Buying a House

How Long Does It Take To Buy a House?

Introduction Buying a house can be one of the biggest financial commitments that you’ll ever make in your life, but it can also be one of the most stressful. You need to be prepared for the process to be long and for things to not go to plan along the way, but there are also […]


Buying a house can be one of the biggest financial commitments that you’ll ever make in your life, but it can also be one of the most stressful. You need to be prepared for the process to be long and for things to not go to plan along the way, but there are also plenty of things you can do to make it easier for yourself.

A general rule of thumb is that the process of buying a house takes around 12 weeks, however, some transactions can take a year or more. In recent years, the number of movers has greatly increased the caseload of conveyancers, which has increased the average length of time it takes from the offer being accepted to completion.

We’ve put together this guide to show you how long the entire process takes and what each step involves—think of it like a mini masterclass, so hopefully, next time you’re looking to buy a house, it won’t seem quite so daunting!

Working Out Your Budget

Finding your dream home is the first step. Before you begin looking, you need to know what you can afford. Don’t just look at online calculators, really delve into your income and outgoings and think about speaking to a mortgage broker or advisor. Many offer free initial consultations and it will give you a better understanding of what impacts affordability.

For example, making a few tweaks to your monthly expenditure could mean the difference between being able to afford that dream home and not. A good broker can also advise on which lenders offer loans in line with your requirements and provide information about rates and other costs involved (such as fees).

TIME GUIDE: 1-2 weeks

Finding Your Dream Home

Finding your dream home is the first step and can take anywhere from days to years. Before you begin looking, you need to know what you can afford. This will help determine what properties are within reach and give an idea of how much money will be required for a deposit.
Before you start looking, it is useful to research areas and types of property you might want to look at and create a wish list.. but remember this list should only be a guide, if you aren’t flexible on some things you may never find that perfect property.

TIME GUIDE: 1 day-several year

Planning Ahead

Before you view a house, you should prepare to view and this means getting quotes from solicitors (so you know who you want to choose) and speaking to a lender or a broker to get a decision in principle in place. This will only take a week or two and means that when you find that dream home, you are ready to move quickly.

Key actions:

  • Get all your paperwork in order. You need to be able to provide proof of identity as well as proof of income and savings. If you’re buying with someone else (like a partner), then you’ll also need their details.
  • Find out how long the process will take from start to finish–and what happens if something goes wrong during this time period? For example: if there’s an issue with one of your documents or financial details not being accepted by either party at any point during negotiations then how long do they have before things fall through?
  • What does it cost? You may be surprised at costs such as stamp duty solicitor fees and surveys,—so make sure you know exactly what you will need to pay out in advance!

T|IME GUIDE: 1-2 weeks

Putting In An Offer

The next step to buy a house is putting in an offer. Once you’ve found the right property and made sure that it meets all of your needs, it’s time to get started on making an offer.

The first thing you should do when putting in an offer is to make sure that you are buying the right property for yourself and your family, as well as making sure that the price is fair. You should also consider whether or not there will be any issues with getting financing or paying off any other debts before moving forward with this process; if there are any concerns about these things, then it may be best not to move forward until they have been resolved (or at least addressed).

Once you make your offer, it may not be accepted immediately and it isn’t uncommon for sellers to take a few days to get back with an answer. Don’t panic. This is normal.

T|IME GUIDE: 1-3 days

Getting a Mortgage

Getting a mortgage is the biggest purchase you will make in your life, so it’s important to understand how it works. A mortgage is simply a loan secured against your home. This means that if you fail to make payments on your mortgage, the lender can take possession of the property and sell it off to recoup their losses.

If you have taken our advice and already got your decision in principle, you will now be able to proceed with the full mortgage application. This process takes a bit of time, with the application going to underwriters and the lender commissioning a valuation of the property. This is basically the lender checking that the property is worth the money you want to pay for it and that they would get their investment back if you default. This can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks.

TIME GUIDE: 1-6 weeks

Having a Survey Done

A survey is an inspection of the property you are looking to buy. It will tell you what the house and land are like, including any problems that need fixing or maintenance work that needs doing.

The cost of a survey ranges from about £300 to £800 depending on how big your house is and how much detail it needs.

If you don’t get a survey done before buying a property then there could be serious consequences later on – for example: if there were major structural issues with your new home but these were not picked up during your initial survey then you could lose out financially further down the line.

Surveyors usually get a report to you within a week of visiting the property and you can share this with your solicitor who can then raise any queries with the seller’s solicitor.

TIME GUIDE: 1-2 weeks (excluding enquiries)

Legal Process

There is a bit in the middle of the whole process to buy a house where you feel like nothing is happening. This is not the case. It is where your solicitor will be raising queries with the sellers’ solicitors and liaising with the land registry and local council to undertake searches for the property. This is where choosing a good solicitor, who doesn’t have too big a caseload and is a good communicator is key.

TIME GUIDE: 1 month+

Negotiating a Completion Date

Once this work concludes, you can negotiate a completion date. The completion date is the final day on which you will be able to move in. It’s important to have a completion date because it gives you a clear target for when you can expect to move into your new home.

Getting Ready to Exchange Contracts

Once the legal work is complete, it’s time to get ready to exchange contracts. This is a process that takes place between yourself and your seller. You may have some documents to sign and your solicitor may do some final checks.

At this point, you will need to pay your deposit and sign any final documentation. Once contracts are exchanged the purchase is legally binding. Exchange and completion can be done on the same day, but often completion is a week after the exchange of contracts.

When you complete, your solicitor will deal with the transfer of funds, you will get a completion statement and the title deeds from your solicitor and, more importantly, you will get the keys to move in!

TIME GUIDE: 1-2 weeks

Buying a House Can Be Long And Stressful But It Doesn’t Have to Be.

If you are in the market for a new home, you may be wondering how long it will take to buy one. This can be a stressful process and it’s important that you have a plan in place so that everything goes smoothly. Here are some tips on how to make sure your experience is as easy as possible:

  • Have a plan in place before starting your home search. Having an idea of what type of home or area works best for your needs and how much you can easily afford will help keep things organised and on track once things get started.
  • Be prepared by having all necessary documents ready when meeting with real estate agents or lenders so that there aren’t any delays later on down the line when applying to lenders. Getting an early quote for solicitors and getting a decision in principle in place will mean you can act fast on your dream property when you find it!


Buying a house is a big step, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. With the right information and support, you can make your dream of owning a home come true in no time at all!

Contact Propertyable

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Propertyable today.

Buying Your First Home? Read Our Buyers Guide…

From mortgages and insurance to viewings, offers, exchange and completion, our Buyers’ Guide will take you through everything, step by step, from start to finish.

© Copyright Propertyable 2024. All rights reserved.