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My offer has been accepted but how long will it take before I can move into my new home?

Once an offer has been accepted, the estate agents prepare the sales particulars,  which include details of the Property being purchased,  the agreed price and the Seller and Buyer’s solicitors. Once this is sent out to both parties, the solicitors can begin  the conveyancing process which will include carrying out identification checks and obtaining completed client care documentation from their client.

Once  the Buyer’s solicitors have received the Contract papers, the transaction generally can take between  6 and 12 weeks to ‘complete,’ which is when the balance of monies is paid, the keys collected and the Buyer can physically move in. This timeframe can be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances of each transaction.

Conveyancing  transactions can be complex and there are a variety of factors affecting the amount of time  it can take to complete. These can include the following:

1.The nature of the Property and transaction. For example, if the Property if Freehold or Leasehold, a new build, unregistered or if it is a probate sale. For example, Leasehold transactions typically take longer than Freehold ones due to the fact that there are additional parties involved, such as the managing agents and Landlord; further documents to review and advise on, including the Lease and Leasehold  information pack; further enquiries to raise and additional complexities to consider arising  out of the Lease.

Another example is new build Properties where there is quite often a very short time scale imposed to exchange contracts, for example, four weeks from receipt of papers by the Buyer’s solicitors, but the completion date is not fixed but  ‘on notice.’  The notice is given by the Seller’s solicitors,  typically providing 10 working days’ notice ,  which may mean there is a long period of weeks or even months in between exchange and completion with an uncertain completion date. In another example, the purchase of  ‘unregistered’ land may have an impact on timescales where there are missing title deeds or where there is purchase of a Property from an Executor of an Estate and the  Grant of Probate has not yet been issued by the Probate Registry.

2.Mortgage finance. If you are buying with a mortgage, it is important to submit all the requested  information to your Lender as early as possible to complete the application and for the Lender to arrange their valuation in order for the mortgage offer to be issued.  Although the issuing of the mortgage offer usually  runs alongside the transaction  and generally does not in itself cause a delay,  there may be other issues arising once the offer is received that may need  to be reported to the Lender and resolved. For example,  where a valuer has identified a loft conversion at the Property but there  is no evidence of Planning and Building Regulation Consents being obtained.

3.Surveys. If you are carrying out a Survey on the Property, for example, a Homebuyers or full Structural Survey, issues may be identified requiring further investigation. Often there may be direct negotiations  via the estate agents between the Buyer and Seller , for example, if the Survey has identified a damp problem, electrical works required or  a rodent infestation. Further reports and investigations may be required and the Seller may agree to carry out work to remedy issues identified in a Survey  prior to exchange of contracts.

4.Searches. The usual searches on the Property include the Local Authority Search,  Water and Drainage search and the Environmental search. Other searches may also be required which are region specific, for example, a Coal Mining search. There may be issues arising from the searches  that require investigation and resolution before proceeding to an exchange of contracts.  For example,  a contaminated land issue in an Environmental search; the Local Authority Search revealing that the road accessing the Property  has not been adopted by the Local Authority and therefore is not maintainable at public expense or  the Water and Drainage Search  showing that a sewer or drain is located underneath  part of the Property.

5.Complex transactions. Once the title documents are received from the Seller’s solicitors, they may reveal title defects or  issues with breaches of  restrictive covenants or  rights of way that need to be dealt with. This may  include making enquiries with the Land Registry to clarify the position, obtaining indemnity insurance and reporting to the Lender.

6.Source of Funds. It is important for the Buyer  to ensure funds are in place and they have provided detailed evidence of accumulation and source of funds to their solicitors as early as possible  together with details of any gifts being made towards the purchase price. Third party gifts may also need to be reported to Lenders where there is mortgage finance in place and if required it is important to do this as early as possible.

7.The length of the Chain. The Seller’s related transaction and the length of the ‘chain, ’ where  multiple people are buying and selling and are all reliant on each other may have a big impact on the timescale of the transaction. There is an increased risk of unexpected delays where this is a long chain and there is no control over how quickly other parties progress their own transaction.

8.Slow responses to enquiries. The time the Seller’s solicitors take to respond to enquiries will affect the process and if slow and unresponsive, can cause significant delays. In Leasehold purchases, third parties such as  managing agents may take some time to respond to additional enquiries  which can cause further delays.  It is recommended that you instruct a firm, such a JNP Legal,  that has been awarded the conveyancing quality scheme certification,  ‘CQS’ which means they are accredited by the Law Society as having  been able to  demonstrate they have the skill and expertise to provide quality residential conveyancing advice.

Although the above examples explain how various  factors can delay the conveyancing process,  it is still important to try to agree and communicate any  expected timescales with the other side,  if possible, to work towards at the start of the transaction so that all parties expectations can be managed and  to reduce the risk of frustration  being caused at  a  later date.

At JNP Legal we provide expert legal services by qualified conveyancers to ensure your property transaction goes as smoothly as possible. Our transparent pricing structures will identify all the payments involved in the conveyancing process without any hidden extras or paying referral fees to a third party.

JNP Legal are leading law specialists who can assist you with all your legal needs. We have qualified solicitors who can provide you with a advice and assistance to ensure you legal needs are fully serviced.

We are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm in our Merthyr Tydfil (01685 350421), Nelson (01443 4560561) and Llanishen offices (02920 763211). We also open on Saturday morning 9am – 12pm in our Merthyr office for your convenience.

Contact us on 01443 454915 or 02920 767072 for a conveyancing quote or email us – House@jnplegal.org. You can also visit our website www.jnplegal.org where our self-service conveyancing portal will allow you to obtain a no obligation quote when it suits you.

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