How long will my property sale take?

How long it will take from your accepting an offer until a completion/moving date is set will depend on a number of factors. The average process generally takes anywhere between 4-12 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you have a first-time buyer who only requires a mortgage, it might only take 4-6 weeks. If you have a cash buyer who doesn’t require any searches to be made, it could be much quicker than this. If however your property is only one of a chain of linked sales and purchases and there are several parties involved in this chain, this can make the process slower whilst people wait for mortgage offers, search results and replies to enquiries. In conveyancing chains there is always the possibility of having to wait for other people to catch up (because each buying process has started off on a different date).

The sale of leasehold properties generally takes longer, on average between 8-16 weeks, because there are additional parties to consult (landlord, management company etc). If you are selling a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease or a lease variation to correct a defect, this can take significantly longer, usually between 3 and 6 months. In such situations additional charges would apply.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the sale of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. The exact order in which they take place also varies widely. However, below we advise the key stages that apply to most properties throughout the course of the transaction:

• Take your instructions and give you initial advice
• Obtain title records and prepare contract documents
• Check mortgage repayment figures and verify there are sufficient funds, or finances are in place to fund any shortfall if needed
• Receive and help you to respond to the buyer’s solicitor’s enquiries
• Give you advice on any legal points
• Approve the transfer of title documentation
• Send final contract and transfer document to you for signature
• Agree completion date (date from which you will no longer own the property)
• Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
• Arrange for all monies needed to be received from you, if applicable
• Complete sale
• Deal with redemption of your mortgage or secured loan, and its discharge from the title records at H M Land Registry
• Deal with any standard queries arising when the buyer’s solicitors make their application for registration at Land Registry

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