Buying or selling your home can be a difficult and stressful experience at the best of times, without having to factor delays into the equation. Whilst delays are seen as an inevitable part of the selling process, there are steps you can take to ensure your sale goes as smoothly as possible.

In this blog post, we will be looking at what causes delays in a property transaction,  which part of the housing process takes the longest, and how we can help you avoid the delays!

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Why are property transactions taking so long?

When it comes to the conveyancing process, there are a wide range of different factors at play, however, it is most commonly the result of slow communication between buyers, sellers, and conveyancers.

However, other reasons why there may be delays in your property transaction include:

  • Issues with the buyers' mortgage application

  • The seller may forget to include vital information

  • Probate

  • The survey revealing previously unknown issues with the property

  • Delayed property searches

  • Property title problems

  • Delayed properties searches

Which part of buying a house takes the longest?

When it comes to selling your property and buying a new one, conveyancing is the stage that will take the longest. According to Slothmove, on average the conveyancing process can take around 12 - 16 weeks, although it can be done in as little as one month depending on your conveyancer. This is because the conveyancing process involves a lot of back and forth between the conveyancer and their client, as well as the seller or buyers conveyancer and the estate agent which can often lead to delayed responses and a slower sale.

What is the quickest conveyancing can be done?

How fast conveyancing can be done depends upon the type of property you have. A property that is leasehold will take longer to conveyance than a freehold property, as there are more legal steps you will have to go through. Depending on the solicitor, a freehold property can complete the conveyancing process in as little as 8 weeks, but as a rule of thumb, 12-16 weeks is a more realistic number when it comes to conveyancing on the open market.

What causes delays in conveyancing?

There are many reasons why there may be a delay in the conveyancing of your property. Below we take a look at some of the more common reasons why you may find your house-selling process is being delayed:

The wrong information is given on your mortgage application

Providing incorrect information on your mortgage application is one sure-fire way to cause delays in the conveyancing process. By providing the wrong information, you will need a new mortgage application and a new product from your lender, which can add precious time to the selling process and delay things even further.

Common mistakes that are made are:

  • Misstating income

  • National Insurance Number

  • Financial background

  • References

Delays in providing the correct documentation

Another delay in the conveyancing process can come from not returning papers, ID, or transferring funds on time. All of these can add time to the conveyancing process as work cannot be started without them. This spells bad news for other people in the property chain as this can not only delay your sale but other people's as well.

Lack of planning permission

When a conveyancer is acting on behalf of the lender, they will need to ensure that they have all of the necessary planning permissions and building regulation approvals. Even if the lender is not involved, the correct permissions will still need to be obtained as the purchaser has a duty to ensure that the previous charges have been carried out correctly.

Surveys and mortgage applications

How quickly the survey can be done falls into the hands of the surveyor and the seller. The sooner that the seller grants access to the property in order for the survey or be performed, the quicker it can be performed. By not granting permission at the earliest possible stage, you risk delaying your sale.

Waiting to obtain leasehold packs

If the property that you are buying or selling is a leasehold, then you will need to either request or provide the complete information about the management of the freehold block where the leasehold is situated. If you are a seller, this information is often kept by the managing agents who are there to act on behalf of the freeholder. Managing agents can often take their time when it comes to providing this information, due to the sheer amount of information necessary, so you can expect delays.

Delays in responses from others in the chain

When you are selling in a property chain, your sale will only progress as fast as the slowest person in the chain. This means that if they are delayed, they will delay the sale ahead of them, and so on and so forth.

Loss of title deeds

Title deeds are an important part of the house buying and selling process as they prove not only who has ownership of a property, but also the chain of ownership for that property. The Land Registry's records are now digital, so they no longer have paper copies. This means that if your property is not on the register and you don't have the deeds, you will need to apply for first registration, which can take time and delays the process.

Sellers not replying to buyers in time

Whilst dealing with enquiry after enquiry can quickly become time-consuming, it is important to make sure that any answer that you provide is correct as providing incorrect answers, or inadequate responses will only lead to more enquiries and frustration for both parties involved.

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Mortgage offer applications expiration

Once you have your mortgage offer, you are likely to be over the moon, however, it is worth keeping an eye on the expiry date. If you don't, you may find yourself reaching the point of exchange and having to apply for a new mortgage, which will add time and stress to the process.

Not declaring gift deposits or sources of funds

Declaring where you got the funds for your deposit is an important part of the house-buying journey and failure to disclose the source of the funds, or that your deposit was a gift can add time to the process. If your deposit was a gift, you will likely need a signature from the source to confirm that the sum does not need to be repaid. Your mortgage provider will also need to follow the paper trail of your funds so that they may rule our money laundering.

Waiting for responses from others in the chain

Any responses or legal documents from other people in the property chain must be sent through the conveyancer as buyers cannot rely on third-party disclosure. This can lead to further delays if the conveyancer is busy or the seller does not respond fast enough.

Transferring Funds

Another delay that can crop up in the conveyancing process is the transfer of funds. Your solicitor will be the one who is responsible for collecting the funds and transferring them. However, most banks will not allow the transferring of sums over £10,000 without the use of CHAPS, but this comes with a charge. In order to avoid this charge, people will often decide to transfer the money over a series of days or will write a cheque however these methods have been known to slow the process down.

Local authority searches

Local authority searches are searches that are made by solicitors during the conveyancing process. They are there to determine the details over who is responsible for the roads and sewers around the property as well as who is the water supplier and any works that may be in the pipeline around the property. Local authority search results can be provided in as little time as 2 days or in as long as 8 weeks.

Other people in the property chain are away

You will also need to factor in holidays when it comes to delays in the conveyancing process. Summer holidays and Christmas are often prime times for people to head off on holiday, which is you are selling a property can add time to the sale. Conveyancers may also be closed over Christmas and other holidays so it is important to factor in these delays when selling.

People pulling out of the property chain

If you are in a property chain, the last thing you want to happen is to have another buyer pull out. It can cause the entire chin to collapse and jeopardise everyone's sales.

How can I avoid delays in my property transaction?

Every house sale is different and unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer when it co to speeding long a house sale, however, there are general steps you can take that will give you the best chance at a fast smooth sale:

Check on the seller - Checking on the seller is a great way to keep the sale moving along. By knowing at what stage they are at, you are able to plan around them and be better prepared for the final stages of the sale.

Respond quickly - Whilst it is important to check with the other parties involved in the sale, it is equally important to make sure that you are responding when you should be and are doing your bit to keep the sale progressing smoothly.

Keep in touch - It is important that you are checking in with both your conveyancer and your estate agent so that you know your timeline and are able to apply pressure where necessary.

Act quickly - If you are seeking a quick sale then it is important to understand that time is not in your favour, so it is important to act fast in order to secure your fast sale. Make sure to instruct your solicitor as soon as you can, fill in forms, and return them as soon as you get them, and be sure not to drop the ball on your end.

Mortgage- In order to speed up the process, it is a good idea to get a secure mortgage offer in place as soon as you can.

Sell to a cash buyer- Selling to a cash buyer is a good way to help avoid delays in your property transaction. When you sell through a cash buyer, you can say goodbye to the stress that house selling brings and say hello to a cash price straight into your bank account.

Want to avoid delays?

How we can help

Looking to avoid delays in your property transaction? Then look no further! Here at The Property Buying company, we offer a fast, hassle-free sale without the delays that conveyancing can bring. As a sell-house fast company, we can sell your property in as little as 7 days, however, we can appreciate that not everyone may want to sell within the week. That's why we work to a time scale that suits you, buying your property in as little as 7 weeks or as long as 3 months.

We are also proud members of the National Association of Property Buyers and The Property Ombudsman and are rated as excellent on Trustpilot with over 1000 reviews.

We only require one quick viewing to make sure that our cash offer is correct, and once you have accepted our offer, that is the amount that you will receive in FULL in your bank.

With over 50 years of combined experience, we will buy any house, in any location, taking all the stress out of house sales. Plus, we cover all fees for you - even the legal ones!

Put off by delays in your property transaction? Then give us a call today or fill in our online valuation form to receive a no-obligation CASH offer, which we could have in your bank in as little as 7 days...

Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a Content Producer who enjoys writing articles, finding out about the property market, keeping you up to date with the latest trends.