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Revealed: the delays that make house-buying painfully slow

A PropTech firm has calculated the different delays that lead to transactions taking an average 120 days (and often much longer) from SSTC to completion.

Earlier this year one PropTech company - EMEA Matterport - reported that it takes on average, six months and 24 days to purchase a home. The report looked at the entire process from searching for a property online through to completion with the longest element being the exchange of contracts.

Now another PropTech company - View My Chain, a property platform designed to improve the transaction process - has been able to break this down even further, looking at the key milestones between SSTC to completion.  


View My Chain’s data tracks sales progression for both the key financial and legal milestones, with the latest results showing a total average of 120 days to completion.

Having looked at thousands of chains it found that it takes on average 23 days for searches to be ordered once a property is sold subject to contract.

It then takes on average 10.2 days for the local council to return searches. This timeframe varies greatly throughout the UK with some areas taking up to 50 days.

Once searches have been returned, an average of 31 days are needed for enquiries to be satisfied and a further seven days to get the sale ready for exchange.

Once sold subject to contract it takes on average 17 days for the mortgage application to be submitted and a further 21 days for a mortgage to be offered.

Sohail Rashid, founder and chief executive of View My Chain, states:  “One of the biggest changes needed in the current process is for sales progression to be managed at a chain level rather than just individual transactions. We all know that the path from SSTC to exchange of contracts doesn’t always run smoothly.

“There is a lack of transparency and certainty in the process which leads to additional delays and frustrations. Our mission is to remove this by allowing all parties involved in the sale and purchase to access data such as the length of chain, listing status, searches ordered, searches delivered and mortgage applications.”  

View My Chain has based its figures on thousands of chains managed through its platform in 2019. 

Legal Timeline:

Milestone 1 - SSTC to Searches ordered: 23 days

Milestone 2 – Searches ordered to Searches Returned: 10.2 days (UK average)

Milestone 3 – Searches Returned to Enquiries satisfied: 31 days

Milestone 4 – Enquiries Satisfied to Ready to Exchange: 7 days

Milestone 5 – Ready to Exchange to Exchange: 8 days

Milestone 6 – Exchange to Completion: 7 days

Financial Timeline:

Milestone 1 – SSTC to Mortgage Application: 17 days

Milestone 2 – Mortgage Application to Mortgage offered: 21 days

  • Peter Ambrose

    This is very interesting reading although the terminology is a touch confusing.
    As expected, the majority of the time is spent post-searches (60%) which is not surprising and where we see the majority of issues. Unfortunately, solving the problem is not going to be easy - this is due to the overall inefficiencies of most law firms who do not have a structured approach to enquiry management. This requires investment, financial commitment and technology ... Three things that for many law firms are simply not practical due to low margins caused by low fees ... Caused by ... Yep - the intermediaries who undermine the conveyancing industry ...

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    What no mention of leasehold properties, the cause of the biggest delays by a long way?

  • Richard Copus

    All the more reason to use traditional auction wherever suitable. All the info (bar survey) upfront, 5 to 7 weeks marketing, exchange of contracts on the fall of the gavel and completion 4 weeks thereafter. No fuss, no nonsense, no delays and a tried and tested method for well over a century.

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    • 20 November 2019 16:31 PM

    Well done again TwentyCi on some great data. Very helpful to all firms, like ours that have a very defined Milestone structure for the transaction and wish to beat industry averages.


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