Buying a house can be an exciting experience and one with a high degree of emotional involvement. It is also a complex and often lengthy process. Having an understanding of the process and procedures involved will help ensure there are fewer surprises and complications along the way – which should help to make the whole experience easier to cope with.

How quickly?

Even when both the seller and buyer are keen to exchange quickly, wheels can sometimes turn frustratingly slowly. Seasoned home-movers are also not immune. In England and Wales, the time between an offer being accepted and exchange can, on occasion, be as quick as six weeks. Unfortunately, when complications arise, this can stretch to months. Buying a house has often been labelled as one of life’s most stressful activities.

A good, proactive solicitor

Choosing a good solicitor or conveyancer can be crucial to the whole process, as the best and most proactive ones will help progress things quickly and smoothly, and also chase up to make sure everything is done promptly. Solicitors must be members of the Law Society, and conveyancers must be members of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. This is where Valentine & Co come in. We go the extra mile to ensure that every detail is checked and agreed in good time to ensure the transaction progresses as smoothly and quickly as possible.

A vigilant estate agent

Unlike solicitors, estate agents are able to harry the entire chain. The best estate agents are brilliant at vigilantly chasing everyone in the chain to ensure that purchases go through in a timely manner.

Fast forward finances

Start your mortgage application before you have found a property. Most lenders now apply stringent affordability criteria. Consider using an independent mortgage broker who will know which lenders provide prompt service and those to avoid if you are in a hurry. A broker will also help collate all the information the lender requires to ensure your application is processed without delay.


Having the right paperwork available will help speed up the financial transactions. A current passport and driving licence showing your current home address will be needed. Make sure you have at least the last three months’ payslips and a personal taxable earnings P60 form. If you are self-employed, then you will need an SA302 form, or accounts for the past three years. Don’t delay any paperwork, fill in and sign forms, then return promptly. File any correspondence and keep copies of important documents.

Keep the pressure on

In theory, it should be the professionals that keep communicating and ensuring the right things are happening. It is advisable to try and stay on top of things yourself. Some estate agents do a good job here, with dedicated sales-progression teams employed to chase wayward parties and keep things moving forward.

In a hurry?

If you’re in a hurry, try to get the vendor of the property you’re buying to agree to a date by which they are prepared to move out, whether they’ve bought somewhere themselves or not. Vendors will sometimes agree to move into rented accommodation to avoid risking the deal falling through.

Be prepared to walk away

On setting that deadline, be prepared to walk away. If you think others in the chain are dragging their feet, then tell solicitors and estate agents that if things aren’t complete by a certain date (and be reasonable!) that you are prepared to pull out of the deal and walk away. This takes courage but it’s amazing how this can galvanise efforts and result in things coming together rather more quickly than they otherwise would have.


Finally, make sure all parties can contact you – and know when and how they can contact you. Be prepared to step in and keep things on track if necessary: all associated parties will want a positive outcome in a timely fashion.

For more information or advice on the topics above, please don’t hesitate to contact us