Buying a house can seem like a long, drawn-out process with lots of complicated steps, but understanding the process can help buyers stay in control. Alistair Millar, partner at Tallents in Southwell, looks at the steps involved in conveyancing and offers advice on how buyers can help to speed up the process. Alistair explains:

“Buying a house involves a great deal of coordination and collaboration by a number of parties: buyers and sellers, estate agents and solicitors, surveyors and valuers, to name but a few.

“We would always advise our clients to stay in touch with their seller and the estate agent throughout the buying process to make sure that any small issues are dealt with quickly. Your conveyancing solicitor will always let you know if they spot anything that’s likely to slow the purchase down.”

Initially the sale and purchase contracts are reviewed during a pre-exchange period and this can be the slowest part of the process. Says Alistair:

“Your solicitor will review the draft contract and supporting documents in detail and then raise any queries with the seller’s solicitor. They will also apply for a number of legal searches, including: 

  • Local authority searches – these usually take between 2–4 weeks
  • Land Registry title checks – both the property title and plans will be checked
  • Water authority searches – this will check for any public drains on your property which might affect plans for extensions or building works
  • Location specific searches – this might include searches for: flooding, mining, radon gas and environmental issues

“Without any complications, a simple house purchase can be completed in 6–8 weeks, however it can take up to 12 weeks from acceptance of your offer to final completion of the sale.”

 Choosing a good conveyancer will also help to speed up the buying process. It may be very tempting to try and save some money by accepting a cheap conveyancing quote, but cheap is usually cheap for a reason. When you’ve found your dream home, there’s no point losing it for the sake of a few hundred pounds. Alistair comments:

 “We would always recommend that people do their research and look for a conveyancing solicitor with an established local reputation for providing fast and efficient property transactions. Perhaps ask friends or colleagues whom they would recommend or visit your local law firms personally and ask for quotes.

Accredited-CQ_logo-rgb-260x126“Firms, like Tallents, who display the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation from the Law Society will provide a recognised quality residential conveyancing service. The Lexcel practice management accreditation will also give buyers peace of mind.

“We would also advise choosing a local law firm to handle your purchase. They will have a local advantage since they are likely to know and have a good business relationship with the estate agent or builder selling the property. If things don’t quite go to plan, this relationship could prove invaluable in getting things sorted and the sale back on track quickly.”

Alistair finishes:

“One final thing that a buyer can do to help speed up the purchase process is to be organised. Ensure you have already had your mortgage agreed in principal by your lender. Know if you want to arrange additional surveys on the property and choose a surveyor. Keep your pay slips, bank statements and passports handy. And finally, ensure you have access to your funds to pay the deposit and Stamp Duty Land Tax.

“At Tallents, we’ve been helping people move house for 240 years, so buyers and sellers can rely on us to help them every step of the way.”