Don’t blame searches for delaying property transactions

The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO) has commented on the suggestion in recent media articles that searches are slowing down the homebuying process and delaying property transactions.

Whilst at the extreme there are some local authorities causing unacceptable delays in procuring searches, these are few and far between.

James Sherwood-Rogers, Chairman of CoPSO, said:

‘The average turnaround time for our members to produce an LLC1 and CON29 remains stable at just under 10 days, which is within the target set by MHCLG. It is not search turnaround times that cause delays; rather it is because searches are not ordered in a timely manner. Recent statistics from View My Chain suggest that the average time taken for searches to be ordered when an offer has been accepted subject to contract is 23 days. If this is the average, there must be a number of conveyancers that are taking considerably longer than this and they are distorting the picture.’

Where searches are very seriously delayed (current examples being Camden and Derby), conveyancers can use search insurance in order to keep things moving.  But nobody wants to rely on insurance when making a decision about their future home, because no amount of money can fix certain issues around contamination, flood or planning for example.

James commented further:

‘Whilst some conveyancers are reticent to order searches at acceptance of offer, just in case the purchase falls through, they may be inadvertently increasing the possibility of chains breaking by risking a delay. Searches are available in most areas of the UK in just over a week. Those areas where it takes much longer are well known, and a CoPSO member can provide local advice where a conveyancer is not sure. To blame the search industry for delays is simply wrong. In fact, the opposite is true – CoPSO campaigns tirelessly on behalf of the search sector to ensure that there is fast access to local authority data, and works hard with stakeholders to ensure conveyancers order searches at the right time, rather than at the last minute.’


Kindly shared by Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO)