Fast Conveyancing Solicitors
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Fast Conveyancing

(Last Updated: 24/04/2023)
16 min read
With your offer accepted, the goal for most buyers is to find the quickest conveyancing solicitors to handle the legal work to get you through to completion - we list below out top 5 tips for making completion happen quicker.

There are some purchases which must completed within a set time frame which include:

For the above transactions the exchange of contracts must be completed within a set number of days, normally 28 days from receipt of contracts.

What are the standard time-frames?
Conveyancing Solicitors are required by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) to inform their clients of the estimated time it'll take to complete the purchase. The time frames range depending on the type of transaction:

  • Freehold properties take from 8 to 10 weeks;
  • Leaseholds are stated to take longer due to their complexities.

5 Tips for Fast Conveyancing

  • 1Understand the chain
  • One of the greatest influences to the time it can take to complete your conveyancing depends on the length of your chain - the more people involved, the slower the transaction. You must find out if the person you are buying from is buying on, or if they are just selling to you. If they are the top of the chain then your purchase can go faster, however the challenge is if they are buying on.

    With an onward purchase you'll need to understand if they have found a property or looking; then find out if the people they are buying from are buying on. Find out more about different types of conveyancing chains.

  • 2Get your mortgage offer
  • Cash buyers can complete faster than anyone getting a mortgage because of the logistics of the mortgage application process and also the additional legal requirements of the mortgage lender Find out more about getting a mortgage offer quickly.

    If you are getting a mortgage you must:
    • Get your mortgage in principle;
    • Order your mortgage valuation (at busy times it can take up to 2 weeks after instruction to get the bank's surveyor into the property)
    • Get your mortgage offer

    The process from start to finish can takes anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks, so make sure you start the process ASAP. If you've got your mortgage in principle, you can maximise your time by booking your lender's valuation straight after you've had your offer on a property accepted: the sooner you can get your mortgage offer, the more quickly your solicitor can act.

    Can fast conveyancing ever be cheap?

    Cheap, Fast and Quality - Which are you prepared to give up?
    It is well known in conveyancing matters - much as it is in so many other areas of business - that you can't get all three of these 'positives' because:

    • Cheap and Fast - often can lead to poor quality and errors during the transaction. By paying less you are restricting the time the solicitor can spend on your file with a view to taking on more clients to make their books balance. This is the riskiest option.
    • Cheap and Quality - often slow because the conveyancing solicitor will need to spend more time on a quality service.
    • Fast and Quality - this is what you really need, however if the transaction is fast and delivered to a high quality the cost will be much more otherwise something has to give.

    That said, your best value-for-money property solicitors for buying a house will give you the best chance at achieving all three, i.e. cheap fast conveyancing which doesn't stint on quality - call 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply) to find out more about our fast track conveyancing solicitors.

  • 3Is the seller ready?
  • All conveyancing transactions follow the same path (you can see this here - Guide to Buying a Home) and the legal work for the buyer can only start once the seller has returned their property forms and their solicitor issued contracts. All too often buyers get frustrated when it takes weeks for the seller to return their paperwork to the solicitor.

    For the fastest starts sellers should return all their paperwork to their solicitor as quickly as possible (which is why sellers should instruct their solicitor as soon as they start marketing their property). These are the documents the sellers should get back to their solicitor:

    • TA6 Property Information Form
    • TA7 Leasehold Information Form (if leasehold)
    • TA10 Fixtures & Fittings Form
    • Original title deeds
    • Invoices and guarantees for any work completed on the property (such as FENSA for double glazing or NHBC/Zurich Insurance for properties under 10 years' old)
    • Boiler maintenance certificates and installation documents
    • Electrical certificates, warranties and any other documents
    • Planning permissions and building control sign offs

    Sellers often struggle to provide satisfactory documentation for their property and this can delay the process. Finding out where the holes are early gives the seller time to fill in the gaps.

    Leasehold managing agents make leaseholds slower!
    If you are buying a leasehold property then you should request the seller buys their management information pack from their Freeholder/Managing Agent at the point your offer is accepted. It can take weeks for this information to be compiled and the information contained in it are essential and can often raise additional enquiries your solicitor needs to satisfy.

    • 4Don't hold off ordering property searches and survey
    When looking for a fast completion, you may have to forgo the comfort of ticking stages off one by one, and instead start the ball rolling on all key stages:
    • Instruct your solicitor;
    • Order your mortgage valuation;
    • Order your property searches (local authority searches can take up to 4 weeks to come back); and
    • Order your building survey

    There are occasions where you should complete each of the above, one by one. For example if you are concerned the property is undervalued then you wouldn't want to spend money on property searches and a survey before you find out if the mortgage lender will give you a mortgage offer. Equally you wouldn't want to do property searches or order a mortgage valuation if you have concern the property has defects and is in need of a building survey.

    • 5Choose your conveyancing solicitor wisely
    Finding a conveyancing solicitor can be tough; do you choose a solicitors online or do you opt for the solicitor the estate agent referred? The key thing to understand is that regardless of which solicitor you use, none can guarantee a quick conveyancing transaction because they are only in control of their work. Although your solicitor can chase, they can't influence overly the actions of the seller, seller's solicitor, your mortgage lender, local council for searches or your property surveyor, let alone the other people in your chain outside of your sale and purchase.

    How do you choose the quickest conveyancing solicitors?

    • Capacity - find out if the solicitor has the capacity to focus on your transaction and that they aren't backlogged with work. Solicitors that are too busy won't be able to be proactive in pushing your transaction forward.
    • Experience - it can take years to fully understand the law and to have knowledge of solutions to overcome legal issues that arise. Less experienced conveyancing solicitors may not have the number of years needed to have the practical understanding of how to quickly overcome challenges and even to understand if it is in fact a challenge at all. Additionally, all modern solicitors should be using the fastest means of communication to work i.e. emails and telephone. If communication is purely by post, the process is clearly going to take far longer.
    • Mortgage panel membership - smaller solicitors have been excluded from being able to work with some mortgage lenders. You should look to work with law firms that have 4 or more principles (partners). You don't want to lose time changing solicitors because they can't act for your chosen mortgage lender.
    • Additionally, if you are fully committed to buying a home, you can instruct your conveyancing solicitor before you've had an offer accepted. You'll have forms to fill in and return to your solicitor to get them up and running anyway and if you've already instructed, this tells a vendor that you're organised and ready to proceed - this might swing things in your favour when it comes to deciding whose offer to accept.

    Don't work with a solicitor who has too many clients
    A typical conveyancer might have 100-150 live client cases at any one time. How well that conveyancer manages the 'throughput' is key however conveyancing is highly process-driven and involves coordinating many small actions which, of themselves, vary in importance but must be organised as necessary parts of the whole task. Too many clients lead to a meltdown, which is ultimately neither good for the customer nor the conveyancer.

    Imagine your solicitor has to speak to each client for 30 minutes once a week. With 7 hours in the day, that’s 14 clients a day or 98 clients a week. With 100 clients or more how can a solicitor manage your conveyancing when they have no spare time in the day to actually do the work and chase down the information they need?

    Overworked conveyancing solicitor not able to offer fast conveyancing

    Frequently Asked Questions

    You can have a quick transaction when you get your home move completed within 28 days (1 month). Whereas ideally you might expect a freehold sale or purchase to take between 6 and 8 weeks; a leasehold purchase might similarly take take 8 – 10 weeks and a shared ownership purchase 8 – 12 weeks.

    The challenge you face is that you're always reliant on many other parties 'pulling their weight' in order for things to progress rapidly. You might do all you can as a buyer to get things moving quickly – typically you'd book your mortgage valuation and your searches on the day you instructed your conveyancing solicitors – but you're still reliant on the other side sending your contract pack through as quickly as possible.

    And as things progress, you're reliant on your seller providing responses to enquiries in a timely manner, for example. Additionally – and particularly if you're buying with a mortgage – your local authority search can sometimes take weeks to return, depending on the particular local authority involved.

    So in summary, fast conveyancing is a relative concept to start with and can come unstuck because of the number of parties any move depends on.

    That said, with a good solicitor for buying a house you can not only rely on them to work as quickly as possible but also to be proactive in chasing up the vendor's solicitor – and through them the vendor – to take their respective part. As a seller, you can immediately work on completing your property information form and fixtures and contents form and assembling all your guarantees and warranties (FENSA certificate, boiler service certificate etc.). If required you can work to return answers to enquiries from the buyer's solicitor as rapidly as possible. If you – and others – all pull together, then as long as there aren't any other external factors to slow things down, you should achieve a relatively quick completion.

    The very first – and most important – thing you can do to make your property conveyancing faster is to make sure to instruct the best conveyancing solicitors. These won't necessarily be the most expensive, but we recommend that you examine online reviews carefully – remember, for example, that if there's just a handful of these in total, these might be just the firm's immediate 'circle' – and listen carefully to personal recommendations.

    The best solicitor for buying a house is one who isn't inundated with clients such that personal Picture of a relaxed man next to boxes having moved in after fast solution conveyancing care standards drop and is likely to carry the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation.

    You can't do that much to ensure that your vendor or purchaser or the chain itself are moving as quickly as they can in turn – and you're tied into their speeds ultimately – however a good solicitor will help you chivy them and move them along the process.

    There are many things, however, that you can personally stay on top of to give yourself the best chance of a fast conveyancing.

    As a buyer, you can:
    • (if applicable) opt to book your mortgage valuation on the day you instruct your solicitor;
    • book your property defect survey/RICS home buyer survey on the day you instruct;
    • book your searches on the day you instruct;
    • ensure any enquiries you want to make are with your solicitor promptly; and
    • make double sure all your funds are in place in time for exchanging contracts (includes, for example, giving notice to transfer Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA (LISA) funds);

    It's understandable that as a cash-strapped and careful buyer you might not want to take the risk of paying out for your defect survey, your mortgage valuation and your searches until your solicitor has at least received the contract pack, but once this has been received, you should certainly act as quickly as possible.

    As a seller you can:
    • ensure you collate all the documents and complete all the forms you need for your solicitor to send your buyer's solicitor the contract pack (most often there's delays arising from this);
    • (if leasehold) organise and pay for your leasehold/management pack on the day you instruct your solicitor; and
    • ensure that if your solicitor requires any information from you to answer any enquiries from the buyer, that it is returned to your solicitor as quickly as possible.

    But what if the solicitors received more money? If by paying more it means your conveyancing solicitor has a lower file load and can dedicate more time to your individual case then more money will make the conveyancing process run faster. However, what more money can’t do is change the working habits of your solicitor and this is the challenge you face when choosing one.

    As you might expect, many property conveyancing solicitor firms claim to offer the fastest conveyancing in their marketing. Some firms, such as Homefast Conveyancing, have even incorporated 'fast' into their actual company name, in order to become associated with offering a fast service before you've read a single client review.

    For all that, it's very difficult to find any actually agreed and reliable measures of the speed of conveyancing online and we were unable to corroborate any such information at press time.

    We can say, however, that you might expect a relatively efficient and trouble-free freehold conveyancing matter to complete in 6 to 8 weeks, while a leasehold sale or purchase might take 8 to 10 weeks and a shared ownership conveyancing 10 - 12 weeks. You can even pay vastly 'over the odds' for some conveyancing solicitor firms actually to get you exchanged and completed in a quick as one day: what's known as a 'simultaneous exchange and completion'.

    To achieve this latter goal, you have to have the conveyancing solicitors either physically meet or at the very least to virtually meet and go through the entire conveyancing process at once. It's essentially the preserve of rich, cash purchasers not least because mortgage lenders, for any sort of standard purchase, would expect vastly more checks to have taken place before they'll agree to grant a substantial home loan.

    In the vast majority of cases, the time frames initially referred to are reasonable rules of thumb although no two home moves are ever the same. And what you ideally want is for your conveyancing solicitors to achieve the fastest completion for your particular home move while paying all the required attention to matters of due diligence and responsible checks.

    We believe that we offered this service to all our clients in 2019 given the particular conditions which each conveyancing transaction involved and the 'proof of the pudding' is easily checkable: please investigate our Trustpilot and Google reviews to find out what our 1,000s of satisfied clients say.

    Figures collated by Veyo show that the average conveyancing process takes 11.3 weeks. Not surprisingly this wait was cited as the most stressful part of the conveyancing process. Additionally, dealing with solicitors handling the legal work was a large stress factor. A sizeable 29% of those surveyed felt 'out of touch' during their home move and 36% identified as having 'very limited knowledge' about the matters involved.

    The massive opportunity for those conveyancing firms prepared to take it is that the single change most customers want to see is a faster process and, when issues come up, fast solution conveyancing. And a large majority - 65% of respondents - would be willing, or at least not against, paying more to achieve this greater speed. This was a far higher number than those who just wanted cost reductions, whether in stamp duty or fees.

    When buying a home, regular communication is key and a lot of the delays that you will face are down to old habits and poor communication. Sadly, all too often a solicitor feels they have progressed your file if they have ‘chased’ the otherside; however by chasing this could be a typed letter which was posted or faxed to them, not a call or an email. These old communication practices are keeping some conveyancing solicitors locked into delivering a slow conveyancing process. Phone calls, emails and proactive chasing are the tools of a fast conveyancing solicitor, but will paying more money make a solicitor embrace these forms of communication?

    We don’t think that paying more for your solicitors will ever change the speed of the conveyancing service provided. What needs to happen is a change of approach, working standards and to embrace new technology; remembering that all a client wants is to be kept up to speed on the process and to get it over with as quickly as possible.

    Our team of conveyancing solicitors embrace communication and see the use of emails and telephone to keep clients updated as a necessity, not a hindrance in delivering a fast conveyancing service to our clients. To get a conveyancing quote call 0333 344 3234 or click on the following link.

    Fast Completions | Fixed Fee (no extra charge for speed) | No Sale No Fee | On all Mortgage Lender Panels

    During the conveyancing process, issues may arise that slow down the time it takes to get to exchange of contracts, it may even mean that you have to pull out from buying the property. All property in England and Wales is bought caveat emptor and any defects you choose to ignore will be your responsibility to remedy if you buy the property.

    Working with conveyancing solicitors is a necessity for virtually everyone when moving home; however working with them can all too often be the cause of stress and delays in a process you have very little understanding of. Research shows that 25% of home buyers would happily pay more to get the process finished more quickly. What is worse for conveyancing practitioners is 50% of their customers would not return to use them again. The question is if you paid more for your solicitors does that automatically mean you’ll get a better service?

    Written by:
    Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
    Reviewed by:
    Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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