When moving house, the conveyancing process is the longest and most confusing part of the process. It’s also the part where things go wrong, and delays happen.
Getting your solicitor to speed things along will rely on knowing how to put pressure on solicitors, which is probably how you’ve ended up here…
We’re here to help – answering how to put pressure on solicitors, as well as giving you tips on how to speed up the house moving process in general.
So, let’s not delay! The menu below will help you quickly find an answer to a question. Not sure where to start? Well, best to start at the beginning and get scrolling:
- Why are solicitors so slow?
- How quickly can house sale go through?
- How to put pressure on solicitors
- How to speed up Local Authority searches
Why are solicitors so slow?
The conveyancing process is very complex, often made more complex by various things going wrong. A solicitor won’t be (or at least shouldn’t be) going slow simply because they feel like it.
We’ve made a list of factors which may be causing a delay to the conveyancing process, to help you better understand why your solicitor might be going a little slower than you might like:
- Unsatisfactory enquiries – If a solicitor has received a response to an enquiry which they’re not happy with, then they will slow the process down to give them time to resolve the issue. In some cases, the solicitor may actually need to stop the process completely
- Slow mortgage lenders – If, like most people, you require a mortgage to buy a property, the process can be slowed down by your mortgage lender. You solicitor can only act as fast as your mortgage lender allows them to go and so it’s important you have everything in place for your mortgage to allow the process to move more smoothly
- Slow buyer or seller – There may be a case of the other party acting slowly, which will, of course, cause a slower conveyancing process. It’s important that you act fast when it comes to responding to enquiries or signing contracts, to allow your solicitor to act as fast as they can
- Too much work – If your solicitor is acting slow, it could be a case of them having too much work on their plates. At the moment, solicitors are very overworked, especially with the policies put in place by the government to boost the housing market (stamp duty holiday, we’re looking at you) and so there are great delays in the conveyancing process
- Confusing transaction – In an ideal world, every housing transaction would be smooth sailing. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and every experience is different, with some complex cases throwing a ‘spanner in the works’, making it harder for solicitors to move the process along
- Slow house survey – After a house survey, it can take a while to get results, especially if you’ve had a more in-depth survey or the property is bigger. The conveyancing process can’t go ahead without the survey results, meaning the solicitor is slowed down
How quickly can house sale go through?
For a more straightforward transaction, you shouldn’t expect your house sale to take longer than 6 to 8 weeks. Having said this, you may need to ensure you’re pushing your solicitor to achieve this time frame.
As we said earlier, at the moment, solicitors are so overwhelmed with work, with the stamp duty holiday and other policies put in place by the government boosting the housing market, the conveyancing process is taking much longer than normal.
According to research by ‘GetAgent’, it’s currently taking 295 days for a house sale to complete on the open market. Not prepared to wait that long? Don’t stress – we have some advice for both buyers and sellers to speed up the ‘moving house process’…
How to speed up the moving process:
- Book your survey in early – To make sure you fast track through the moving process, it’s a good idea to get your survey booked in ASAP – as we said earlier, without the survey results the conveyancing process can’t be completed. Also, results of your survey may lead to you wanting to do some renegotiation, which will naturally delay the process further. Once you get your survey results, you should ensure your solicitor is given a copy straight away
- Get your finances in place – Whether this means getting your mortgage sorted or making sure you can provide proof of funds, having all finances in place will mean that you won’t be slowing anything down and will be in a position to exchange
- Speed up the house searches – Don’t want to give any spoilers but we have a whole section on this later so make sure you keep your eyes peeled…
- Respond FAST – To make sure the moving process doesn’t drag, you should make sure you respond to any enquiry or sign any contracts as soon as you can. This will allow the solicitor to do their job and do it quickly
- Avoid a chain – This is harder to do if you’ve already committed to a house, but if you’re still on the hunt for your ‘dream house’ then do your best to avoid a chain. A chain appears when one transaction relies on another going through and will generally mean a slower process, or may even cause the sale to fall through if the chain was to ‘break’
- Solicitor in place – This applies to both buyers and sellers but instructing your solicitor you’re putting an offer in on a property makes them aware you will be needing them, so they will be ready to take action. Also make sure you know how to put pressure on solicitors to make sure they’re not slowing the process down (little spoiler – we have a whole section on this coming up next!)
- Sold STC – Push for your estate agent to put the house as sold subject to contract on property portals ASAP to stop another buyer coming along and putting an offer in
- Prepare paperwork – Even before you have a guaranteed buyer, it’s a good idea to gather the paperwork for your house, such as warranties, any planning permission, certificates, just anything that the buyer may want to see before they’re ready to exchange
- Respond FAST – Just like we said earlier for buyers, it’s just as important for sellers to make sure to respond to enquiries and sign contracts as soon as they can to speed things along
- Solicitor in place – Once again we mentioned this earlier for buyers, but it’s still crucial for sellers to inform their solicitor they’re selling their house, so solicitors know they will need to spring into action at short notice. Also make sure you know how to put pressure on solicitors, in the event your solicitor is slowing the process down
Now that last point leads us perfectly onto…
How to put pressure on solicitors
Knowing how to put pressure on solicitors could be key in making sure your moving house process is as smooth as possible.
Now judging by the fact you’re here, we’re going to assume you’re keen to know how to put pressure on solicitors and so we’re not going to make you wait any longer!
Here we have a list of our best tips when it comes to putting pressure on solicitors:
- Use your estate agent – One answer to ‘how to put pressure on solicitors’ is to use your estate agent. By this, we mean get your estate agent to continuously check in with your solicitor, whether that be daily or weekly, to remind the solicitor of the urgency of the situation, forcing them to move the process along
- Complain – Complaining is another way which may help to put pressure on solicitors. Whether that be to them directly or even escalate it to The Legal Ombudsman, no one likes when they’re being complained about and so this may prompt your solicitor to kick themselves into action
- Change solicitors – This may not be the most ideal option, but changing solicitor, or at least saying you will change solicitor, will apply pressure onto your solicitors. By actually changing solicitor you may slow the process down as you have to start ‘fresh’ but if you were to tell your solicitor you will change solicitor unless they speed up, then this will apply pressure to them as they don’t want to lose you
- Use your direct contact – If it’s the other parties’ solicitor who is delaying the process and you have direct contact with the other party, then you could contact them and ask them to get in touch with their solicitor. This way pressure is being applied to the solicitor, without you having to do it directly
- Give a deadline – By giving your solicitor a deadline, you’re allowing them to apply pressure onto themselves. What we mean by this is, giving a set date makes the solicitor push themselves to meet this target, without you needing to constantly ‘give them a nudge’
- Use your mortgage to your advantage – If you’re using a mortgage to help buy the property then you can use this to put pressure on solicitors. Mortgages will normally have a date by which they expire and so you can use this fact to push your solicitor to move faster
- Do your part – Another answer to ‘how to put pressure on solicitors’ is to make sure you do your part in being quick to respond to any queries and sign any contract as soon as you can. By doing this, you’re giving the solicitor no excuse for the process to be delayed
What can I do if my solicitor is not responding?
If your solicitor is not responding to you, you can use your estate agent to your advantage. It’s the estate agent’s job to keep an eye on the process, to ensure everything goes to plan and so if your solicitor isn’t doing as they should, you can get your estate agent to contact them and find out what the problem is.
If there’s still no response, you can lodge a complaint with The Legal Ombudsman. This, of course, will add an extra element of confusion into the process but should eventually help you come to a conclusion and help you move the conveyancing process along.
How often should I chase my solicitor?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this and it’s mainly down to how you feel. There’s nothing stopping you from checking in with your solicitor everyday if that’s what you feel you want to do.
Checking in with your solicitor on a regular basis is just another method of how to put pressure on solicitors, as it ensures they’re ‘keeping the ball rolling’ resulting in a speedier conveyancing process.
How often you feel you want to check in on your solicitor will also depend on where you are in the conveyancing process. At the start, there may be less for you to do and so you may not feel the need to follow up so often. By the end of the process, you may feel you want to check in with your solicitor on a daily basis to check everything is in place to go ahead as planned.
It is your solicitors’ job to ‘report’ to you when they have a significant update and so you shouldn’t NEED to chase them. However, it does let them know you’re keen to proceed and will help to apply the pressure on them.
Can I ring my buyers’ solicitor?
In short, no you can’t. Well, if you really wanted to you could but the other parties’ solicitor will not speak to you, as they’re not acting on your behalf.
If it’s the other parties’ solicitor who is holding up the process, you could get either your solicitor or the estate agent to contact the other solicitor to apply some pressure. Or if you have direct contact with the buyer, you could speak to them and ask them to contact their solicitor – another answer to ‘how to put pressure on solicitors’.
How to speed up Local Authority searches
Local Authority searches are another factor in the conveyancing process which may slow it down. After all, no survey results = no exchange.
Lucky for you, we’ve made a list of our best advice on how to speed up Local Authority searches:
- As we mentioned earlier, getting booked in early will mean a faster process as it means you will have no problem getting the survey done and you will get results back in a timely fashion
- If your surveyor is asking you questions, it’s important that you are responsive. This applies to both buyers and sellers and is crucial to getting the survey and searches done ASAP to get the process moving
- After your searches have taken place, you should check in with your solicitor to see whether or not they have the results. If they haven’t heard, you could contact the company who did your survey directly to ask where the results are or how long they will be
- If you can’t get booked in with your Local Authority, or there’s a long waiting list, to have your searches completed, you can look at doing some ‘personal searches’. A personal search is carried out by an employee of a search provider and is normally a quicker, more cost-effective method
Well, that’s everything you need to know about how to put pressure on solicitors, including why solicitors are so slow and how to speed up the general moving house process. Do you have something you want to add? Or maybe you want to have a go at writing an article? Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to get in touch!