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Does a house move really have to take so long?

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No it doesn’t.


  • the house has a registered title
  • there are no linked transactions  (i.e. no chain)
  • the buyer has cash and does not require a survey
  • your buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitors are geared up to do it

Then it could take about 48 hours.

However, there are many elements that make up a house move, and the chances are that other house moves will be linked to your move. The more linked moves, inevitably the more time consuming your move will become.

Buying and Selling at the Same Time

Where you are buying and selling at the same time then the length of time it takes you to move will inevitably be longer than just a sale or purchase. If there are 2 to 3 parties in the chain (and no-one changes their minds and pulls out) then a reasonable time frame would be 6-12 weeks.

What causes delay in a conveyancing transaction?


We are living in different times since the financial crisis of 2008.

Banks and Building Societies have changed and their aversion to risk increased immensely. Lenders are lending less than they used to and their criteria for lending are more restrictive. This is unlikely to change much for the foreseeable future. The impact on the conveyancing process is that where once mortgages were issued within a couple of weeks or so, this process is now taking a lot longer.


Chains are usually part of the house buying process in England and Wales.

“Buyers” are able to make offers on property “subject to contract” which means they are not committing to buy the property until all their arrangements are in place, a survey commissioned and linked chains of transaction are complete and also ready to go.

Buyers and Sellers are able to withdraw from a sale or purchase on a whim, whether or not there is a valid reason, such as a bad survey, unsuitable mortgage finance.

Mortgage Panels

Where you are getting a mortgage to help you purchase your house or flat, your Lender will appoint a firm of solicitors who are on their panel of law firms to act. This way, the Lender ensures that their interests are fully protected before releasing the mortgage funds to enable the purchase to complete

In the majority of cases the law firm appointed will be the same firm that you have also instructed for your Conveyancing.  Sometimes the lender will appoint a different firm and where that happens there can be delay

Last year when HSBC decided to restrict their mortgage panel to about 40 law firms.  They did however eventually change their policy and expanded their panel again with the precondition that the Solicitors must have Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation

Conveyancing Quality Scheme

The good news is that law firms who have accreditation under the CQS are those with the procedures experience and ability to deal with conveyancing efficiently, and are preferred by Lenders.

Dawson Hart gained accreditation under the Scheme over a year ago.

Check to ensure your conveyancing solicitors are part of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme.

What can you expect?

Moving house can be very stressful.  There are a lot of uncertainties at the outset.

Try and reduce your stress levels by not harbouring unrealistic expectations about how quickly you can move house.  If you condition yourself to a 6-10 week period, then you will be delighted if it takes less time.

Do keep in touch with your solicitors regularly. Also communicate with your buyer or seller directly or through your Estate Agent as well so everyone is up to date.  If you are planning to go away on holiday then let them all know.

Then, even where there is an additional delay, so long as everyone in the chain is aware of the reason, the stress levels will reduce.