Average transaction time stretches another 15 working days as it takes longer to complete

It is taking 15 working days longer than a year ago to get a transaction through from acceptance of an offer to completion.

One immediate hold-up is over four weeks – 23 working days – before searches are ordered.

Another is the time it takes to apply for a mortgage – 17 working  days, or just over three weeks.

The total average time, from Sold Subject to Contract to completion, is now 120 working days.

The time is up 15 working days, or three weeks,  from a year ago, according to new data from property platform View My Chain.

It said that it takes an average of 23 days for searches to be ordered once a property’s status is SSTC.

It then takes an average of 10.2 days for the local authority to return searches.

However, this timeframe varies greatly throughout the UK, with some councils taking up to 50 days.

Once searches have been returned, an average of 31 days are needed for enquiries to be satisfied and a further seven days to get the sale ready for exchange.

Funding, while simultaneous, typically equates to around a third of the time taken in the completion process.

Once sold subject to contract it takes on average 17 days for the mortgage application to be submitted and a further 21 days for a mortgage to be offered.

View My Chain founder Sohail Rashid said: “There is a lack of transparency and certainty in the process which leads to delays and frustrations.”

He added: “One of the biggest changes needed in the current process is for sales progression to be managed at a chain levl, rather than just individual transactions.”

The timescales below are all from View My Chain (all times quoted are working days):

Legal Timeline:

Milestone 1 – SSTC to Searches ordered: 23 days

Milestone 2 – Searches ordered to Searches Returned: 10.2 days (UK average)

Milestone 3 – Searches Returned to Enquiries satisfied: 31 days

Milestone 4 – Enquiries Satisfied to Ready to Exchange: 7 days

Milestone 5 – Ready to Exchange to Exchange: 8 days

Milestone 6 – Exchange to Completion: 7 days

Financial Timeline:

Milestone 1 – SSTC to Mortgage Application: 17 days

Milestone 2 – Mortgage Application to Mortgage offered: 21 days

Earlier this year, agency supplier Matterport reported that it takes on average six months and 24 days to buy a house in total, starting with the search for a property and ending with completion.

From browsing to buying – time it takes to purchase a property




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  1. 0racle


    and yet it’s agents that get the bad press!

  2. JonnyBanana43

    Often poorly qualified…usually a conveyancer not a solicitor..

    The main problem is firms don’t CHARGE enough. The consumer would happily pay a bit more to have a better, and quicker, service.

    1. Peter Ambrose (The Partnership)

      We really can’t let that comment go without challenge.

      Suggesting that because someone has a certain type of qualification means that they are more efficient is rather a stretch.

      It’s like saying because an estate agent is a fellow of the NAEA that they are better at selling houses than someone who isn’t.

      There is so NO connection between the two!

      A good agent sells houses well and a lazy one doesn’t.  A good lawyer is efficient and a bad one isn’t.

      1. Paulfromromsey87

        Whilst transactions take far longer than they should for a host of reasons, this report is frankly a load of rubbish.  The legal and financial parts of a sale run alongside each other NOT one after the other.  120 working days equals 24 weeks, way more than the actual average (choose a number between 10 and 16).  We’d all be out of business if sales took this long!

  3. BryanMansell

    PROPERTY INDUSTRY EYE TERMS & CONDITIONS #6. Users posting comments on the site may not post direct hyperlinks to other websites and especially may not do so by use of their username. Users may not use comments to promote a service or business.

    1. smile please

      Bryan do us a favour and stop plugging this **** product you are associated with, PIE keeps censoring you but you keep persisting.

    2. Retiredandrelaxed

      Bryan – I agree with SP but please keep posting and contributing to this forum but also take the hint and stick to the PIE Ts & Cs

  4. Yatesy5486

    I would be interested to see where the data for these statistics comes from. Waiting 23 days before ordering searches on an agreed sale seems extraordinary but it is common for some law firms to delay ordering them until their buyer has a mortgage offer, believing that they are protecting their buyer from the risk of losing the cost of search fees.
    Ultimately, the problem with conveyancing is that it is not a well-paid legal sector and therefore law firms continue to take on more work to compensate. More work means more clients to service and less time spent on each case. We should all want to see fee earners being paid a decent wage so we get the right people helping our clients to move and with the time to do so.

    1. aSalesAgent

      I assume View My Chain starts the clock when the offer is accepted, not when the Memorandum of Sale is issued, when the solicitors are instructed, or when the draft contract pack is sent. That would explain why it might take an average 23 days to submit searches – because we’re all waiting for ID to be produced, paperwork to be reviewed and, finally, search funds to be transferred.
      You are right to note that there are many conveyancers who insist their clients do not submit searches until mortgage instructions are received, further delaying the homebuying process.

  5. PeeBee


    From the company website (pop-up):

    “Whether you’re an agent or a home-mover, View My Chain can make the process of moving smoother.”

    Am I the only person wondering how come a company that claim to reduce the time taken are now quoting an increase in the number of days between acceptance of an offer and legal completion?

    Or… maybe they think the process become smoother the longer it takes?  That would explain it.

    Don’t forget to tell that to all your buyers and sellers, folks!

    1. aSalesAgent

      View My Chain also claim their product “…empowers the proactive agent to complete faster than ever before.” Presuming that all their data comes from sales they were involved in, doesn’t this prove their product does not work and that their users are now taking longer to exchange than they were last year, and the year before that?

      I would have been interested to know why they think sales are taking longer on average. Is it because searches are taking longer (not according to the data); are conveyancers raising more enquiries; maybe it’s the management packs and other third-party information?

      Is it possible that sales are taking longer to exchange contracts because more of our buyers have chains, due maybe to there being less chain-free investors snapping up properties?

      Also, are we sure it’s an extra 15 working days?

  6. Nemo Conveyancer

    He added: “One of the biggest changes needed in the current process is for sales progression to be managed at a chain levl, rather than just individual transactions.”
    Managed by who, and how? Even if all parties in the chain were to use it, it would still only be a tracking system. It will do nothing to actually move the transactions forward, only log what has already happened.

    Are we suggesting that one agent use this to sales progress the entire chain, rather than just their transaction? Or are all agents in the chain to progress all transactions? (subtext: neither is workable)

  7. J1

    A chain will always go at the speed of its slowest component – it might be an admin person at a mortgage arranger’s for example

    As soon as conveyancing becomes automated agency will die……

    You can keep it as it is until I retire if you don’t mind……..

  8. TwitterSalisPropNews

    If conveyancers would treat each file they touch as if it were their own personal home move, then deals would fly. But they don’t because they either lack legal training (thus confidence to offer up solutions in the same breath as their enquiries) or they do not think they have a stake in the firm, so why should they go that extra mile beyond 9-5pm. Am I missing another reason why there are good and mediocre conveyancers?

    Legal Timeline:

    Milestone 1 – SSTC to Searches ordered: 23 days   –   It is almost the norm with selling lawyers to take 2 weeks to send out legal papers. Weirdest of things, but it’s 2 weeks. We send them out the same day as the memo of sale, we even email the search plan to buyers in the hope that like us, they don’t wait for money on account to get on with the searches.

    Milestone 2 – Searches ordered to Searches Returned: 10.2 days (UK average) About right

    Milestone 3 – Searches Returned to Enquiries satisfied: 31 days Again, it takes vast mumbers of selling law firms a further 2 weeks to reply to enquiries. Often missing the point on many or wasting time to dodge others, only to require a further set, and then another of their 2 weeks delay. Yet the moment we receive enquiries we email them straight to our client to reply to and then email them back the same day/next. Huge PR. Not rocket science.

    But then again, we have solicitor led Team Leaders – sorry Peter




    1. aSalesAgent

      To be fair, solicitors are not requisite to having timesaving conveyancing processes in place, e.g. submitting searches, or forwarding an email, the same day.

      Out of genuine interest, do you submit searches before you receive the buyer’s completed client care pack, and why do you think the vast majority of conveyancers/solicitors delay the searches? Is it they cannot afford not to recoup the search fee if a sale promptly falls through, and risk being reported to LeO if they try to?

      I have a local solicitor who refuses to submit searches until she receives mortgage instructions and it’s infuriating when stuck for weeks waiting.


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