“How long will it take?”


“How long will it take” is a question that our clients understandably ask regularly but that can leave our conveyancers with a desire to consult Mystic Meg.

As we rapidly head towards Valentine’s Day (and as love is no doubt in the air) let us tell you the story of a couple who collected the keys to their love nest in less than 4 weeks of the file being opened. Yes, it is possible and to quote from Twelve Angry Men, “It’s possible. But not very probable”.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we will begin:

  • Firstly, the clients had all the information that we required to hand and they provided it as soon as it was asked for. A significant and seemingly avoidable delay in conveyancing matters can be waiting for clients to provide up to date proof of identification and of their address. Solicitors are under a legal duty to take steps to combat money laundering and property fraud, so requests for this information have to be made, even if clients have used the same firm several times in the past.
  • We also generally ask for an amount of money on account due to expenses that we have to pay out on behalf of clients (known as “disbursements”). The sooner we are in funds, the sooner we can make progress.
  • Equally importantly, when our clients provided their initial information, it was all correct. So, at the very outset, we had the full names of the clients and the address of the property they were buying with no information missing. The clients had given us their correct and up to date telephone numbers and e-mails addresses so that as and when updates were required we could contact them without delay.
  • The transaction in question was a “Right to Buy” and so the clients did not require a mortgage. As such, the clients had decided that they did not want us to complete detailed Local Authority, Coal Mining and other searches so they were spared the black hole of about four weeks “waiting for searches”. However, another fact of our conveyancer’s life is that on many occasions local councils do not have the full and accurate names of their tenants, and so again this can cause a delay whilst paperwork is being finalised.
  • Also helpful in this case was the speed with which the relevant council progressed the matter at their end. We can be as quick as you like, but if the other side are on holiday, off ill, overwhelmed with work it can make a transaction difficult, if not impossible. Both sides must work together to make things happen.
  • As our story concludes, there was also an element of luck. This council completes its Right to Buy sales on a Monday, which just fell right to make it that bit quicker. All done in four weeks and our loving couple are living happily ever after…

We are always looking to assist and our clients ought to consider making Wills and possibly Lasting Powers of Attorney to best protect themselves and give them peace of mind as they look forward to their lives together. We are also reminded by our Litigation Department that our family lawyers remain on hand to assist in the event that the relationship breaks down!

Feel free to call our team on 0114 272 9721 to discuss any legal issues you may have.

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