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How long do property sale and purchase transactions take to complete?

‘How long will my property transaction take to complete?’ – is one of the most frequent questions that our Residential Property Team encounter.

On most occasions our response is either ‘we don’t exactly know until we investigate the Title’ or ‘standard conveyancing transactions can take up to 8 to 12 weeks’ – the latter response is always with the disclaimer that, we cannot guarantee this time frame because we have to first investigate the Title. Therefore, it is safe to say that there is no definitive answer. 

Conveyancing transactions can be straightforward but even with the most straightforward Title, external factors, such as there being many people involved in the chain, can create obstacles and delays in completions. In order to gain an approximate idea of how long a transaction can take it is important to understand the conveyancing process. Solicitors appreciate that most clients are lay people; therefore it would be unfair to expect clients to understand the process in great detail; but it is useful to get an idea of the process so that clients can make plans and prepare ahead of what can be a lengthy transaction. 


When acting for someone who is selling a residential property, the process is set out as follows:

  1. Take instructions from client 
  2. Prepare a draft Contract 
  3. Deduce Title 
  4. Answer Pre-Contract Enquiries
  5. Answer Queries on Title
  6. Exchange Contracts 
  7. Approve Purchase Deed
  8. Reply to Completion Information
  9. Prepare for Completion 
  10. Completion 


When acting for someone who is purchasing a residential property, the process is set out as follows:

  1. Take instructions from client
  2. Pre Contract Searches 
  3. Pre Contract Enquiries
  4. Investigate and Raise enquiries on Title
  5. Report on Title
  6. Approve draft Contract
  7. Exchange Contracts
  8. Draft Purchase Deed
  9. Request Completion Information 
  10. Pre-Completion Searches 
  11. Prepare for Completion 
  12. Completion 

As you can see there are many steps involved in each respective transaction, and issues can arise such as rights of access to a property or waiting for pre contract search results to come back from the local authority in question. Although the transaction can seem quite lengthy, we appreciate that clients want the transaction to complete as soon as possible. However, your conveyancer has a duty to mitigate any risk and/or loss to you therefore it is imperative that each step is taken with due care and skill. 

As mentioned earlier, there is no definitive answer to how long a conveyancing transaction takes to complete but our Residential Property Team will work towards to completing the matter to your intended ‘moving in’ or ‘moving out’ date. However, we must emphasise that we cannot always guarantee or commit to a particular time frame, for the reasons stated above.

If you would like to contact Barrett and Co’s Residential Property Team regarding your property sale or purchase, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0118 958 9711 or [email protected].

Further Reading:

Ownership of Client Files – Who owns what?

What Happens To Your Property If You Lose Mental Capacity?

Tenant Amendments in Commercial Leases (The Devil is in the Detail) – Reynolds Report

Get in Touch

Our Property and Commercial Department is headed by Martin Reynolds an experienced commercial solicitor with a background in commercial dispute resolution and insolvency law. To contact Martin and his team; call 0118 958 9711 or email [email protected].

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Advantage House, 87 Castle Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7SN. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number 549694).

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