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You’ve found your perfect home, your offer has been accepted and you’re ready to move in – so what’s the hold up? You’ve done what you need to – instructed a lawyer/conveyancer (check), arranged for a survey to be carried out (check) and applied for a mortgage (check), but still no moving in date.

On average, it takes six to eight weeks (slightly longer if purchasing a flat) for contracts to be in place ready to exchange, with completion sometimes up to two weeks after this. However, it can often take longer, and there are a number of areas which can be the cause of your delay.

Get your mortgage in place early

It’s likely you’ll be financing the purchase of your home with a mortgage. There are now much tougher rules on borrowing often making this a more lengthy process. Lenders are being very rigorous with their checks and before a mortgage offer is accepted, you may have to take an affordability test to ensure you can pay back your loan. To speed up this process you should get your mortgage agreed in principle before you find the home you want to buy. Once your conveyancer receives mortgage instructions from your lender, they will check them carefully to ensure any special conditions imposed by your lender have or will be complied with by completion.

Property searches

Before you purchase your home, certain steps need to be followed and information checked to make sure that legally everything is in order. Your conveyancer will need to carry out various searches against the property you are buying. Locally in St Albans the Council has a short turnaround time, usually taking between one to five days to complete searches. However this can vary between local authorities up and down the country so it is worth discussing it with your conveyancer to find out how long this part of the process is likely to take.

Chain reaction

Unless you’re lucky to be chain free, you’ll be relying on the seller to buy another home and likewise the seller of that home, and similarly you may have your own home to sell. Known as a ‘chain transaction’, where each move is dependent upon another, this will progress more slowly than a chain free transaction because it moves at the speed of the slowest link. The obvious way to avoid this delay is to find a chain free property, but these are often hard to come by. There is little you can do to speed things along, but one option, if you are selling, is to sell your property and move into rented accommodation while you search for a new home. This way you won’t be relying on the buyers of your home as well as those further up the chain.

In the end, the smooth running of the home buying process depends upon you finding a lawyer/conveyancer who understands the local market, can quickly identify any potential issues and work quickly to overcome any barriers. Open communication and co-operation of everyone involved in the transaction is key.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.