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26th February 2020

How Long Does it Take to Buy a House


A house is probably the biggest purchases you will ever make in your life, and that is why you have to approach the purchase slowly. The process will be quite lengthy, and it will vary depending on a few factors. The pre-approval process alone can take a few days, and searching for the home could easily take many months. Once you locate the ideal property, you will still need an extra month or so to conclude the deal. In this guide, we will take you step-by-step through the process of buying a house.

The average time it takes to buy a house in the UK is between 20 to 90 days.

How long does it take to buy a house

1. Looking for a Property

One average, you will need between 6 and 12 weeks to locate a property which you can buy. Still, the time required can vary significantly. It can take time to decide on a region in which you can buy a house. Houses will generally cost more in big cities, so you can always simplify your decision by checking your budget. A few factors like the nightlife and crime rate should be considered when choosing a specific region where you can settle.

When looking for a property, you should also consider how much work you want to do on the property. You will considerably reduce the time required for a property search if you compromise on some things on your wish list. But as mentioned earlier, this is among the most important purchases you will ever make. Most people who are not in a hurry to move would be ready to wait till they find a house which meets all their requirements.

Properties for sale are usually listed on the newspaper classified or the websites of real estate agents. Property websites are also excellent places to search for houses. If you are already decided on the region you intend to live in, you can search for a house by scouting the region and looking for ‘For Sale’ signs.

The main property websites in the UK are Rightmove , On The Market , Zoopla and Prime Location

2. Financing the Purchase

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can take about three days, and this process helps to show that you are serious about buying a house. Sellers will also refer to the pre-approval documents to determine how much you can spend on a house. For the pre-approval process, you will need to show evidence of your assets, income, and credit history.

Although the pre-approval process is quite short, you will need some time to pay down credit cards. Also, if there are issues with your credit report, you have to correct them before you approach the lender for a mortgage pre-approval. You should note that a high credit report will lower your interest rates on the mortgage.

You should also save up for a down payment or deposit  before approaching the lenders. This will prove to them that you have the capacity to pay for the home.

The pre-approval will give you a big advantage over other potential buyers, and that will shorten the time needed for the purchase. For this reason, you should take it very seriously. Remember that you have to secure the loan before the pre-approval expires.

3. Getting the Contract

The negotiation process will also take a lot of time, particularly because of the back and forth involved. As soon as you locate the house you want to buy, you will need to put up an offer for the seller. Usually, the estate agent will help you make an offer on the property. As per the UK laws, the seller will have to respond to your offer within 72 hours, and this will usually be in the form of a counter-offer.

Although the negotiation process will take longer, you will not be involved with much of the finer details. The solicitors on both sides will instead handle much of the negotiation. You can always ask for the latest details on the purchase.

Once a final offer is reached, you will need to schedule a thorough home inspection. You should set aside three or four hours for the home inspection if you want to spot any serious issues with the property. The inspection is typically completed within a week of signing the purchase agreement. Still, if the inspection reveals issues that were not previously disclosed, you may have to restart the negotiation process to discuss repairs and any potential changes to the contract.

4. Finishing the Sale

When buying a property you will need the services of a good conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor who will carry out all the required searches and ensure that all legal obligations are met and that you are protected during the transaction.

The final part of buying a house is exchanging the contracts. It goes without saying that you should go through the contract keenly with your solicitor to make sure everything is in place. You can always ask for amendments where necessary. Note that signing the contract implies that you are willing to move forward with the purchase.

The next step would be to transfer the money from the account of the seller’s solicitor. Make sure you clear all costs related to the sale, including the solicitor’s fees. You will now receive the keys to your new home. Once the ownership of the land has been transferred to you, the solicitor will register the land with the government. Other legal fees will also be cleared at this point.

Processes After Buying the House

Unfortunately, the process does not end when you get the keys to your new home. First, you have to buy homeowners insurance. This way, you will be protected from damages caused by fire and other elements in the environment. There are many options of insurance covers, so you should do thorough research before purchasing a plan.

The next thing you should set in order are the utilities. Make sure the electricity, water, and gas are registered in your name. If you choose to retain your old utility providers, you should give them your new address. Make sure you also set up your telecommunication facilities like TV and phones.

You also have to notify your new local authority as soon as you move into your new home. This will keep you compliant with the law since it enables you to pay your council tax on time. Note that the council tax is paid by all renters and homeowners in the United Kingdom.

Another hectic process is moving from your previous place of residence. You have to work with a reputable removals company and engage in thorough cleaning of the new property. It will generally take a long time to settle down fully in the new property.

Building a New Home in the UK

If you have trouble finding a home which suits you, it is also possible to simply buy a plot of land and start your own construction. This is a fairly popular option in the UK. Once you find a plot of land, you will usually take about six months to complete the construction.

Costs of Buying a Home

There are certain payments which you will have to cover continually as the owner of the new house. The first mortgage payment will have to be made the month after you buy the home, and it will have to be made every month. You also need to create a budget for maintenance and repairs. These costs should be reasonably low. Another cost you must check is the council tax, and this has to be paid once every year. Other ongoing costs of owning a house include the homeowner’s insurance, the leaseholder cost, and regular bills.


Buying a house can be exciting and may be one of your biggest achievement in life. However, the process can be hectic and will take up a lot of your time. You have to start with the property search, then get a mortgage approval, and sign the contracts. You also have to inspect the home. Even after you get the keys to the new home, you will still have a lot of work to do. These tasks include the cleaning of the property and setting up the utilities and telecommunications. Buying a home in the United Kingdom will usually take many months to complete.