Handing Over the House Keys in Front of Sold New Home Against a Blue Sky

House Buying Timeline

The purchase of a house can be a prolonged and drawn out process, and there are many factors which will affect how long it will take. From our own experience, for a cash buyer it is possible to complete the purchase of a house from initial viewing to moving in, in just 4 weeks. Under other circumstances it can take 6 months or more, particularly where mortgage approval is required.

There are certain key stages which must be completed once you find your “ideal home” and had your offer accepted.

1. Instruct a solicitor or house conveyancer to act on your behalf. If necessary this can be done before you find the house you are going to purchase. and can speed up the process.

2. Arrange finance for the purchase. If you have a house to sell you will almost inevitably find yourself in a “house chain” and this will determine the speed at which you can progress with your purchase. If you need a mortgage then you should always arrange a mortgage “in principle”. As soon as your offer has been accepted then the process of final mortgage approval can begin. With the more stringent checks introduced in 2014 the mortgage approval process now takes anything from 4 – 8 weeks which is much longer than it used to.

3. Arrange any surveys which need to be carried out. This could involve a full building structural survey if it is an older property. You may be able to tie this in with the valuation survey carried out by your mortgage provider.

House buying timeline continued

4. When the solicitor has completed all the relevant searches and proof of ownership you may have questions which need to be asked, perhaps on any covenants relating to the property.

5. Arrange house insurance. This needs to be effective from the date contracts are exchanged

6.Contract exchange – when you finally become the legal owner of the property. This will also include an agreed completion date for you to move in.

7. Make house removal arrangements

8. The final step in you house buying timeline is to Inform all necessary suppliers of you house move including utilities, telecoms, internet provider, banks, schools and local authority for your council tax.

Top Tip

Arrange a mortgage in principle before you start looking for a house. It will improve your negotiating position and reduce the house buying timeline