Moving house? Amy Sweetman gives step by step guidance

‘When do you think moving day will be?’ is one of the most common questions a solicitor encounters in the conveyancing process. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to give a definitive date early on because the timescale depends on so many different factors.

Whilst the average transaction takes 6-8 weeks, there are many reasons why your transaction might be taking a bit longer but here are my top three: -

You’re in a chain
It’s likely your purchase is dependent on you selling your own property and/or that the person selling to you needs to co-ordinate the purchase of another property in order to sell. Welcome to a chain!

Chains are an incredibly frustrating part of the conveyancing process. Whilst you and your solicitor can do everything in your power to ensure your house move is progressing well, your move depends on other sales and purchases you have no control over.

Avoiding a chain is tricky, especially if you’ve found your dream home. Quite often your estate agent is able to speak directly to people your solicitor can’t, so use their skill set wherever possible and be flexible, whilst you might have your heart set on moving by a certain date, individual circumstances might mean this simply isn’t achievable by everyone in the chain, despite everyone’s best efforts!

Your Property is Leasehold or Freehold with managed areas

Owning a Leasehold property usually means someone else is responsible for maintenance and repair of the building and common areas but even if your home is Freehold, it’s becoming increasingly common for many private estates to carry an expectation to contribute towards common areas and services, such as private roads and landscaped gardens.

Part of the process of buying your home will include making enquiries to ensure that the arrangements in connection with repair and maintenance of buildings and common areas are satisfactory and that you know what you’re expected to pay, when you’re expected to pay it and what’s covered for the fee!

No matter how small the charge or the common area, usually a pack of information will be required, adding an extra step and an extra third party to correspond with in the conveyancing process. If you know the property you’re selling carries a responsibility to contribute towards such matters, make your solicitor aware when you instruct them so that they can request information early and avoid any unnecessary delays.   

There’s something missing

If a Property is unregistered, a buyer will ask to see the Deeds as proof of ownership. Additionally, if the Property has been recently constructed or had any changes, your buyer will ask for paperwork evidencing that those changes comply with various regulations. Frequently, the required paperwork is incomplete or missing and resolving the issue can hold the buying and selling process up.

These are just examples of some of items required but instructing a solicitor the moment you put your property on the market or as soon as possible thereafter means your solicitors can pick up on any potential issues early on and work with you to iron out any problems in anticipation of a buyer being found.


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