Why does it take so long to move house?

by Iain Mason

Published on 10th November 2022

Why does it take so long to move house is a frequent comment from house buyers and sellers. As conveyancers, the most common question we are asked by house buyers and sellers is “how long will the process take?”

Our answer, that it takes three months on average, will often disappoint. The whole process of moving usually takes longer than people anticipate, but there are ways to help speed it up.

If you were on the property ladder in the early Noughties, you may remember the Home Information Pack (HIP), also known as a Seller’s Pack. Before a property could be marketed, sellers were obliged to compile a HIP to be made available to prospective buyers. The HIP contained useful information, such as local authority searches, title documents and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

HIPS were scrapped in 2010 (although the requirement for an ECP remains), partly because they were unpopular with sellers (who had to fund them) and some even believed they deterred people from marketing their homes.

However, going back to the question of “why does it take so long to buy a house”, having that information to hand certainly helped move the process along, because some of the many questions buyers asked had been answered within the HIP.

This is why back in February, the Government suggested it might reintroduce some form of HIP. The then Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, also said a new-look HIP could help prevent sales falling through. However, what a new version will look like, and when (and if) it will be introduced is unclear. There are increasing moves to have a digital-style pack, but time will tell if this is adopted.

In the meantime, without the use of a Home Information Pack, there is much that sellers can do to help move the conveyancing process along.

First, think about what has changed with the property since you moved in. Have you extended? Have you changed the boiler? Have you fitted new windows? Then gather together all the paperwork and documentation relating to this. For example, in the case of building work you’ll need evidence that this was signed off by building control.

What were the questions you wanted answers for, when you moved in? Again, compile any information that helps answer these questions.

Make sure you engage the services of a conveyancing lawyer early on in the process; don’t wait until an offer has been accepted on a property. That’s one simple way of avoiding delays.

Finally, be transparent about your property and share information with your conveyancing lawyer. This will speed up the transfer of information between each side’s legal team.

Ultimately, however, the process is the process; it involves a lot of paperwork, and it’s important to get it right. After all, it’s probably the most expensive and most important purchase you will ever make.

If you are buying or selling a property and need legal advice, the conveyancing team at Optimum Professional Services are happy to help, so please get in touch. Email Karen Gleed: kgleed@nulloptps.co.uk or Tara Screen: tscreen@nulloptps.co.uk.

We help people moving house with conveyancing advice, in Swindon, Wiltshire, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and the surrounding areas.

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