If you have decided to buy a house, you may wonder how long it all takes. What is the buying a house timeline in the UK?
Let’s take a look at the stages involved in the house buying timeline and look at the overview of the house buying process.
Buying A House Timeline Overview
Here is the timeline overview:
Start Your House Search – Timeline 0 To 24 Weeks
Register with all of the estate agents in the area that you are looking for a house to buy, letting them know your requirements such as:
- How many bedrooms you are looking for
- Whether you are looking for an apartment, a semi detached or a detached house
- How many bathrooms you would like in the property
- Whether you would like a garden or not
- Your favoured locations or districts.
Sign up for alerts with all of the online property portals to be notified when new properties come on the market, the biggest one being Rightmove.
Put An Offer On A House – Cumulative Timeline 2 To 30 Weeks
Once you find a property that ticks all of the boxes and which you really like, you should now make an offer to buy it.
Sometimes, if the property is perfect and you cannot bear the thought of losing it, you might offer the full asking price.
However, other times you might offer up to 5% less than the asking price.
If the seller accepts your first offer, or second or third offers after negotiation, you have now bought a house. The property becomes Sold Subject To Contract SOLD STC
Choose A Conveyancing Solicitor – Cumulative Timeline 3 To 37 Weeks
You now need to choose a conveyancing solicitor to help you complete the purchase of your property.
Bear in mind that if an estate agent strongly suggests that you use a solicitor that they recommend, most of the time they are doing this because they are paid a referral fee by the solicitor.
You are usually best choosing your conveyancing solicitor yourself by:
- Carrying out a local search for conveyancing solicitors
- Looking at the reviews on Google for the solicitors that come up
- Calling two or three of them and asking if they can help you, how much they will charge you, but also most importantly how quickly they can complete the housing buying process.
- Choose the one who gives you the best answers and who you believe will really do the best job for you.
Preparing The Paperwork For Exchange Of Contracts – Cumulative Timeline 8 To 40 Weeks
The solicitor will start preparing all of the paperwork to allow you to exchange contracts, the important part of the conveyancing process which moves the property from Sold STC or Under Offer to Sold.
The solicitor will carry out searches to ensure the property is safe to purchase, that the seller has the right to sell it (legally owns the property) and to confirm which items in the house are included in the sale.
Once everything is lined up and the seller and the buyer have agreed a date that they would like the house buying process to conclude, the end of the buying a house timeline, the solicitors will exchange contracts.
Exchange Of Contracts – Cumulative Timeline 20 To 52 Weeks
The buyer and the sellers solicitors telephone each other and confirm exchange of contracts.
In most cases, once exchange of contracts takes place, it completes without any problems on the expected day.
Occasionally, things do go wrong. See what can go wrong between exchange and completion for more details.
Completion Of The House Buying Process – Cumulative Timeline 20 To 60 Weeks
On the expected day, completion takes place. The buyer sends the money for the property to the sellers solicitor, the keys are released to the buyer by the estate agent and the new buyer moves in to their new home.
What Speeds Up Or Slows Down The House Buying Timeline?
The buying a house timeline can vary greatly as each stage of the process can be concluded quickly or slowly.
You might find a house to buy almost immediately, or it may take you months.
Once you find your house and put in an offer, it can take a long time to get to exchange of contracts, based on how quickly your conveyancing solicitor gets things done, how quickly the seller’s solicitor get things done, how long it takes to get your searches back and how long it takes for you to receive your mortgage offer.
When you exchange contracts, if you are buying a brand new home, the timeline between exchange and completion can be as much as 12 months, whilst the house is being built.
The best way to ensure a smooth timeline is to use a specialist conveyancing solicitor.