For most of us, buying a property is the single biggest financial outlay we will make, alongside being of the most stressful life events. As a result, we want to ensure that the sale and purchase process proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Whilst the majority of conveyancing transactions proceed without any problems; occasionally problems can arise and cause a delay, the more common of which we look at here.


If you are obtaining mortgage finance, your lender will require a valuation to be carried out.  These are relatively quick, but delays can occur in them being organised by the lenders.

Mortgage valuations are basic and only for the benefit of the lenders, therefore we always recommend instructing your own survey.  These can take slightly longer in terms of the surveyor being instructed, completing the survey and writing it up.  A negative survey can result in a buyer withdrawing from a transaction, although this fortunately doesn’t happen often.


Delays occur when someone in the chain doesn’t have finances in place. If there is a temporary delay with the deposit, for example, it will cause a hold-up. However, if the relevant buyer doesn’t have the deposit, then it could cause the chain to break.

Since the introduction of new rules in 2014, it takes longer for potential borrowers to be approved for a mortgage, as lenders must carry out more checks to ensure the borrower’s affordability, even if interest rates go up. Sometimes delays can be caused by simple things such as mistakes in the mortgage application or by third parties, for example accountants providing up to date accounts for a self-employed person.

Mortgage offers typically last for three to six months. Extended delays in the conveyancing process can result in the mortgage offer expiring and needing to be reapplied for, causing further delays.


When obtaining mortgage finance, there are some searches your conveyancer will be obliged to obtain on your behalf.  Of these, the local authority search is likely to take the longest to be returned.  Your conveyancer should be able to keep you informed as to the likely timescales involved.

Other specific property searches might be required depending upon the circumstances, for example a coal mining search or a flood search if these issues are relevant to the property.  These are usually returned within 24 hours of ordering.

Buying a house can feel like a daunting process, but that’s why it’s important to choose an experienced conveyancer to deal with the transaction. Contact Farleys’  residential conveyancing team on 0845 287 0939 or email us.