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Written in collaboration with Rosana Beechum

The conveyancing process in England and Wales is currently taking an average of more than four months.

Although the 127-day average is 27 days quicker than at the height of demand caused by the stamp duty holiday, it is still considerably longer than most people expect or would hope for. Those stuck in a property chain can expect their conveyancing to take considerably longer than the 127-day average.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your completion time, what are your options?

Limit the property chain

A property chain occurs when there are a number of related property sales. The number of links in a property chain are the number of property sales that need to coordinate for any sale to complete.

The easiest way to reduce your conveyancing time is to limit the length of any property chain. Chain-free buyers and sellers are highly desirable, and there’s a good reason for that. Around one in three people will experience a sale falling through, and many of those failed sales are due to the collapse of a property chain.

The best way to limit the length of a property chain is to sell your property to a chain-free buyer or buy from a chain-free seller.

Consider alternative ways to sell

If you’re working to a tight deadline, it might be wise to consider alternative ways to sell your property.

Property auctions and cash home buying companies can both offer a quicker alternative to selling on the open market. Auction sales are usually required to complete within 30 days of the auction date and a genuine cash home buying company should be able to purchase your property on a date of your choice, often in as little as a week if needed. Neither option is likely to result in as high a sale price as on the open market, so won’t be the right option for everyone, but if speed is more important to you than the price you achieve for the property, they can be great options.

Ensure you’re as prepared for conveyancing as you can be

One thing that can really hold a property sale up is a seller who does not have their paperwork together in anticipation of the sale.

Before you even put your property on the market, you should collect any paperwork relating to your property and its sale. This will include any guarantees or paperwork relating to any property improvements.

Examples of required paperwork include:

  • FENSA certificates for any double glazing
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – this can be organised by your estate agent
  • NHBC certificate if your property is a new build and still under warranty
  • Paperwork for any planning permission or building regulations connected to a property extension
  • Warranties or guarantees for any household appliances that will be included in the sale
  • Proof of boiler servicing

Having any relevant paperwork ready in advance will speed up the conveyancing process by enabling you to respond promptly to enquiries from your buyer’s solicitor.

Property sale timeframes are notoriously difficult to predict or control. These tips will help you to manage aspects that are within your control and help you to be as prepared as you can be. This will ultimately help to speed up your sale, but any conveyancing that involves multiple parties is always going to be slower and more complicated than a chain-free sale.

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