Act now to move in before Christmas


When to list your property

Before you can move into a new property, you’ll first have to make steps to sell your current house, including listing it on property sites.

According to The Advisory[1], ‘conventional wisdom’ says that the best time to list a property between August and the year end is in the last two weeks of September or during the whole of October.

There are mixed reports on this, though. Joint research from The Advisory and RightMove show the later you leave listing a property in the year, the longer it stays on the market. Their research showed properties listed between 14 October and 14 November stayed on the market for the longest at an average of 79 days, while properties listed between 1 September and 20 September had the lowest average at 67 days.

It may be a matter of ‘mere days’, but it all adds up when you’ve set yourself a clear deadline. It is also important to remember that, ultimately, how long a property will be on the market for depends on how it’s being marketed, its key features, as well as the level of supply and demand at the time. One way to keep up-to-date with the changing housing market is look at the monthly Housing Report by NAEA.


Factor in the conveyancing process

Once you’ve found a property, or a buyer for yours, the next step in the process is conveyancing; this is the process of legally transferring the ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. The conveyancing process can range from four weeks (this is very fast and generally only happens with auctions) to eight weeks. It’s wise to allow an extra few weeks on top of this to include times for viewing and offers.

There are a number of reasons why the process can be delayed, with nearly all related to the property chain. A property chain is where there is a line of buyers and sellers linked together as each is selling or buying from one of the others. If you are a first-time buyer, your chain starts with the purchase of your first home as you don’t need to sell a property in order for the purchase to go ahead.

In contrast, you may have a chain that moves the other way if you have a property that you want to sell and don’t wish to make another purchase (such as if you inherit a property). A chain is formed by a minimum of two people (buyer and seller), but there is no limit as to how many people may be in the chain. The longer the property chain, the higher the chances of potential disruption. A single delay in a long property chain can have knock-on effects for everyone else in the chain. It can often be hard to find the slowest link, but a property solicitor will be able to help gauge any risks in advance and take measures to help minimise these where possible.

Frustratingly, a lot of issues that arise might be out of your hands. For example:

  • Parties may be on holiday
  • Time taken for local authority searches
  • Someone in the chain pulling out
  • Other parties in the chain having different timescales


Speed up the process

There are a number of things that you can control that can keep the chain moving. For example, identify a solicitor before you list your property. Also, engage your solicitor as soon as you put your house on the market and when an offer is placed. Your estate agent needs to know your solicitor’s details, so it’s vital to select a firm early on in the process to avoid delays. There may also be some background checks and paperwork preparation that can be done in the background to help things move along more quickly.

Also, it might sound simple, but always remember to sign and return legal documents on time. Lots of documents will pass hands, so if anyone drops the ball it can cause further delays to an already lengthy process.

Documents you will need to have to hand for your prospective buyer (and may need to request from your seller) include:

  • Proof of identity
  • Gas/Electric Certificates
  • Title deeds
  • Mortgage details
  • Property information form
  • Fittings and contents form
  • Management information pack
  • Shared freehold documentation (if applicable)


If you want to move in before Christmas, you’ll have to act fast, but there are certain things you can do to shorten the length of time it takes to sell your house and buy a new one. For example, make sure your house is ready to be sold – declutter and clean the house thoroughly and perhaps consider a fresh lick of paint.

It might be out of your hands, but if the person interested in your property is a first-time buyer this can make the process much easier and quicker, as they won’t be dependent on selling their own property – your property chain will only have two links!

Other things you can do is ask your solicitor and estate agent to blind copy you into emails, so you can keep up-to-date with everything going on and not have to be caught up separately. Finally, be sure to remain as responsive as possible to all parties involved, particularly your solicitor.


Make a move

There’s no time like the present! If you’re picturing yourself hanging Christmas decorations in your new place or starting the New Year in a new space, then now is the time to speak to one of our property solicitors. Our conveyancing team specialise in residential law and really do go the extra mile. We ensure our clients are well-informed throughout the process and help to minimise any issues or delays.

Get in touch now to see how we can help you make a smoother move - Contact us



[1] TheAdvisory, When Is The Best Time To Sell Your House (in 2018)?

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Tags: Christmas, Conveycancing, Residential

Categories: Commercial, Guide, Residential

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