair search – this search checks a property’s responsibility for the cost of repairs of the local parish church. This could be something that isn’t mentioned in the title and so if you’re concerned, this search is something worth doing
  • High-speed rail search – this search checks whether a property is affected by the planned new high-speed railway, HS2


After the conveyancing searches have been done, there will be a delay between the conveyancer getting the results back and being able to make a report, which will allow the sale to progress towards exchange.

This means you may have to wait around to several weeks, or longer, until you hear back about the result of the searches.

Want a sale with no delays between searches and exchange?

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How long after searches to exchange?

How long after searches to exchange will depend upon the length of time taken for the searches results to come back and what the results actually show.

If there are issues that arise, then it will take a longer time to get to exchange, as these problems will need to be resolved before all parties are happy to move forward.

The conveyancer will create a report for their client to read, highlighting any potential problems, which could be used in the renegotiation of the price, if necessary.

Exchange of contracts can be moved towards once the buyer and their house repayments lender are happy with the outcome of the searches.

Generally, it takes 3 to 6 weeks for the searches to be returned to the conveyancer and then it can take a few weeks for the conveyancer to create the report.

Overall, you can generally expect it to take between 6-8 weeks from the start of searches to exchange of contracts.

How long do searches take?

The length of time taken for searches will differ depending on location, size of house and land, condition of the property, etc. But as a general guide, use the table below:

 Type of search  Amount of time taken
 Local Authority  Can take up to several months
 Drainage and water  1 to 10 days
 Environmental  1 to 10 days
 Flood risk  1 to 10 days
 Coal and general mining  1 to 10 days
 Chancel repair  1 to 10 days
 Land registry  1 to 10 days

Statistics from The Advisory

As high-speed rail search is a fairly new search there’s not a lot of data on how long it takes, but it’s believed to not take any longer than 10 days.

How long after searches to completion?

As we previously mentioned, it will take around 6 to 8 weeks from searches to exchange, which will then mean there’s another 2 to 4 weeks from exchange to completion.

This will mean, unless you have a delayed completion, it should take between 8 to 12 weeks from searches to completion.

Want a fast sale with no delays?

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Can I speed up the time between searches and exchange?

Yes, the best way to make sure there’s a fast timescale between searches and exchange is to find a buyer who can purchase your property without house repayments and doesn’t tend to be too bothered about the results of the searches – in other words, a cash buyer.

A cash buyer doesn’t have to sell a house in order to buy yours, meaning you won’t need to worry about their searches possibly delaying the process between the searches and exchange.

Generally speaking, a cash buyer will purchase your property at a slight discount, and they don’t tend to get many, or sometimes any, searches on the property.

This factor, combined with the fact they don’t need house repayments, means there’s less paperwork when selling to a cash buyer, meaning the process is a lot quicker.

This means, with a cash buyer you can expect to exchange within a few weeks, meaning the answer to ‘how long after searches to exchange’ is NOT VERY LONG!

But whilst this is all well and good, where can you find a cash buyer? They’re pretty hard to come by, aren’t they? After all, surely not many people are able to buy a house upfront in cash.

That’s not entirely true…

Whilst on the open market a cash buyer may be hard to find, you do have an alternative where you can find your cash buyer instantly.

Sell to us!

Here at The Property Buying Company, we’re a cash buyer of houses, buying any property in any condition – so don’t be worried about what might come up on your searches.

We can also complete in a fast timescale of your choice, so there’s no need to worry about how long after searches to exchange or completion because how long it takes is up to you! A week, a month – there’s no wrong answer.

On top of this, we will also cover the costs of all fees, even the legal ones, meaning the offer we give you is the amount you will get in FULL in cash in your bank!

Give us a call or fill in our online form today for a free no-obligation cash offer, which we could have in your bank by next week…

Don't want to worry about delays between searches and exchange?

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