How Long Does It Take To Buy A House In 2021?

In order to purchase and sell a property or land, you must first deal with comparing, choosing and/or visiting estate agents and go through the legal process of conveyancing. Conveyancing is the process that transfers legal ownership of a property from one person to another. But how long does it all take?

Find your best local estate agent based on fees, how quickly they sell, how often they achieve asking price, their success rate and more

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House

We will take you through the process of choosing an estate agent and conveyancing explaining how likely each stage is likely to take.

Choosing An Estate Agent – 0-2 weeks

If you have a property to sell yourself, the first thing to do is compare estate agents and find the right one for you. The best estate agents for you won’t be the same for everybody. Also estate agent fees vary. If you want some time to think it through and negotiate rates with a few different agents, then give yourself a week or two at this stage.

Marketing and viewings – 1-14 Weeks

Once you have chosen the best estate agents for you, discussed estate agent fees, and signed a contract, your property should be marketed pretty much instantly and then the viewings can start (with Covid appropriate measures in place of course).

This process will really depend on the market and how competitively your home is priced. In a quick moving as we have at the moment, properties can go in a couple of days…hours even! But in a slower market or if you have priced too high — it can take longer.

Reports found that this could take up to 14 weeks, so keep that in mind if things are slow and you’ve priced ambitiously.

From Offer To Exchange – 9 Weeks On Average

The conveyancing process will usually take anywhere between 8 and 12 weeks from the point at which the sale is agreed. The time that it takes to complete your conveyancing transaction will depend on many factors including whether you’re part of a chain, if you are buying, selling, or both, and the conveyancing solicitor you use.

Remember that during this time there is still a danger that things can fall through.

During this period the solicitors will work together; the buyer’s solicitor will order searches and make enquiries, and the buyer will most likely have a survey done. (Their lender may also want a valuation survey done to make sure the house is worth what they’re lending.)

Depending on the findings of the survey, the buyer may want to negotiate the price again. However, whether the market is fast or slow, data shows that this process usually takes the around 9 weeks.

From Exchange To Completion – 2 Weeks On Average

Once your official mortgage offer is in place, your pre-contract enquiries have been answered, and the survey and searches complete, you are ready to exchange contracts and set a completion date. There is often one week between exchange and completion but it can be adapted to whatever date suits all parties.

On completion day you will exchange keys and own your new home. All the funds will be transferred via the solicitor and properties will usually need to be vacated by midday.

Sometimes, you may exchange and complete on the same day or there may be a long gap in between both. This will all be negotiated as part of the contract, so you’ll know exactly what’s to come and you can get on with planning your move.

The Pandemic Has Meant Delays.

In October 2020, several professional bodies including The Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC)  and The Conveyancing Association issued a statement saying that transactions are going to take longer than usual to progress due to the pandemic and the backlog caused by the SDLT holiday.

When you compare conveyancing solicitors, look at which firms offer a Digital Move enabled service as this can help to speed up the process. This way you can get real-time updates, verify ID online and sign documents digitally. Also, online case management systems give you greater visibility and can help parts of the conveyancing process to take place quicker, essentially speeding up the process.

What Can Cause Delays?

Many factors can delay property purchase, the most common being either the buyer or seller, or their legal representatives, taking a long time responding to enquiries.

Other reasons are:

  • Problems with the property title
  • Surveys revealing problems
  • Missing information from the seller
  • Issues with mortgage applications
  • Seller buying a new build property that isn’t ready
  • Probate sales
  • Local authority is slow to respond to search requests


What If I’m In A Chain?

If you are in a chain, you are reliant on others keeping to the same timescale as you. This does not always go to plan and can have a significant impact on how long moving house takes. A problem with one party can delay everyone involved.

How Long Does Conveyancing Take For Cash Buyers?

If you are buying a house without a mortgage, you should be able to complete quicker.

You also don’t HAVE to have a survey but you may still want to have one done.

How To Avoid Conveyancing Delays

A lot of delays are avoidable. For sellers, the estate agent can make a big difference to how long the sale process takes which is why we urge you to compare all the estate agents available to you.

Estate Agent Fees are earned after an offer is accepted by making sure the offer becomes a sale. Their job is to speak to the buyer, the seller and their legal representatives regularly to make sure everything is on track so choosing the best local estate agent to you is vital.

Find the best local estate agent in your area based on how quickly they sell, how often they achieve asking prices and more

Finally, stay on the ball; make sure you respond to all enquiries as quickly as possible.

Check in with your local estate agents and later on, conveyancing professionals, at least once a week to see how the process is going

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