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Why We Should be Speeding up Searches

Paul Halliwell, 18 November 2019

At the beginning of this year Housing Minister Heather Wheeler reported that 80% of searches were being completed within 10 working days. This announcement was a result of increasing government pressure on local authorities to speed up an essential part of the sales process. However, research undertaken by property platform View My Chain has found that the country is now falling behind government guidelines.

Looking at monthly figures recorded on 1st October 2019, we can see that just 68.5% of searches were completed within the government’s stated timeframe of 10 days. The vast majority of searches (84%) took up to 15 days during this period. Figures recorded on 4th November 2019 revealed a similar picture. Again for this period 68.5% of searches took 10 days or less. Most searches (88%) took up to 15 days in the preceding month.

There are distinct regional differences in the amount of time taken to complete searches, and this is something that agents must bear in mind. Statistical analysis revealed the top places to buy and sell in terms of search timeframes, and the areas where such searches took the longest.


In the top spots we have Lambeth, Bolton, Dartford, Manchester, Solihul, Suffolk Coastal and West Somerset. The slowest eight regions for searches were Cherwell, Greenwich, Adur, Stafford, Bridgend, Maldon, South Kesteven and Camden.


It’s difficult to attribute the slowing down of search timeframes to a single factor. Instead, the issue should be viewed as the result of several problematic external influences. The government itself is disconnected from the process, and therefore does not appear to fully understand the steps that must be taken to deliver searches, and how these steps can be sped up. A lack of resources and stricter budgets have exacerbated the problem, slowing down the sales process.


Time is of the essence when buying and selling homes, with many different parties keen to facilitate an exchange as quickly as possible. However, when it comes to searches and other legal requirements it can be difficult for agents to speed the process along. There are tools out there to assist with the home moving journey, though.


View My Chain is a property platform designed to improve the process, by providing new levels of visibility over purchases which benefit all parties. The tool offers agents, buyers and sellers the opportunity to view automated buying and selling milestones, such as searches being ordered and mortgage applications being accepted. This information can prove hugely valuable to all involved, and is particularly helpful for agents aiming to stop fall throughs, eliminate unnecessary waste and achieve faster completions.


The path from SSTC to the exchange of contracts doesn’t always run smoothly, but the more information agents have, the better placed they are to assist all involved. With data-driven insights from View My Chain, agents are equipped with enhanced visibility over the entire process – and that makes a real difference.


Data available via View My Chain can be used to help shape sales activity, determine strategies, prioritise cases and reduce fall throughs. It’s a hugely valuable resource in terms of time management, and it can significantly improve sales timeframes, helping agencies to build glowing reputations. Learn more about how View My Chain works at

We believe our new combined solution provides us with a clear and unique advantage in the market, at a time when housebuilders require the highest level of certainty, transparency and speed throughout the sales progression stage of a transaction.
Ben Greco | Managing Director
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