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6th January 2021

How Long Does It Take to Buy a House With No Chain?

Conveyancing is quite a lengthy process, and it is almost impossible to determine the exact timescales involved. However, usually, a conveyance might take anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks, particularly when a property is tied to a chain. On the other hand, the process can be shorter when there is no onward chain. Chain-free properties are rare, but are out there. But, exactly how long would it take you to buy a house with no chain? Here is everything you need to know.

What is a Chain in Conveyancing?

A property or conveyance chain is a sequence of connected property transactions, each of which depends on the foregoing and subsequent purchase. Conveyance chains are the primary source of delay in the process of buying a property. This is because sellers tend to list their houses in the property market with an expectation to purchase new properties using the proceeds of other house transactions. Ideally, what this means is that there is more demand than supply for properties, and it might take longer for a buyer to acquire a house than it is for a seller to dispose of their property.

Property owners can create a chain-free scenario by purchasing new houses before listing their current homes in the property market. In this case, buyers need to consider property sellers that are already settled in other houses. However, keep in mind that buying a property in a chain-free scenario does not always guarantee a shorter buying process. This is because of other potential issues that might be linked to the property you intend to purchase, such as unpaid taxes, payment dues, or even disputes.

Average Timescale for a Chain-free Conveyance

On average, the process of completing a property conveyance without a chain can take up to about 4 weeks. This is good news for a person planning to move into their new house in the shortest time possible. With time completion of paperwork and release of search results, there is no good reason why purchasing a new chain-free property should take more than 4 weeks. In the UK, only 1 out of 10 property transactions are chain-free. Such properties exist in such scenarios as homeowners moving abroad, houses disposed on behalf of a person that has passed away, or homes owned by property investors.

Also, newly built houses are considered to be chain-free. Therefore, when purchasing a new property from house builders, no other transactions are linked to that process.

What Slows Down the Conveyancing Process?

Buying a property can be a complicated process sometimes. As such, there are potential factors that are likely to slow down the process of acquiring a property. These factors include the following;

  • Conveyance Chains

A conveyance chain is one of the many factors that can slow down the process of buying a property. The complexities of arranging transactions and other legal details by every party involved in the chain are notorious for delaying the conveyance of a home.

  • Surveys

Surveys are critical when it comes to the exchange of ownership rights of a property from the seller to the buyer. Unfortunately, a slow surveying process implies a lengthy conveyance.

  • Search Delays

Search delays are quite popular during the peak times of the year. The longer it takes to receive your search results, the more time it will take you to acquire a new property.

  • The Mortgage Factor

The time taken to acquire a formal mortgage offer must always be factored in determining the overall timescale of a conveyance. When the acquisition of actual mortgage funds is delayed, the timeframe of buying a property is also slowed down.

  • Delays in Paperwork

When the seller’s solicitor delays in preparing and sending the paperwork to your solicitor, there is no doubt that you will have to wait longer to acquire the property.

How to Minimise Delays with No Chain

The general rule to avoiding conveyance chains is by identifying a seller who has no subsequent or foregoing property transactions to the one you are about to initiate. On the other hand, you can avoid delays linked to property chains by ensuring you do not have any other house transaction subsequent to the one you are starting with a new seller. However, as illustrated above, chains are not the only factors that contribute to conveyance delays. So, how do you minimise conveyance delays when there is no chain involved? Here are some helpful tips.

  • Appoint a competitive solicitor

In addition to providing legal guidance to their clients, solicitors are mandated to act on behalf of sellers or buyers in the conveyance of properties. With an experienced and competitive solicitor, you can rest assured that the paperwork, contract signing, payments, and other legal procedures in the conveyance framework are well taken care of. You can push your solicitor to have everything finished in time and in the right way. This way, all the unnecessary delays are eliminated.

  • Be available always

Your availability throughout the process is critical as far as conveyance timescales are concerned. This includes being available for surveys and responding to all queries raised by your solicitor. Delays on your part (for example, delaying to respond to your solicitor’s emails) could slow down the conveyance of the property in question.

  • Work on a Completion Date

The sooner you establish a completion date for the process and initiate negotiations at an early stage, the faster you will acquire the property at hand.

  • Do your homework thoroughly

In this case, you want to ascertain that the conveyancer you choose to act on your behalf is highly qualified, experienced, and competent for the process. Also, please do your research on a property before you commit to it. This will save you time and money too.

  • Online Conveyancing

There are plenty of reasons why an online conveyance is considered faster and more reliable. For example, you can share information with your seller at any service and hour, including timelines outside the working or office hours. This means that surveys and searches can be facilitated at faster times and queries addressed in the shortest time possible. There is no better way to buy a house faster than online conveyancing.

Tips for Buying a House with No Chain

To acquire a property in good time, consider the following tips;

  1. Never allow the agent to do all the communication

Estate agents play a critical role in liaising with solicitors, sellers, buyers, and other property professionals in the conveyance of a property. However, since you are the one purchasing the house, ensure that all the communication is not left for the agent. The only point in which the agent should be given some latitude of freedom is in ensuring that all the moving parts remain intact and that you are kept in the loop with the other parties.

  1. Maintain contact with your solicitor to ensure that all your responses and uploads have been received successfully.
  2. Maintain constant feedback. This is the only you will eliminate confusion, delays, and the pressure arising from lack of information on your part as the buyer.
  3. Select your conveyancer wisely. Not every cheap quote means good to your property conveyance.


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