As demand for property continues to be high we know that many buyers and sellers are becoming increasingly impatient to secure a purchase or sale and want to understand the timescales involved. Here we provide a few answers to questions that are often asked and which apply to the English and Welsh property market.\n\n \n\nHow long does a seller have to respond to an offer on a house?\n\nThere’s usually an expectation that the seller will accept or reject the offer within a day or so. If there is high demand for the property it is possible that the process may take a little longer if the seller has numerous offers to consider. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s not always the highest offer that is considered but how quickly the buyer could complete the purchase and what position they are currently in.\n\nHow long does it take to sell a house from offer to completion?\n\nIt depends on market conditions, how long the property chain is and demand locally. On average, it usually takes between six to 13 weeks (although currently this can be up to 16 weeks) but this is very much reliant on the speed at which your conveyancing solicitor, your local authority and other parties involved (including yourself) handle paperwork and requests that come in. It’s really important therefore to ‘stay on top’ of each stage in the process and to act quickly if you need to provide information or respond to enquiries that may arise along the way. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the process can currently take longer, due to current high volumes, so it’s important to have a ‘good’ solicitor in mind who you can contact as soon as an offer on the property is accepted.\n\nWhat are the timescales involved in Conveyancing?\n\nIn can be around 12 weeks. There are different stages that the conveyancing solicitor will have to go through. These include gaining confirmation that you have a mortgage or funds available to buy the property, drafting contracts, arranging local authority searches associated with the property being bought (which can take weeks to obtain), obtaining land registry information, handling pre-contract enquiries and liaising throughout with the buyer\/seller and corresponding solicitor.\n\nHow long after signing the contract do you exchange?\n\nIt’s usually very quick (within a day) and relies heavily on the conveyancing solicitors making the contracts available to each other, usually via recorded delivery. The buyer must also have the deposit ready for the exchange to be completed and buildings insurance ready to be activated as the new owner.\n\nWhat time of day does an exchange of contract usually take place?\n\nThere’s nothing ‘set in stone’ but many conveyancing solicitors choose to exchange contracts around midday and at this point the buyer is legally committed to buy the property – with completion usually taking place within the following two weeks – usually during the afternoon with Friday being a popular day. In some cases the exchange and completion can take place on the same day which may have an impact on the time of exchange.\n\nA seller may want to delay completion, because of difficulty in securing an onward purchase, but this should be agreed prior to exchange. \n\nOverall buying or selling a house can raise a lot of questions and whilst these may help, if you have more, don’t forget to check out our Guide to the Conveyancing Process or our Guide for Sellers and for Buyers in England and Wales.\n\nPlease note different processes apply to Scotland – with more information available in our Scottish Sellers Guide and our Scottish Buyers Guide.\n\nAlternatively why not gain the support of one of our branches who may be able to act as your agent.