Where there is a cash buyer and no chain, as a best-case scenario, completion on a property could take place within 6-8 weeks.
On paper, this is the most straightforward of scenarios. While you should expect the conveyancing process to be a quicker and faster with no chain, this will be dependent on the process running smoothly and everyone involved keeping momentum.
If you’re looking at how long conveyancing will take with no chain, there will be a number of factors to consider.
What can delay the conveyancing process?
A property without a chain is a distinct advantage in the marketplace, and can often command a premium on price, not least as it would usually lead to a shorter conveynacing period and less chance of ‘being gazumped’ resulting in unrecovered outlay of monies and a loss of the purchase opportunity.
If you’ve found the property you want to buy, or have accepted an offer to sell, the likelihood is you will want to get moving quickly.
Understanding how long the process will take can help if you have other concerns or responsibilities, such as giving notice on a tenancy or planning renovation work and booking the labour and equipment.
A number of factors can however cause the process to take longer than you might expect, even if there is no chain.
Getting a mortgage: While a mortgage in principle can be provided relatively quickly, securing the actual final funds is a different matter. It can take around a month from making the application to receiving a formal mortgage offer. It is a more involved and protracted process which should be factored in to the conveyancing leadtimes. If the purchase price has changed from the initial mortgage offer for example, it is likely to delay the mortgage application.
The mortgage company will also require a survey of the property. Limited availability of surveyors can delay the progress.
Conveyancing: Once you’ve had an offer accepted, you will need to instruct a solicitor to deal with the legal process of conveyancing.
This includes conducting mandatory local searches, which take around 3 weeks to come back from the local authority. The searches may also reveal issues to be addressed before contracts are exchanged. The property for example may not be registered with the Land Registry.
The conveyancing process involves multiple parties on both sides of the transaction. Requests for further information between parties may be required to clarify or resolve issues. Delays in correspondence can mean the process seems to drag on as parties wait for others to take action and communicate.
Once contracts have been exchanged contracts, there is usually a four-week deadline to completion. On completing, the keys will be released and the mortgage will start.
Tips to speed up the conveyancing process
The most effective way to speed up the conveyancing process is to appoint an experienced conveyancing solicitor to manage the process on your behalf. Ask that they stay in regular contact with you, whether that is a weekly update asking that they copying all communications to you. Make sure you are readily available, and can take calls and respond to emails promptly to keep momentum.
Your source of funds and speed of transfer will be a key, determining factor in how long the conveyancing process takes. If you are applying for a mortgage, be well prepared with all the necessary documentation – bank statements, pay slips etc.
Buying with no chain: Future issues to consider
If you are buying without a chain, depending on your circumstances, you may find issues arise when you come to sell your new property:
- If you are a first time buyer purchasing a leasehold property:
There has been a recent trend for first time buyers to step onto the property ladder and purchase new build property on a leasehold basis, some with a 999 year lease.
Purchasing a new build generally means you are not part of a chain, and that the property should be to a high-spec, modern and efficient standard, compliant with building, heating and insulation regulations and offering appropriate warranties such as a 10-year NHBC guarantee.
That’s not to say that such transactions will be plain-sailing. Buyers should be aware of potential areas of complication, such as clarifying additional, ongoing charges for ground rent, or other items such as costs for planning permission and for basic correspondence with leaseholder.
- Buy to let owners
If you are buying your property as a buy to let, you will need to consider the wider implications of owning, renting and selling the property, such as tax liabilities that will be incurred on the sale of the property. This includes non-resident UK landlords.
Why take legal advice
Even where one of the parties (vendor or buyer) has no other property to sell, there can still be unforeseen complications during the conveyancing process as each property and situation is unique.
Your conveyancer will be able to provide guidance based on your situation, although this will remain a guide since the process is subject to a range of external factors including the outcome of searches and multiple parties keeping momentum.