Property Market

Why Does it Still Take 137 Days to Buy a Chelmsford House?

As an experienced Chelmsford estate agent, I have seen many Chelmsford homeowners frustrated by how long it takes to buy and sell their property and complete the sale.

In this article, I will explain why buying and selling a home in Chelmsford takes so long and how you can speed up the home-buying process.

One of the main reasons why it takes so long to sell a house is the conveyancing process.

Conveyancing refers to the legal process of transferring property ownership from the seller to the buyer, which is the time between the offer being accepted and the completion of the sale.

In the last 12 months, it has taken 125 days on average from the time an offer is accepted to the completion of the sale
(up from 117 days in 2021).

125 days or just under 18 weeks is a long time on anyone’s calendar!

This can be frustrating for everyone as their life is on hold for over four months, waiting for the conveyancing (and mortgage) to get sorted.

The problem with the conveyancing process is that it needs to be fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

Many blamed local authorities for taking too long to complete their searches (a vital part of the conveyancing process), often taking up to seven or eight weeks to complete in 2021.

However, the national average in the last nine months has now dropped to two weeks (although there are some local anomalies) … and it still takes just as long to sort the conveyancing out.

So let me look at the local Chelmsford stats first, then discuss what can be done.

In the last 12 months in Chelmsford, it has taken 137 days on average from when an offer is accepted to the completion of the sale (up from 128 days in 2021).

Interestingly, it only took an average of 45 days from putting the Chelmsford home on the market to agreeing on the offer – although anecdotal evidence is suggesting that figure is getting higher for the most recent sales in the last quarter.

(Chelmsford is CM1/2/3).

So, what are the issues?

Firstly, the number of annual property sales nationally has increased by 50% in the past decade, up from 803,800 in 2012 to over 1,263,440 in 2022. That means more work for conveyancing firms.

However, the number of conveyancing firms decreased by 10% in that period, meaning the number of conveyancing cases a solicitor was dealing with increased from an average of the early 40’s at the end of 2012 to the late 70’s by 2022.

To speed up the conveyancing process, here are five things that should help.

To start, a good Chelmsford estate agent should value your property accurately, price it correctly, and market it effectively to attract the right Chelmsford buyers. They should also be able to manage the conveyancing process effectively, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and quickly.

The second is the greater adoption of technology to increase efficiency in the conveyancing process. This could include standardised online sellers’ information packs, digital logbooks, automated Land Registry and local authority searches, and electronic platforms to share information between estate agents, conveyancing lawyers, mortgage brokers, surveyors, buyers and sellers. These innovations could speed up the buying and selling process, reduce the workload on conveyancers and allow for a smoother and faster completion of sales.

Thirdly, by choosing the right Chelmsford conveyancer/solicitor.

Chelmsford homeowners can reduce the timescales for getting to exchange and completion.

Fourth, the government has started intervening (for good, for once). One massive issue is ensuring the relevant ‘material information’ prospective Chelmsford home buyers need to know about a property is available up front when the property is marketed. This information will undoubtedly speed up the sales process and reduce sales falling through. Trading Standards are implementing a 3-stage strategy for the disclosure of ‘material information’ on the property when it comes onto the market. Part A was implemented in 2022, and Parts B & C will follow soon.

Finally, as a Chelmsford homeowner, you can also do several things to speed up the transaction.

When buying a Chelmsford property, there are several steps you can take to speed up the conveyancing process.

To start with, instruct your conveyancer/solicitor before making an offer on the property (if you need any advice on choosing a conveyancer/solicitor in Chelmsford, drop me a line), so they can conduct anti-money laundering checks and be ready to start work. It’s also essential to arrange your mortgage as soon as possible (again, we can help with that if need be), so you can complete your full mortgage application without delay and avoid potential hold-ups.

Other steps to speed up the conveyancing process include instructing your conveyancer/solicitor to order your Local Search as soon as possible, paying for your survey promptly, and getting your home paperwork (such as planning etc.) in order. It’s also a good idea to use the estate agent and ask for regular updates from your conveyancer and estate agent so you’re fully informed about your sale’s progress. Lastly, don’t delay answering queries and nudging people along, as this can help speed up the conveyancing process.

Overall, taking these steps and being proactive can ensure a smoother and faster conveyancing process when buying a property.

To conclude, the Chelmsford (and UK) housing market has seen a surge in transactions, placing more significant pressure on the system, resulting in longer timescales to sell a property.

However, by adopting new technologies and choosing the right Chelmsford estate agent and conveyancer/solicitor, Chelmsford homeowners can reduce the time it takes to sell their property and get to completion.

Please let me know your thoughts on this crucial property matter.


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