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The last 18 months have seen the house buying process become more and more problematic. From offer to completion and every stage in between. Solicitors, valuers and lenders have experienced logistical problems that have caused huge delays in what was once an efficient process.

If you have just had an offer accepted, or are looking for a home with the intention of being in before Christmas, here are some ways in which you can assist your mortgage intermediary to help make this happen.

As mentioned above, logistical challenges have led to the house buying process extending from an average of 8/10 weeks to an eye watering 21 weeks!

Most property transactions are taking an additional 50 days to complete.

There are more than 500,000 properties that are currently sat with offers accepted in the UK. The majority are with solicitors going through the conveyancing process.

The delays are due to several issues.

Firstly, vast numbers of legal conveyancers left the profession as part of the impact of the stamp duty holiday that was introduced in 2020. The rush to purchase a home and take advantage of paying no stamp duty on properties up to the value of £500,000 had a huge impact on the working conditions within the industry and many sadly reached breaking point.

Secondly, the majority of government offices reverted to home working without having the infrastructure in place to support their day-to-day business. This included planning offices, land registry and legal departments.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, lenders! Most lenders have been impacted in the same way as local authorities, with the added addition of a much more cautious credit approach. This has significantly drawn out the application process through to underwriting, valuation and offer.

So, how can you help to move things forward:

Instruct a solicitor early!

This is important. Speaking to a solicitor at the earliest opportunity will allow them to carry out their initial due diligence checks on you (the buyer) ahead of your mortgage application. Once this has been satisfied, you can arrange to meet your mortgage broker and on completion of your application, instruct your solicitor to start the legal process.

Your Mortgage Application 

Speak to your broker at the earliest opportunity. Securing a meeting, and subsequent mortgage in principle/application will give you a head start. Your broker will provide you with valuable advice and support you through the process.

Research the local area and register with the local estate agents 

The majority of home movers must sell before they can buy. It is essential that you research the local area and register your details with the local estate agents. They will look for properties that meet your criteria. If you are looking to sell at the same time, they can also market your property to potential buyers. This is a vital part of the “chain”.

Search for a chain-free property 

If you purchase a property that is that has no chain (a current owner looking to move themselves), then this will speed up the process. You will be less at risk of the current owner of the property you are buying failing to move. Try to keep the process simple, and within your control.

Speed up your searches 

As referred to earlier, there are lengthy delays with local searches that are vital to the conveyancing process being carried out by your solicitor. It is their job to manage that position, buy you can do some additional homework (including current timeframes) by searching on

Prioritise paperwork – no one can do this for you!

Sadly, if you aren’t a fan of paperwork, then this will be your least pleasurable part of the journey.

If you’re selling your home at the same time, there will be a number of additional documents to deal with aside from those referenced in the paragraph regarding solicitors.

There will be a number of documents including a Property Information Form, which asks for specific details in relation to your property. This can be in the form of guarantees, planning and building consent, and any neighbour disputes. This is very important as failure to disclose such items can have legal implications post completion.  This document is completed by all sellers and will then be sent to your solicitor to form part of the due diligence process.

I would recommend completing this paperwork at the earliest opportunity as it will be time consuming. Ensure that you have information such as; a copy of the lease if your home is leasehold, freehold documentation, any guarantees, certificates for replacement windows and a Gas Safety certificate for a new boiler.

Engaging a removal firm

Removal firms are a key part of the process, unless you wish to hire a van and do it yourself, something I wouldn’t recommend. Most reputable removal firms are in demand, so arranging this as soon as you have a provisional move date is a must!

I hope that you have found this brief guide useful.

If you require any further information, or guidance through the process, then please feel free to call Ben Horsfield, our Head of Mortgage Services on 0161 969 1703 or email