How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?

How long does it take to buy a house

The property market is booming right now so we thought we’d answer one of our frequently asked questions; how long does it take to buy a house?

What To Expect

They say that the 3 most stressful things you can do in life are get married, have a child and move house. So, to make the process less stressful it’s always good to have a rough idea of timescales. This means you know what to expect and can plan for it.


It’s difficult to say exactly how long it takes to buy a house as there are so many factors. However, the average timeline in the UK is around 8 months. That might seem like a long time but there are lots of things making up this timeline. Some of them might not apply to you.

What's Your Price Range?

It’s easier than you think to find out how much you can borrow. And there are several different ways to do this. We would advise you do this before you start looking for your home, this means when you find the perfect one you can offer straight away with no hesitation!

To get a rough idea you can use an online calculator. The How much can I borrow? Calculator at Money Supermarket is a good one. Once you have a rough idea it’s best to get a formal offer from a mortgage advisor. For this you have 2 main options:

  • Go to your bank and ask to speak to a mortgage specialist. They will assess your incoming and outgoings and let you know their assessment.
  • You can approach an independent mortgage advisor and give them the same information. A mortgage advisor will have access to all of the mortgage deals on the market. This means you are more likely to get the best offer out there for you. Typically this means more borrowing possibilities and lower interest rates.

Once you have decided on the lender for your mortgage you can apply for a mortgage in principle.

"A mortgage in principle is also known as a Decision in Principle (DIP), Agreement in Principle (AIP) or mortgage promise. This is a statement from a lender saying that they'll lend a certain amount to you before you've finalised the purchase of your home."

The First 2 Months

Finding a property you love and putting in an offer typically takes around 2 months. That’s because you need to make sure that the property you are buying is ‘the one’. At the moment, properties are selling so quickly you will need to make sure you are absolutely on the ball with all new properties coming to the market. Some agents post ‘Coming Soons’ on their social media which allows you to get in first!

Your Dream Home

Now you know how much you can borrow you can really start your search in earnest. Make sure you research the area thoroughly, visit in the morning, at rush hour and in the evening. When you view the house try to imagine it without the existing furniture and ignore the decor. The key things you need to consider are the size of the rooms, natural light and any DIY that may need doing.

Put In An Offer

How long does it take to buy a house

When you find your dream home it’s time to put in an offer, this might not always be so simple. This is where the estate agent comes in. A good estate agent like Home Truths will ensure your best offer is put forward along with your position as a potential buyer. Once your offer is accepted it’s time to apply for a formal mortgage offer with the lender you received your mortgage in principle from.

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House? A lot depends on your solicitors

Once you have had your offer accepted it’s time for the solicitors (licensed conveyancers) to step in. There are quite a few legal steps to take before an exchange can happen.

A survey of the house to check the properties condition.

A survey is there to provide a health check on your new home. There are some common things that are always checked such as the roof, age of utility supplies, general condition and sometimes the surveyor may highlight things that concern you. Speak to the surveyor to clarify understanding and to the estate agent if there are issues that need to be discussed with the vendor.

The Conveyancing Process

Conveyancing is the legal process that needs to take place to transfer a property from one person to another. Conveyancing solicitors carry out the following at a cost of around £1500.

  • Legal paperwork
  • Land Registry and local council searches
  • Draft the contract
  • Handle the exchange of money

Choosing the right conveyancer is a crucial part of the process as typically this is where delays take place. Don’t just go for the cheapest on the market, make sure you read their reviews and are confident that they are capable of carrying out the work efficiently. Make sure you stay in touch with your solicitor, especially if you are experiencing delays and make sure they are clear what your timescales and requirements are.


how long does it take to buy a house

Once the searches have been completed and all of the paperwork is filed it’s time to complete and arrange a date to hand over and move in.

Your solicitor will arrange a date for the cash you have raised via your mortgage plus any cash deposit to be transferred to the current owner in exchange for the keys and deeds.

The property is now legally yours.

We hope we’ve answered the question ‘how long does it take to buy a house’ and you are now armed with all of the info you need.

If not, don’t worry we would love to have a chat and answer your questions. Just get in touch with our friendly team here 01257 451673.