How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?

Selling a house is no simple task and the timeline is not guaranteed. There are a variety of factors that can influence the sale of your property and if you don’t know what is required then it can take a long time to get that sale. If you don’t understand the process, it can become quite frustrating.

So, how long does it take to buy a house in the UK?

It can take an average of up to 8 months to buy a house in the UK. However, this ranges for a variety of reasons. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you understand the process and timeline of selling a property and what can cause delays.

Timeline For Buying A House

While buying a house can seem like a daunting process, there are a few steps to follow.

Firstly, you will need to find a property that suits your needs and budget. This can take quite some time and definitely should not be rushed as buying a house is a big financial and personal commitment. View the property multiple times if you need to and be realistic about your decision.

Potentially, you should also look into a service like We Buy Any House Any Condition, if you want to sell your current house.

Once you have found your ideal property, you will need to make an offer. Typically this will be done through an estate agent who is handling the sale of the property. Estate agents only charge fees to the seller of the property and take a commission percentage of the sale price.

Next, you will need to arrange a solicitor or conveyancer. They will handle all the legalities and arrange for the property ownership to be transferred into your name. You will also need to hire a surveyor to conduct a valuation on the property, and a property survey. This ensures there are no issues with the property condition or with the local council that could affect the price of the property or causes costly issues in the long run.

Now you can finalize the offer. At this point, you can negotiate the asking price with consideration of any issues found during the surveys. The lender could also determine the asking price to be too high compared to the property value, so this could affect your ability to qualify for the mortgage. It's often considered the most stressful stage of buying a house.

After ironing out all the details with the offer, you can contact your lender and finalize your mortgage. Don't forget to compare offers from other mortgage lenders to ensure you are getting the best deal! If you are having any doubts, this is the time to pull out of the deal. Going further in the process, and then changing your mind can lead to further costs.

It's time to complete the sale and exchange the contracts. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you have read all the fine print and checked the details with your solicitor or conveyancer. If you have any queries, make sure you have them answered before committing. From this point onwards, you and the seller are bound to this sale. Sometimes the seller will ask for a holding deposit which ensures them of your intention to commit to the sale.

It's almost official. At this point, you will go through the final steps to conclude the sale. Money is exchanged, mortgage fees are paid, solicitor or conveyancers are paid, the sale is registered with the Land Registry by the solicitor or conveyancer, and sellers will need to pay their estate agents commission fee. If the residential property costs over £125,000, there are 14 days in which you have to pay Stamp Duty (this applies to England and Northern Ireland). Usually, this will be arranged by your solicitor or conveyancer. For properties in Wales, Land Transaction Tax has to be paid for properties over £180,000.

Lastly, moving! You will need to organize a removal company to get your goods to your new home. This is an exciting time and your opportunity to make the house your own. Moving on a weekday is cheaper, and removal companies can cost anywhere between £300 to £600.

What Factors Can Delay Buying A House?

how long does it take to buy a house uk

If all goes well, you should be able to buy a house within 8 months in the UK. But as we can see, the process is complicated, and there are a variety of factors that can cause delays.

Finding a property 

Finding the house that suits your needs and budget can be a time-consuming process, but it is always best to make an informed and conscious decision before committing to a purchase. Never settle, but always be realistic.

Issues with your Mortgage

It's a good idea to get pre-qualified so that you know your budget and avoid future problems with the mortgage. But, when you are buying a property, the mortgage lender will conduct its own valuation to determine if the asking price is justified. If they deem the property value to be lower, they will afford you a mortgage based on their property valuation. This might change your decision on what home you will be able to afford. Mortgage offers only stand for up to 6 months so your purchase will have to be during this time or you will need to reapply.

Property Chains

If your property purchase is tied up in a property chain then the process can be much more complicated and lengthy. A property chain means that there are multiple people are buying and selling properties, and the purchases rely on the sales. therefore, if your seller is purchasing a new home using the money received from your purchase, this sale will have to be concluded in unison with your purchase. If the sellers' purchase falls through, they could pull out of the property sale. Chains can be complicated but are most of the time completely unavoidable.

Condition of the Property

During the sales process, issues can arise with the condition of the property. If this is the case, then repairs will have to be done to ensure that any underlying issues are taken care of and future costs are prevented.

Leasehold vs. Freehold

Typically the sale of a freehold property is less complicated than a leasehold purchase. Leasehold sales require more paperwork and take much longer.

Delays in the conveyancing process

The conveyancing process can be delayed for a number of different reasons. It's a complicated process that has to be done correctly. If there is a delay in instructing a solicitor or conveyancer, it can take much longer to get the process started. If there is a lack of communication, missing information, or incorrect documents then the process can take much longer than usual. Often these issues are beyond your control and can be caused along the property chain. The solicitor or conveyancer will also be responsible for obtaining FENSA and gas/electrical certificates and if there are any delays with these certificates, the entire process is delayed.

Delays in signing contracts

With other parties involved, there can be delays caused by the numerous documents that have to be signed by all parties involved. Make sure you are available to sign contracts and have them returned in due time.

Important Considerations To Make Before Buying A House

Buying A House Timeline

Buying a house can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first property purchase. We've put together a few important considerations to make before you go ahead with the house buying process.

  • Where do you want to live?
  • What property type are you looking for?
  • Can you afford the house you desire?
  • Are your requirements realistic?
  • Is now the right time in your life to buy a house?
  • Is the property market in favor of buyers?
  • Have you considered your limitations?
  • Can you qualify for a mortgage and how much can you qualify for?
  • Have you shopped around for the best mortgage deal?
  • Can you get a 'mortgage in principle'?
  • Can you afford the various fees that need to be paid during the buying process?
  • Can you afford a licensed solicitor or conveyancer?

It's important to have a clear idea of what you are looking for, what you can afford, and what you will need to prepare for in the process of buying a house. 

This can help speed up the process so that you can buy a house within the average 8 months timeline.

You might be surprised to find out that it takes so long, but if all goes well then it's well worth the effort to find a place to call your own!

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