April 11, 2023

Buying Selling

Why does it take 135 days to buy a property?


Why does it still take 135 days to buy a Hemel Hempstead house?

As an experienced estate agent, I have seen many homeowners frustrated by how long it takes to buy and sell property. In this article, I will explain why buying and selling a home takes so long and share some tips on how you can speed up the home-buying process.

What is conveyancing? 

One of the main reasons why it takes so long to sell a house is the conveyancing process. Conveyancing refers to the legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer, which is the time between the offer being accepted and the completion of the sale.

In the last 12 months, it has taken 125 days on average from the time an offer is accepted to the completion of the sale – up from 117 days in 2021.

125 days or just under 18 weeks is a long time on anyone’s calendar! This can be frustrating for everyone as their life is on hold for over four months, waiting for the conveyancing (and mortgage) to get sorted. The problem with the conveyancing process is that it needs to be fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

Many blamed local authorities for taking too long to complete their searches – a vital part of the conveyancing process. These often took up to seven or eight weeks to complete in 2021. However, the national average in the last nine months has now dropped to two weeks (although there are some local anomalies) … and it still takes just as long to sort the conveyancing out.

Conveyancing in Hemel Hempstead

Let me look at the local Hemel Hempstead stats first, then discuss what can be done. In the last 12 months in Hemel Hempstead, it has taken 135 days on average from when an offer is accepted to the completion of the sale (up from 126 days in 2021). Interestingly, it only took an average of 54 days from putting the Hemel Hempstead home on the market to agreeing on the offer . (Hemel Hempstead is HP1/2/3).

What are the issues around time-consuming conveyancing when buying or selling property?

More sales, less conveyancers

The number of annual property sales nationally has increased by 50% in the past decade, up from 803,800 in 2012 to over 1,263,440 in 2022. That means more work for conveyancing firms. However, the number of conveyancing firms decreased by 10% in that period, meaning the number of conveyancing cases a solicitor was dealing with increased from an average of the early 40’s at the end of 2012 to the late 70’s by 2022.

So what can we do about it?

Five things that should help speed up the conveyancing process:


1.To start, a good Hemel Hempstead estate agent should value your property accurately, price it correctly, and market it effectively to attract the right Hemel Hempstead buyers. They should also be able to manage the conveyancing process effectively, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and quickly. At Castles, we have dedicated Sales Coordinators to keep property transactions moving along. Their job is to liaise with all parties in the chain, including conveyancers, and this really can help to reduce the time the selling and buying process takes.

2. The second is the greater adoption of technology to increase efficiency in the conveyancing process. This could include standardised online sellers’ information packs, digital logbooks, automated Land Registry and local authority searches, and electronic platforms to share information between estate agents, conveyancing lawyers, mortgage brokers, surveyors, buyers and sellers. These innovations could speed up the buying and selling process, reduce the workload on conveyancers and allow for a smoother and faster completion of sales.

3. Thirdly, by choosing the right Hemel Hempstead conveyancer/solicitor. Hemel Hempstead homeowners can reduce the timescales for getting to exchange and completion.

4. Fourth, the government has started intervening (for good, for once). One massive issue is ensuring the relevant ‘material information’ prospective Hemel Hempstead home buyers need to know about a property is available up front when the property is marketed. This information will undoubtedly speed up the sales process and reduce sales falling through. Trading Standards are implementing a 3-stage strategy for the disclosure of ‘material information’ on the property when it comes onto the market. Part A was implemented in 2022, and Parts B & C will follow soon.

5. Finally, as a Hemel Hempstead homeowner, you can also do several things to speed up the transaction. Read on…

What can buyers and sellers do to speed up the process?

When buying or selling a Hemel Hempstead property, there are several steps you can take to speed up the conveyancing process.

To start with, instruct your conveyancer/solicitor before making an offer on the property so they can conduct anti-money laundering checks and be ready to start work. If you need any advice on choosing a conveyancer/solicitor in Hemel Hempstead, we can help. All good estate agents should be able to recommend a reputable, trusted conveyancer. It’s also essential to arrange your mortgage as soon as possible so you can complete your full mortgage application without delay and avoid potential hold-ups. Again, we can help with that, just ask our team. 

Other steps to speed up the conveyancing process include:

  • Instructing your conveyancer/solicitor to order your Local Search as soon as possible
  • Paying for your survey promptly
  • Getting your home paperwork in order such as planning etc.
  • Ask for regular updates from your conveyancer and estate agent so you’re fully informed about the progress of your sale or purchase
  • Don’t delay answering queries and nudging people along, as this can help speed up the conveyancing process.

Overall, taking these steps and being proactive can ensure a smoother and faster conveyancing process when buying a property. To conclude, the UK housing market has seen a surge in transactions, placing more significant pressure on the system, resulting in longer timescales to sell a property.

However, by adopting new technologies and choosing the right Hemel Hempstead estate agent and conveyancer/solicitor, Hemel Hempstead homeowners can reduce the time it takes to sell and buy their property and get to completion.


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