5 top tips for fast conveyancing!

I think most buyers would say that if they would like fast conveyancing in order to complete as quickly as possible. There are occasions where this isn't an option, in fact it is a necessity, such as when you buy:

  • an Auction Property requiring a 28 day or less completion (you exchange once you win at auction);
  • a New Build requiring a 28 day or less exchange of contracts;
  • a Repossessed Property requiring a 28 day or less exchange of contracts

  • So why don't all conveyancing transactions take 28 days?

    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; and 
    • Leaseholds are stated to take longer due to their complexities.

    Our solicitors are on all mortgage lender panels and can work to a fast time frame to support your needs. Call 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply) or email help@samconveyancing.co.uk or click on:

    *Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels

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5 Tips to speed up your 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.

  • 2Organise your mortgage 
  • 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 (you can read the complete mortgage process here - The Mortgage Process).

    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.

  • 3Is the seller ready to go? 
  • 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:

    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.

    Important: 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 fast 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.

    What to look for when choosing a solicitor who'll achieve a fast completion for you

    • 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 ignore issues

    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 most people 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?

    11.3 weeks of your life lost

    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 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.

    Too many clients means slower conveyancing

    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?

    Can more money provide a better conveyancing service?

    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.

    What can solicitors do to make conveyancing go faster? 

    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.

    *Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels

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