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  • 18 Nov 2020

    How long does buying or selling a property take at the moment?

    This year has been an odd one for all of us; Lockdown 1, Lockdown 2, eat out to help out, masks and so much more!  In the world of conveyancing, transactions were halted at the end of March at the start of the first lockdown with the introduction of restrictions on moving house. Transactions were able to resume from May, with the added incentive from the government of a Stamp Duty Holiday until 31st March 2021.

    How do current restrictions affect house moves?

    The housing market remains open during the current period with people able to continue with new and planned moves. Conveyancers, estate agents, removers and valuers are able to continue working to progress transactions and people are still able to view properties as long as they follow government advice

    At Hegarty we continue to work, supporting our clients during what has been the most trying of times in many people’s memories.

    Conveyancing transactions are proceeding as normally as restrictions allow.  Whilst we are not seeing clients face to face, we have utilised video calls to verify our clients’ ID and comply with our Anti-Money Laundering (AML) obligations, which is a continuation of how we were working prior to the pandemic.  Keeping in contact with our clients and progressing matters as quickly as we are able has been and will always be a priority for us, lockdown or no lockdown, we remain diligent in our commitment to our clients.

    How long will it take to buy or sell my house?

    When asked how long the process of buying or selling a property takes (I refer to this as the ‘how long is a piece of string’ question) I always state the national average is 8 to 12 weeks.  This isn’t from when you first speak to an estate agent or from when your offer is accepted, but from when you instruct your solicitor and the party on the other side of the matter instructs theirs.  This is not a length of time that is set in stone, but just some guidance so you have an idea as to the timescale involved. 

    Each individual transaction is unique and the length of time it takes to complete can depend on a number of factors.

    What factors can make the process take longer?

    There are many factors that can influence how long a conveyancing transaction takes and it is worth bearing in mind that due to increased demand and government restrictions at the moment, some elements of the conveyancing process such as mortgage valuations are taking longer than usual. 

    Examples of factors that can make the process longer:

    • Delays in getting a mortgage offer
    • Issues arising as a result of surveys
    • Delays in receiving search results
    • A long chain of buyers and sellers
    • Delays in receiving replies from buyer or seller
    • Problems with the title of the property being bought or sold

    Many of these factors are outside of the control of your solicitor and may arise part way through a transaction, so it is therefore often not possible to provide any guarantees about exactly how long the transaction will take at the outset but our team of conveyancers always keep clients informed about the progress of their transaction. Our priority is completing your transaction as smoothly and quickly as possible and many of our clients find they complete quicker than expected.  

    Our team are experienced in dealing with all aspects of the conveyancing transaction and will be able to offer advice and solutions to avoid and overcome common delays or issues. 

    How long do I have left to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday?

    The Stamp Duty Holiday has been a bonus for many during this time, with a maximum saving of £15,000 on the purchase of a property of at least £500,000.

    At this time, the holiday is due to end on 31st March 2021 and unless the government make further announcements, completions taking place after this date will not benefit from the potential saving. 

    If you are thinking about buying a property to take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday and have a property to sell, you should give yourself plenty of time to market your property so that you have the best possible chance to benefit from the stamp duty holiday. 

    For more information about the Stamp Duty Holiday read our article "Government announce Stamp Duty Holiday".

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