How to avoid a delay when buying a house

It may not be possible to eliminate delays altogether, but it is possible to take a few steps to avoid a delay when buying a house.   

In order to avoid a delay when buying a house is a good idea to be aware of the key stages in the house buying and selling process and anticipate any problems. 

By asking a few questions in the early stages you will find out whether there is a long chain, whether a seller is trying to move quickly whether there have been any previous buyers who have pulled out of the purchase, and if so, find out the reason.

One way to avoid a delay when buying a house is to be aware of the most common causes of a delay, and be prepared for them.    

Some of the most common things which may cause a delay when buying a house buying include:

  • Your buyer has a property to sell but does not have a buyer who is in a position to proceed.  This may cause a delay in the sale of your property, and in turn the purchase of your next property.  Before a seller accepts an offer, check that the buyer is in a position to proceed, ie, either has nothing to sell, such as a first time buyer, or has a buyer for their property who is also in a position to proceed.  
  • The seller has not found another property to move to.  If you find a property you would like to buy then check the seller’s position, ie, have they found a property to move to, or, check whether  they are prepared  to go ahead with the sale of their property and move into rented accommodation to reduce the length of the chain.
  • The seller bought the property under the government help to buy scheme and must follow their procedure before selling. If the seller bought the property under the Help to a Buy scheme there is a procedure to follow, which includes having a Valuation carried out by a Chartered Surveyor before the property can be sold.   
  • The Valuer for the buyer’s mortgage company values the property less than the agreed purchase price (down values the property).  If this happens and if both parties still wish to proceed then the buyer and seller may be able to renegotiate the purchase price at the amount at which the property has been valued by the mortgage Valuer. 
  • The Valuer for the buyer’s mortgage company places a retention on the mortgage.  If the buyer still wishes to proceed and has sufficient funds then it may be possible to renegotiate the price or carry out any works the subject of the retention.
  • The Valuer for the buyer’s mortgage company requests further investigations/specialist reports.  If any further investigations/specialist reports are required then make sure these are obtained ASAP.  Chase your buyer if necessary.

While some of these issues may be outside your control, there are some steps which can be taken and enquires which can be made at an early stage to reduce the risk of delays in the house buying process.  

buying and selling a house

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Do I need an EPC?

An EPC provides an energy efficiency rating (A to G) similar to those on a fridge or washing machine with A being the most efficient (having a higher rating) and G being the least efficient (having a lower rating).  A higher rating usually indicates that the heating bills will be lower.  An EPC also gives recommendations on how to reduce energy use.  EPCs usually form part of an estate agent’s sale particulars, whether in paper format, or, on online sites such as Rightmove.  Read below to find out whether you need an EPC.


Do I need an EPC? 

In England and Wales, an EPC is required for each residential property which is built, sold or rented.  In England and Wales an EPC must be ordered BEFORE a property is marketed for sale or for rent.  A fine may be charged if you do not obtain an EPC when you need one.  An EPC remains valid for 10 years.

However, there are some properties which do not need an EPC.   See for more information.

You are able to view the EPC for other properties free of charge on the EPC Register either by using the property’s address or the report reference number.  The EPC register can also be used to retrieve and EPC which has been lost.

For FAQs about the EPC register visit:


How to find an accredited assessor

To find an accredited assessor visit




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