A figure holding moving boxes stands at the beginning of a timeline for How Long to Move House Once Offer Accepted, No Chain. SAM Conveyancing explains conveyancing timeframes when there is no onward chain.
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How Long to Move House Once Offer Accepted? No Chain

(Last Updated: 18/12/2023)
6 min read
Once your offer has been accepted, your estate agent will notify both yours and the sellers solicitors. The timeline to move house goes something like this:

    1Instruct solicitor: 10 minutes

If you haven't already, you can instruct your solicitor instantly using our simple online instruction form. Your solicitor will begin working on your purchase right away (usually the following working day), starting by reviewing the legal title for the property. The sellers solicitor will send through the draft contract.

It's important to spend a while choosing a good solicitor, so we recommend that you shop around first. You will save time and place yourself at an advantage if you instruct your solicitor before your offer is accepted.

    2Order survey and searches: 1-2 weeks

Your SAM Conveyancing executive will book in the surveys and searches you require for the property. Many of the searches we offer are returned in as little as two hours.

Your survey will be carried out by one of out specialist local RICS surveyors, we have same week appointments available and your report will be delivered in 5 working days.

    3Mortgage application: 1-2 weeks

This can be happening at the same time as step 2, so it shouldn't add to the timeline unless there are delays, which we discuss below.

    4Legal enquiries: 1-3 weeks

Your solicitor will ask the seller questions about the property, through their solicitor. This is one of the many points in conveyancing where using an experienced solicitor plays an important role, as you buy the property 'as seen' - if the right enquiries aren't raised now, you could be in for a nasty surprise. Read more - How long after searches to exchange?

    5Negotiations: Varies

Based on the details your solicitor has learned about the property, they will negotiate on your behalf. Negotiations can take as long as both parties continue to engage and can happen at any stage up to completion. If there are problems with the property, most reasonable sellers will adjust the price to accommodate what it will cost for you to remedy this. Learn more in How to negotiate house price

    6Exchange contracts

While the preparation up to exchange can be time consuming the exchange itself is fairly quick, when you have finished negotiating and reached an agreement, both parties sign the contract and you pay your deposit you are now legally bound to buying the property.

    8Draw down mortgage: 5 days

Your mortgage application should have gone through by now. Your solicitor sends the executed contract of exchange to your lender. It usually takes 5 days for the Lender to send through the money for the purchase.

    7Pack & Prepare

Declutter, pack, arrange removals, purchase home insurance. How long this takes depends on how organised you are, how much stuff you have and whether you've given yourself a head-start. You can compare home insurance quotes easily online.

    9Complete & Move

Your solicitor sends the completion monies to the seller's solicitor. The seller's solicitor will release the keys. You pay your SDLT. You or your solicitor will need to register the property at the land registry.

Cash buyer, no chain-how long to complete?

Without an onward chain, the conveyancing on a purchase could be as little as four to six weeks, but it really depends on details which you'll only know once the legal process begins. Only around 10% of properties sold in the UK have no chain.

As a cash buyer & no chain - how long to complete?
As a cash buyer you'll shave around 5 days off the time it takes to complete, at least. This is the time it would otherwise take you to draw down the mortgage. You might be able to complete in as little as three to five weeks.

What delays can take longer to move house, once offer accepted?

  • Missing or incomplete information on Title deed at the Land Registry

  • Uncertainty over ownership can cause delays until they can be confirmed.

  • Valuation disputes

  • If your lender's valuation undervalues the property, you will have to dispute the valuer's decision or negotiate the price down to match, which can cause significant delays depending on the cooperation of the parties.

  • Lender is slow to release funds

  • If the mortgage provider is slow in either issuing final approval for the loan, or simply releasing the money in time for you to complete, this can add days, close to the deadline. This can be caused by inefficient lenders, or by complexities on your side. If you have bad credit, or are self employed, discuss this with your broker as early as possible.

  • Surveyor delays

  • As with any third party service unforeseen circumstances may cause delays.

  • Property defects

  • If defects are discovered, further surveys including specialist surveys conducted by a structural engineer may be required to determine the extent of the issue. This will likely add time and work onto the negotiations period, where you may ask the seller to rectify the defects or bring their price down accordingly.

  • Bottlenecks with Local Authorities

  • Local authority searches are the most common property search, is is usually undertaken by the local authority which faces bottlenecks at peak times of the year. We aim to mitigate this risk by using a regulated local authority search which is conducted by a search agent who can turn around the report much faster. However, some lenders will not accept this type of local authority search.

Frequently Asked Questions
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written 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.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed 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.

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