How long does conveyancing take in 2023?
Updated May 2023
Rightmove reports that it took 150 days (21.5 weeks) on average to move house (from offer accepted to completion day) in 2022, and things likely haven’t changed much since then. This means that half of all purchases take even longer than 150 days.
In contrast, our data shows that Juno takes about 90 days from offer to exchange on the average freehold (house) purchase. Leasehold (flat) purchases typically take 4-6 weeks longer than freehold to reach exchange.
How many weeks does conveyancing take in 2023?
What’s important to note is that there’s a lot of variation in the amount of time conveyancing can take. While some cases take longer, we regularly complete simpler freehold cases in 6-8 weeks (and we’re getting faster over time).
The blue dots are a sample of freehold purchase cases we completed in the last 6 months. The Y axis shows how many weeks it took to complete the case. We start our timer on the day we receive the memorandum of sale (MOS) from the seller’s lawyer, which enables us to start our legal work on a purchase case. We usually receive the memorandum of sale 1 week after the offer has been accepted.
How long do the searches take?
Each purple dot represents one or more purchase cases we’ve worked on in the last 6 months.
When someone’s made an offer on a property, their conveyancer will collect information from lots of places, including a “local search” of data from the local authority. Local searches take an average of 10 calendar days to be returned in 2023. That’s the median value for Juno clients across England and Wales - you can look up your local authority here to see how long it’ll take for you. Local searches in 2023 have been significantly faster than last year so far (17 day median in 2022).
Most law firms don’t order searches right away, and they often won’t start any legal work for a couple of weeks. They might be waiting for their new clients to sign and post back a letter of instruction, or else they’re waiting to be paid their initial fee before they do anything.
If you’re buying a home with Juno, we start the legal work as soon as our client has their offer accepted, and we order the local search on the same day.
If you’re selling a home with Juno, we’ll often preemptively order the local search and send it to the buyer’s lawyer - at our own expense - so we don’t have to wait for them to do it themselves.
How Long After Searches to Exchange?
Once the searches are received by the buyer’s conveyancer, they usually have some follow-up questions for the seller’s lawyer. These are called enquiries, and they can take a long time to resolve.
Most law firms are currently taking 100 days or longer to resolve all their enquiries and exchange signed contracts with the seller. At Juno, we resolve enquiries and exchange contracts on house purchases in an average of 67 days.
People buying a leasehold property through Juno (most flats and some houses) have to wait another 20-30 days on average to exchange. That’s usually because the leasehold management company takes a long time to answer questions.
When the enquiries are all resolved then we’re usually ready to exchange contracts, although if there’s a chain it can take longer to get all the purchases ready to go.
Each green dot represents one or more freehold purchase cases we’ve exchanged in the last 6 months.
Most conveyancers take over a week to reply to enquiries
Our data shows that the average conveyancer takes over a week to respond to each set of enquiries we send them (even if they’re really simple). That’s usually because the firm has taken on too much work for their team to handle, so the enquiries sit in a queue for a week before anyone reads them.
At Juno, we usually respond to enquiries on a house sale in 1-2 working days, which we can do because we keep our case load within strict limits. Sometimes it takes a bit longer to respond if we need an answer from our clients or a leasehold management company. If that’s the case we politely chase them for a reply every couple of days.
How to stop enquiries going back and forth multiple times
Almost all property transactions have enquiries that go back and forth multiple times before resolution. That can delay exchange by weeks, even if there’s only one enquiry left to resolve.
At Juno we try to avoid this by sending enquiries that can be answered first time, or by giving the client the option to resolve it with an indemnity policy if that’s right for them.
How Long Between Exchange and Completion?
Most people want a few days between exchange of contracts (when everything is agreed) and completion (when you can actually move in). The average time from exchange to completion for people buying through Juno is 7 days.
But sometimes people want to exchange and complete on the same day. Some conveyancers still charge up to £500 for this option, which means the whole chain can be delayed if one person doesn’t want to be held to ransom by their own lawyer. At Juno, we do simultaneous exchange and completion for no extra charge.
How long does it take to buy a house with no chain in 2023?
Our data shows that people who can buy their home without selling another property can usually exchange 1-2 weeks faster than people whose purchase relies on a linked sale. But it’s a lot faster if the buyer and seller are both using the same law firm for their conveyancing.
So if you’re selling a property to someone who’s not in a chain, choose Juno for the conveyancing, and ask the buyer to do the same and use Juno to act on both sides. This will make your sale faster and reduce the chances of it falling through.
Updated May 2023
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Note: All figures above are drawn from a large, representative sample of Juno purchase transactions, including mortgage purchases, and properties funded by linked sales and/or in chains. Unless stated otherwise we have used median average for Juno performance, since that is the most representative measure for elapsed time on home buying transactions.