How Long Does It Take To Buy A House

How long does it take to buy a house

12 Dec 2019

It is important to know that buying a house can be very complicated and confusing for a first-time buyer trying to get on the property ladder. The key factors which can affect the home buying process are - preparation for finances, insurance, home inspection, making an offer, legal paperwork, and closing a contract, so to know how long does it take to buy a house, one should try to know about each step in the home buying process.

In the early stage of home buying, one can minimise the hold-ups and should not make a mistake related to legal terms where a good solicitor can work quickly and tell the buyer exactly how the process is being handled. 

If the property chain is large – it may take more time to complete the process as it may involve several parties, and all the involved parties may take time to complete the process at their level. Transactions related to leasehold properties are more complicated as compared to freehold ones.

Leasehold properties require more paperwork as the solicitors have to investigate the lease. Also, unpredictable factors like a structural survey can delay the buying process, especially where there are serious issues with the home. Sometimes, survey reports may cause delays and even rejection of a deal. 

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House UK?

In 2019, it took 18 weeks to buy a house (a house where one did not find any long-term hidden issues). On average, it takes around 6 to 12 weeks to search for the right property, whereas one can take 2 to 4 weeks to get a mortgage, and about 16 weeks for conveyancing, including the signing and exchanging contracts.

How long does it take to buy a house? It takes 2 to 4 weeks to complete the sale, where one can get the keys and move into the new home.

The procedure may take more time depending on various factors like where you are looking for the property, the type of property like two-bedroom, three-bedroom or four-bedroom homes/ flats or detached homes, or if you are ready to spend on home repairs or urgently need a modern home.

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House With No Chain? 

Property chains help buyers and sellers as it introduces variations in the opportunities. A first-time buyer does not need to worry about the chains, which are invariably the catalysts that can drive the buyer's chain.

However, the house with no chain means the seller has already moved to a new home and is not buying a new property, or the property is newly built or has been repossessed. In the case of long-chain, if any of the intermediate transactions fails – the chain will break, adding to the expense of selling and buying. On the other hand, chain-free transactions are simpler and quicker where the risk of falling is low.  

What Is The Average Time To Buy A House?

The average time taken to buy a home involves several variables like 

  • The time to get the mortgage principle – can be 24 hours.

  • The time for the home being listed in the market and the offer accepted by the buyer can be ten weeks, and the time of acceptance to the property being ordered can be over a month.

  • Once the mortgage request is accepted, arranging for the mortgage can take about 3 to 6 weeks.

  • The time when the searches are ordered for the exchange of contracts may take 58 days, and the completion of the exchange of contracts can take one day to 4 weeks. 

  • The time taken for the transaction varies depending on factors like changes in legal events and personal choice. 

What Are The Steps To Buying A House?

Once the property is selected, the buyer has to choose a mortgage provider and calculate how much they can repay each month as mortgage repayment. Then, they need to design an agreement with the seller and conduct complete research on where to apply for a mortgage before starting the process.

Once the seller and the buyer agree to a transaction, they may have to exchange the contracts where each party goes through their solicitors to get the finer details like who owns the garden fence, if the garage is included in the deed, or if it involves a separate contract.

The buyer should contact the estate agent or the seller and try to find out all the minute details before applying to the bank for a mortgage. In the last stage, one must prepare for the exchange of contracts, ensuring the bank offers the mortgage. 

Some Of The Key Steps To Buying A House Are – 

  • The first step toward buying a house is to find the perfect property; some buyers may be lucky and get the ideal home at the start through a local estate agent or a property portal, while others may have to wait long to find it. The selection of the home depends on whether you want to move in or invest in property. 

  • One may require a solicitor to make an offer on the property where the solicitor may be responsible for putting in the offer, checking the contract, and negotiating and organising the transfer of the monies and the Title. 

The Role Of The Solicitor 

  • The solicitor may write a contract with the seller to ensure the property is not advertised (shown to other prospective buyers). The buyer may ensure they will fix and do all the needed repairs before the offer's closing date.

  • The solicitor searches the selected property and checks the individual registers where they may try to find if there are any pending legal issues associated with the property that can avert the deal in the end.

For example, they may inquire with the local authorities to find out if there are any planning issues with the property or if the roads or government projects have been sanctioned close to the area. If the solicitor takes more time to reply, the buyer will have to call them and ask about the process. The cost of hiring a solicitor can be in the range of £250-£300.

Home Report 

  • In the next stage, the home report and surveys are conducted where a qualified surveyor conducts the survey and gets the energy performance certificate. The property's condition, which is required to know if repairs are needed and to get the mortgage valuation and other reports.  

  • The sellers can provide details related to the Council tax, Local authority notices, parking, alterations or property history, which covers the maintenance and repairs. 

Valuations And Surveys 

The mortgage valuation report ensures the property is worth the price being paid. Its lender may rely on the valuation incorporated in the Home report, and the valuation cost can be in the range of £150-£1,500. However, it may depend on several other factors, while some mortgage deals may include free valuations. 

Types Of Surveys – 

One can get one of the cheapest basic surveys for £250 that is suitable for conventional homes or new build properties, but it may not provide details of the issues related to the property. 

  • To get a detailed survey, one must look inside and outside the property, which may cost over £400.

  • To get a detailed structural survey, one may have to pay more than £600.

  • Once the evaluation process is complete, one can make an offer on the property depending on the rates in the area, and how much one can afford to pay. 

  • The price may increase in case there are competing bids for the same property. 


  • Once the offer is accepted, one may have to pay the holding deposit, which can be in the range of £500-£1,000, to secure the agreement. 

  • If the seller accepts the offer, they can get the paperwork from the solicitor, who can send contracts of agreement where the two solicitors from both the parties exchange contracts. The solicitor checks the title deeds, and the seller may sign the transfer deed. 

Transfer Of Funds, Closing, And Taxes

  • The buyer then contacts the mortgage lender and transfers the sanctioned funds into the seller's account. 

  • The agreement fees are paid, and the deal is completed where the seller's solicitor may ask the lender to release the remaining funds. However, the buyer may have to bear expenses (e.g. £40-£50) related to the transfer of money and fees (approx. £100-300) for setting up, maintaining or closing down the account. In addition, the seller's solicitor may have to prepare the Land Transaction Return. 

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House With No Chain In 2017?

It can be frustrating when the house sale falls at the last minute due to unexpected issues in the property chains. The chain refers to the series of property buyers and sellers, and the deal is said to be chain-free when the buyer meets the seller directly. Chain-free house reduces the risk of uncertainties, but in the UK, only 10% of the houses were chain free in 2017.

It takes approximately three to four months to find a buyer and exchange the contracts in such deals, but if it involves chains or if the chain breaks, the deal may decline, and the property comes back on the market listings. 

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House In Scotland?

It can take four to eight weeks to buy a house in Scotland, and it may take eight to twelve weeks in Northern Ireland, England and Wales. 

In the top cities, the property agents post the list of properties on offer, but in the countryside, the homeowner may directly talk to the buyer.

  • The housing market in the region prefers guarantees where chains do not restrict the offers.

  • The buyer should get a good solicitor to help the seller identify the property's value to make an offer.

  • One should get the home reports, check the property's valuation, and get the details related to the walls, roofs, plumbing and other areas – exterior and interiors, or you can ask the seller for permission to get your detailed survey. You can get a structural survey, home condition or homebuyer report to conclude the asset's value and then take the help of a solicitor to transfer the ownership. 

  • To buy a property in Scotland, one may have to bid on the property and get a mortgage lender to arrange for the finance. Once the lender confirms to pay money, check the mortgage and the deposit that will be able to cover the value of the property you like to buy. 

  • One may have to arrange for the mortgage and legal fees, and they may have to pay the Land and Building Transaction Tax for the properties worth over £145,000. 

  • In Scotland, the property transaction involves the LBTT returns, which are submitted to the Revenue Scotland, where the buyer pays 2% (£145,000 and £250,000), 5% (£250,001 and £325,000), 10% (£325,001 and £750,000) and 12% for properties costing more than £750,000.

  • There is an additional 4% on homes bought as buy-to-lets or second homes valued at over £40,000. With the increase in the band, the rates on second homes also increase. 

How Long Does It Take To Go To Closing On A House? 

It can take between 3 to 6 months to buy a house, while certain unpredictable circumstances and variables can delay the deal. So, it is necessary to contact the right kind of dealer e.g. 

  • Agreeing to a mortgage can take not more than 24 hours, but obtaining the full mortgage may take longer. 

  • A home inspection may lead to a list of repairs which should resolve before closing where the seller agrees to make the repairs or agrees to reduce the property's price or give the buyer the tax credit to make the repairs. 

  • Any change in plan can delay the closing; as a result, the real estate agent should ensure that everything is properly completed before the final procedure. 

  • To speed up closing, one should try to resolve issues related to any tax lien or Title of the property before starting the paperwork. One can ask for recommendations where they will be dealing with different solicitors to get guidance for selecting the best one. 

  • Conveyancing is an important stage where one may have to contact a reputed solicitor who can handle conveyancing. Then, the purchaser can pay for conveyancing, or one may contact a professional firm to handle the conveyancing.

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House With No Chain In 2018?

In the condition of a chain, where multiple people are buying and selling, and the transactions are interdependent, one purchase of property is dependent on the sale of another –conveyancing can delay the transaction. 

The average time taken for conveyancing can be around 12 weeks, which can reduce to 4 weeks, but the likelihood of delay increases with smaller chains. 

If there are no chains attached and the buyer has cash readily available, it does not take more than eight weeks or 60 days to close.

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House With Cash? 

How long does it take to buy a house? Realtor closing time can be 40 to 50 days (on average), but sometimes, the deal takes a long time due to delays created by the fund provider. In addition, the buyer must ensure the lenders complete the pre-fund approval before making the offer.  

The all-cash buyers get a lot of extra time as the time spent on the mortgage process is reduced significantly – which involves time to get the mortgage, the appraiser, or the fund provider that needs the appraised valuation. In addition, if the appraiser's valuation is less than the predetermined value – one will have to renegotiate the rate with the lender, which may require rework.

Even in conditions when the length of the chain is minimum, there can be delays caused by delays in paperwork or survey issues or communication delays.

How Long Does It Take To Sell A House?

The aggregate property in the UK takes 102 days to sell as per the January report of the Post Office Money Mortgage. 

The report by Land Registry found the average time taken was 70 days in the year 2018. Most property experts claim it can take 2 to 3 months to sell depending on several factors, but when the buyers are too ambitious with the price – it takes three months to sell and an extra 64 days or two months for overpriced homes.

The Average Time It Takes To Find A House

It may not take more than six weeks to find the right kind of property, and it takes not more than 2 to 4 weeks to get the mortgage sanctioned (as per the 2019 data). However, it may take 16 weeks for conveyancing and exchanging the contracts and 2 to 4 weeks to finalise the sale. 


Categorised in:

Get In Touch

Hamilton International Property Contact our office

Contact Our Team


+44(0)1628 397840

Hamilton International Property Contact our office

Visit Our Office


Chiltern House Business Center
64 High Street, Burnham
Bucks - SL1 7JT
United Kingdom


Enquire Now