If you’re buying a house, we know you want it to go as quickly and smoothly as possible. Many people want to move home or purchase a new property in a particular timescale. You may need to move to for a new job, for the start of a new school year, or to be closer to other members of your family.
“Thank you for all the hard work you did. It was not an easy Conveyancing matter, due to the problems from the Sellers Lawyers. You worked extremely hard, for which I am most grateful.”
There are 6 areas where delays can occur, and 12 steps we recommend you take to minimise delay. To read our 12 steps to minimise delay on your house purchase, download our free guide here.
The usual causes of delay are:
- Conveyancing process
- Mortgages and Cash Purchases
- Gifted Deposits
- Leasehold vs. Freehold
How long does a house purchase take?
The time it takes to complete the entire house purchase process varies depending on your circumstances. A straightforward transaction should complete within 8 to 12 weeks – this is from the moment the seller and purchaser agree a price and solicitors are instructed up until the move-in day.
Factors that delay a house purchase
The Conveyancing Chain
What is a conveyancing chain?
A chain refers to a sequence of linked property purchases. Each purchase is dependent on the preceding and succeeding purchase.
How can a property chain cause a delay?
Property chains progress at the pace of the slowest person. If everyone delays by a few days then the chain will be delayed on each occasion. If the parties in the chain find properties at different times, everyone has to wait until the last person in the chain has found a property to buy. If one of the sales falls through in the chain it will have a knock-on effect to all others. Either they will all be held up or the chain collapses and everyone has to find new properties.
How can conveyancing cause a delay?
The law underpinning the conveyancing process is surprisingly complicated. For a ‘normal’, straight-forward purchase, your conveyancer will have to check over 100 points on a freehold, another 100 or so if it is leasehold, and if you are getting a mortgage a further 100 points or so from your lender.
Although your conveyancer should make things as easy as possible for you, not all conveyancers are the same. The large-bulk conveyancers tend to use junior secretarial and support staff to carry out most of the work and call-handling. Some firms take on more work that they can cope with. Conveyancers with an extremely large volume of work may struggle to give your sale or purchase the priority you deserve.
How can mortgage lenders cause a delay?
Mortgage lenders can cause a delay to your house purchase in a number of ways. If they are offering a good deal, their administrative departments can often be very busy. Your mortgage application will go through a number of stages and will be checked by various departments before you receive your final offer, and if there are queries on your application it can slow the process down even further. Sometimes mortgage lenders are slow to arrange the mortgage valuation, which causes additional delay.
What are surveys?
If you are buying a home, it is best practice to carry out some form of survey to check the state of the property. Your mortgage lender will also need to carry out a mortgage valuation to ensure that the property is worth what they are lending.
How Surveys Cause a Delay?
Surveys take time to schedule, complete, and write up. Once completed, the survey may highlight problems which will take time to deal with, potentially including getting specialist reports and quotes for any work needed.
What is a gifted deposit?
If your house deposit includes a cash gift from parents, this is classed as a ‘gifted deposit’. Gifted deposits are not loans, and for first time buyers, it is common to receive financial support from parents. Your mortgage lender will usually need a letter from your parent(s) to confirm that the money is a gift and that they have no legal rights to the property. Anti-money laundering checks will also be carried out.
Why does having a gifted deposit delay a purchase?
The mortgage lender will carry out checks behind the gifted deposit amount to rule out money laundering, which can cause delays.
Some lenders don’t like gifted deposits because it means you haven’t saved all of the deposit yourself. They may therefore spend more time looking at your financial background to ensure that you can cover repayments and any issues with the house.
What is a leasehold?
A leasehold property means that you lease the house or flat and land from the freeholder for a specific period rather than own it. These leases are long term – usually a minimum of 80 years is needed and ideally longer.
Why does purchasing a leasehold property cause a delay?
As the freeholder (landlord) or their representative needs to be involved it means that leasehold transactions are more complicated. Your conveyancer will need details about the current leaseholder as well as information on any management company, ground rents, and maintenance charges. There are also additional checks they will need to carry out.
How to prevent delay
Download Our Free Guide
We know that the potential delays to your purchase can be daunting, so we have put together a guide on how to prevent delay. Download your guide here.Download Your Free Guide