“How long does it take to buy a house?”

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How long does it take to buy a house is a question we get asked a lot.  The simple answer is – we don’t know!

The time it takes to buy a house can vary. From making your offer to getting the keys is on average 6-8 weeks BUT this depends on a number of different things. Here are a few of them:-

  • SEARCHES - When you buy a property with a mortgage, we as solicitors, have to carry out a Local Search with the Local Council and a Water/Drainage Search.  The Local Search will reveal things about the property you are hoping to buy and the surrounding area such as planning permissions or problems with planning and any other issues that may affect the value of the property.  The Water/Drainage search reveals if it is connected to mains water and if it drains into a public or a private sewer.  It depends how quickly we receive the searches back from the Local Authority and their own timescales vary considerably.  If you are buying without a mortgage, you do not need to carry out searches but we always recommend that you do, just to make sure all is well.
  • MORTGAGE - You may already have your mortgage offer in place and it may come through to us straight away, other times it may take longer to come through if you are still in negotiations with your mortgage provider.
  • OTHER SOLICITOR’S RESPONSE TIME - We have a 24 hour turnaround on any correspondence we receive which means if we have received a letter from the solicitors acting on the sale of the property then we will have replied by the next day. We also use email to speed things up.  Other firms of solicitors may not adopt this policy and therefore this can slow things down considerably.  We cannot force the solicitors to reply, but we do chase them up regularly and ask the estate agents to do so too.
  • ENQUIRIES - Some properties are very straight forward. On others we may need to ask a number of enquiries, for example, rights of way and drains, who maintains a shared drive, or shared pipes, extensions and loft conversions etc.
  • CHAINS - the Sellers of the house you are hoping to buy may be buying another house and those people may be buying on. We try to find out how long the chain is at the start. A long chain usually takes longer as there are more people with different timescales for moving.

These are just a few reasons why we cannot tell you exactly how long your transaction will take and there can sometimes be even more variables.

We hope this doesn’t put you off of buying a house. In fact, we rather hope it has helped you understand a little more about the conveyancing process.

If you have any more questions please feel free to give one of our Conveyancing Team a call 

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