How long does the conveyancing process take?

Calendar showing planned home moving day

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer. The process usually takes between 8 and 14 weeks, although there are often major delays.

Why does conveyancing take so long, and is there anything can you can do to speed it up?

How long does conveyancing take?

It takes between 8 and 14 weeks to complete the average conveyancing transaction, although various factors can affect the timeline between an offer being accepted and completion.

The transaction being part of a property chain and whether the buyer is getting a mortgage are the most significant overall factors affecting the conveyancing timeline:

Buyer position Average time between offer to exchange of contracts*
Cash buyer - no chain 4 - 8 weeks
Cash buyer - chain 10 - 12 weeks
Buyer getting a mortgage - no chain 4 - 10 weeks
Buyer getting a mortgage - chain 10 - 12 weeks

*Although completion usually occurs between 7 and 21 days after exchange of contracts, they can sometimes occur on the same day.

Key steps when selling a property

Once you have instructed a conveyancing solicitor, you will receive a set of property forms including the TA6 Property Information Form, the TA10 Fittings and Contents Form, and the TA7 Leasehold Information Form (if you are selling a flat).

Together with a draft contract of sale and a copy of the property title deeds, these property forms are sent to the buyer's solicitor soon after you accept an offer.

If you are selling a leasehold property, your solicitor should immediately apply to the freeholder or managing agent for the leasehold management information pack. This pack will also be forwarded to the buyer's solicitor.

Once these documents have been reviewed, the buyer’s solicitor will raise further enquiries about the property and how you have used it. Your solicitor will liaise with you on how best to address and answer these questions.

Your solicitor will then handle any further contractual negotiations, liaise with your mortgage lender (if applicable), exchange contracts and complete the sale.

Which steps take the longest when selling a property?

Step Average time from offer accepted

Getting the draft contract out

Before your solicitor can send the draft contract to the buyer's solicitor, you must instruct a solicitor, complete the property forms and locate numerous documents.

Instructing a solicitor before an offer is accepted can significantly speed up your move and reduce stress in the process. Many of these initial legal steps can be completed in advance, potentially shaving weeks off the conveyancing process.

2 weeks (from acceptance of offer)

Obtaining leasehold management information (leasehold)

If you are selling a flat, your solicitor will need to obtain the leasehold management information pack from the managing agent or freeholder. This is a common cause of delay, as some managing agents take weeks or even months to respond.

It is critical that this information is requested as early on as possible - ideally as soon as you put your home on the market.

2 - 6 weeks

Read more:

When is the best point to instruct a conveyancing solicitor?

What documents do I need when selling my home?

What must I disclose when selling my property?

Key steps when buying a property

When acting for a buyer, a solicitor will carry out due diligence into the property and report back to you, the buyer.

Key steps include:

  • reviewing the draft contract, property forms and other information supplied by the seller
  • raising detailed enquiries about the property
  • carrying out property searches
  • Completing the legal work for your mortgage lender
  • preparing a report on the title of the property
  • handling all financial aspects of the transaction
  • the registration of the new owner property at HM Land Registry

Which steps take the longest when buying a property?

Step Average time from offer accepted

Mortgage approval

Depending on how busy your lender is, the mortgage approval process can lead to delays. Asking your lender for a Decision in Principle (DIP) and checking your solicitor can act for your lender before you instruct can help avoid these delays.

2 - 6 weeks

Property survey

Survey lead times will vary depending on market conditions. If you can, book a home survey as soon as your offer is accepted.

3 - 4 weeks

Property searches

Obtaining property searches can be a cause of delay, especially if applying to the local authority (official searches). Ask your solicitor whether they can apply for personal searches instead, as these are often cheaper and quicker to obtain.

2 - 3 weeks

What else can I do to speed up the conveyancing process?

Choose a solicitor who is proactive, specialises in conveyancing, and who works on a 'no sale, no fee' basis (which can incentivise proactivity).

Maintain regular communication with all parties involved, including solicitors, estate agents and mortgage brokers, is critical for a faster, less-stressful, home move.

Depending on your circumstances, there are many more steps you can take to speed up the conveyancing process. These steps are discussed in more detail here:

Speed up the conveyancing process - how to take control

Article by Completely Moved authors

The Completely Moved team have years of experience helping home buyers, sellers and owners, answering questions and providing property advice.

Share this article:

Sale & Purchase Conveyancing

Know exactly how much you'll pay, with an all inclusive, no move, no fee solicitor quote.

Sale & Purchase Conveyancing

Know exactly how much you'll pay, with an all inclusive, no move, no fee solicitor quote.

Transfer of Equity Conveyancing

Gifting or selling your share in a property? Adding someone to the deeds? We can help.

Remortgage Conveyancing

Get a remortgage conveyancing quote - Expert solicitors approved by over 100 lenders

RICS Property Surveys

RICS Level 2 & 3 Home Surveys and valuations. Local surveyors. Fast turnaround. Low prices
Get a conveyancing quote