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How Long Does Conveyancing Take?

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

20th May 2019 (Last updated on 30th May 2022) 4 minute read

Conveyancing can take anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks from when the sale is agreed. The time it takes to complete the conveyancing process will depend on whether you're buying or selling and if you're part of a property chain. The conveyancing solicitor you choose is also a vital factor.

From conveyancing with no chain to why conveyancing takes so long, this guide will cover everything you need to know to help speed up the conveyancing process.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Why Does Conveyancing Take So Long?
  2. How Long Does Conveyancing Take With No Chain?
  3. How Long Do Conveyancing Searches Take?
  4. How Long After Searches to Exchange?
  5. How Long Between Exchange and Completion?
  6. How Long Does Conveyancing Take When Buying a House?
  7. How Long Does Conveyancing Take When Selling a House?
  8. Need More Information?
Conveyancing Process Average Timeline

The table below breaks down the conveyancing process into it's most basic steps, highlighting how long each stage takes.

Stages of the Conveyancing ProcessApproximate Time Taken
Arranging a mortgage4 weeks
Conveyancing searches2-6 weeks
Exchanging contracts to completion
1-2 weeks
Average time for the conveyancing process
8-12 weeks


Why Does Conveyancing Take So Long?

Each step of the process must be completed correctly to avoid further delay. What may appear as a simple task can actually be more complicated and essential to the process.

To help save time, you should instruct your conveyancer to begin the process once your offer has been accepted or you’ve accepted an offer from a buyer.

Reasons conveyancing can take so long:

  1. Length of property chain - If you’re part of a property chain, the conveyancing process will take longer. If another transaction in the sale is experiencing delays, then this will slow down your process.
  2. Bad survey results - Your property survey could return adverse results which will bring things to a halt. It’ll take extra time to see if you can negotiate your offer, get further expert advice or pull out of the purchase.
  3. Mortgage offer delay - If you’re still waiting for your mortgage offer to be issued, this can delay the conveyancing process. The same will apply if your mortgage offer has expired.
  4. Delay in conveyancing search results - Your conveyancer will have to order property searches from the relevant authorities. Depending on how busy the local authority is, the searches could take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to be completed.

How Long Does Conveyancing Take With No Chain?

Conveyancing with no property chain is quicker and can take 8 weeks from the point the sale is agreed.

Delays will come from other transactions in the property chain which is not a concern in this instance.

A negative survey report, delay in searches or legal issues with the property can also hold up the process.

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How Long Do Conveyancing Searches Take?

Conveyancing searches take 2-6 weeks to complete.

This timeline will vary, depending on the type of search requested and how many you require. It will also depend on how busy your local authority is.

The conveyancing searches include:

  • Local authority search
  • Environmental search
  • Drainage and water search

The environmental and drainage and water searches will usually take between 5–10 days to complete.

Learn More

Still curious? Click here to learn about conveyancing searches

How Long After Searches to Exchange?

Exchanging contracts usually happens in week 8 of the conveyancing process. However, this will vary depending on your situation.

You must have the results from the conveyancing searches and agree on a completion date before exchanging contracts.

To speed up the process, make sure you have everything in place. Avoid property chains if possible, as you'll have to wait for the first transaction in the chain to exchange before you can.

Learn More

Still curious? Click here to learn about how long after searches to exchange

How Long Between Exchange and Completion?

The completion date is usually 7-14 days after exchanging contracts.

The time between the exchange and completion date will vary depending on the type of transaction, the personal circumstances of the parties involved and the size of the chain. The chosen date will be agreed upon by the buyer's and seller's solicitors.

It's rare to exchange and complete on the same day. But it's possible if you're not in a property chain and the property you are buying is with vacant possession.

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How Long Does Conveyancing Take When Buying a House?

On average, a straightforward house purchase with no chain will take 8-12 weeks to be completed.

Conveyancing when buying a house usually takes longer as there are more stages. The conveyancing process for buying will begin once your offer has been accepted.

Your conveyancer will need to arrange conveyancing searches which can take up to a few weeks. You will also need to arrange a survey and mortgage offer - both of which will take time to apply for, receive and review.

The contract paperwork provided by the seller’s conveyancer will then need to be reviewed. A set of Pre-Contract Enquiries will be submitted for the seller’s conveyancer to answer.

Only once these requirements have been met can you move to the exchange of contracts.

How Long Does Conveyancing Take When Selling a House?

It takes 8-12 weeks for a straightforward sale to be completed.

If you have a cash buyer, there is no property chain and the transaction is much quicker. This means it could take 6-10 weeks for completion to be achieved.

The conveyancing process for selling a house can take less time than when buying as there are fewer stages to follow.

The main stage for the seller's conveyancer is to put together the draft contract paperwork and then answer any Pre-Contract Enquiries. If this stage can be undertaken quickly, then it will help with the speed of the transaction.

Need More Information?

This article is part of our what is conveyancing guide. Next, we take a detailed look at exchanging contracts after searches. To learn more, read how long after searches to exchange.

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Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

Gareth Brooks

Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

Solicitor and Partner, RMNJ Solicitors

With 19 years of experience in the residential conveyancing industry, Gareth Brooks is a partner and head of management for the conveyancing department at RMNJ Solicitors.

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