How long does it take to buy a house?
20 February 2019 by Joanne Millar
This is a question as conveyancers, we are asked on practically a daily basis!
Of course, buyers would like to know how long it will be before they move into their desired property but there are many defining factors as follows:-
- How long is the chain? Obviously, if we have one buyer and one seller then the transaction can proceed relatively quickly as only two parties are involved and only two firms of Solicitors. If, for instance, there are 8 parties in a chain then clearly, this will make matters more complicated as not all conveyancers work at the same rate. You may find for instance, that the bottom of the chain is ready to proceed but the top of the chain have outstanding enquiries/searches etc.
- Is there Probate involved? If the property has been sold where a party has died and the Probate has not been obtained, this can cause delays dependent upon what stage the application for Probate has reached. Some applications are relatively simple but some Probate applications can be complicated which would delay the transaction as it cannot proceed without the grant of probate being received by the Solicitors acting.
- Do you require a mortgage? If a mortgage is required then generally, prospective purchasers will have already enquired of their lender/mortgage broker and hopefully, a mortgage will have been agreed in principle and the initial enquiries will already have been dealt with. Again, if a purchaser is obtaining a mortgage then searches are required by the lender as the conveyancer acting acts for the lender as well as the purchaser.
- Are you a cash buyer? If a purchaser literally “has the cash in the bank” then this can hasten matters as there will be no delay with regard to mortgage finance. A cash buyer could also instruct their conveyancer not to carry out searches in order to speed matters up but these are always recommended and a disclaimer would be required if the buyer decides against the advice of their conveyancer.
- Is the property Freehold or Leasehold? As a general rule, a Leasehold transaction is more complex and therefore will take longer than a Freehold. The reason for this is that the selling Solicitors will need to provide a management pack from the company who deals with the day to day running of the block and this could give rise to further enquiries being raised by the buying Solicitor.
- Gifted deposits/anomaly with the title – various matters could be revealed within the title documentation which would need to be reported to the lender by the conveyancer to ensure the lender is happy to proceed. A gifted deposit from a family member would also need to be reported to lender but as long as this is reported as soon as the mortgage offer is to hand, it should not be an issue.
As you can see there are a number of factors upon which the speed of any transaction is dependent and it is, therefore, difficult to give precise timescales. As a very general guide, in the case of a freehold purchase with the benefit of a mortgage and a relatively short chain a guide of 6-8 weeks would seem reasonable. This, however, is only a very rough guide!