How long does it take to buy a property? Everything you need to know.

How long does it take to buy a property? Everything you need to know. image

The Chancellor has announced that the stamp duty threshold will be temporarily raised from £125,000 to £500,000. … The stamp duty holiday will run until 31 March 2021. It means that nearly nine out of 10 transactions will no longer be subject to stamp duty.

Buying a new home is exciting and with the current stamp duty incentive set to encourage residential property buyers and sellers, you may be anxious about how long the process could take from start to finish so that you can decide whether you will be able complete everything before the current 31 March deadline.

Understanding how long you can expect to wait before you get the keys to your new home can help you to plan both practically and financially. In this post, we set out an estimated conveyancing timeline for each stage of the conveyancing process.

Forward planning

If you want a speedy transaction there are various things you can do though even before you start to look at properties. It is always a good idea to talk to a Mortgage Broker in advance so that you can have a clear understanding of what in principle you can borrow and what you potential outgoings maybe. It helps to have your mortgage agreed in principle before you begin negotiations, which may enable you to be more assertive when negotiating.  

Whether or not you are selling or buying a property it helps to instruct a solicitor before you agree on your purchase or sale. Why? This enables the legal team to gather together the property paperwork and allow us to proceed at maximum speed upon offer acceptance, which may assist you particularly if there is a chain or if you need to act quickly. It also helps you to know in advance what the transaction fees will be so that you can plan your expenses and know the costs involved. It is also important to know which lawyers you are going to instruct so that you can notify the Agents as soon as your offer is accepted. Although the conveyancing timeline below is certainly not set in stone, it provides an idea of typical transaction times.

Finding your new home (8-12 weeks)

Finding your ideal property is possibly the most difficult stage to allocate a time limit as this really depends on you. Before you start looking for properties, you should have a good understanding of your budget, how much deposit you have and the amount you will be able to borrow. This can make the process simpler and avoid any difficulties at a later stage. While you might find your dream home tomorrow, we recommend planning to spend around three months to find the right property. Incidentally, most Agents are still carrying out accompanied house viewings, although you may well be asked to wear a face mask and possibly gloves, or to avoid touching door handles for example, so do check before travel.

Making an offer (2 weeks)

After you have found a property you wish to buy, you will need to make an offer and negotiate any conditions. Both you and the seller will be looking to get the best deal possible and negotiation is a normal part of the process. If the initial offer you make works for the seller, they may accept it right away. However, there can be several stages of rejection and making new offers which can take up to a couple of weeks – or in some cases, longer. It is at this point that we encourage you to speak to instruct your lawyer so that they can get the preliminary paperwork underway.

Securing a mortgage (3-5 weeks)

You may have already secured an Agreement in Principle at this stage, or you may just have started the mortgage process. On average, it takes around 18-40 days to secure money from a mortgage lender. After you have made a full mortgage application, your lender will carry out a mortgage valuation survey, which can take anything from a few days to a few weeks.

Exchanging contracts (3-4 weeks)

The negotiation and exchange of contracts is typically the part of the conveyancing process where homebuyers can begin to feel out of the loop. Your solicitor will be working with the seller’s solicitor to negotiate the terms of the contract and making the required searches to ensure the sale can proceed. At this stage, you will also be required to pay the deposit for the property. Once all of the details have been finalised, you and the seller will sign the contracts, and the agreement to transfer ownership of the property becomes legally binding.

Completion (1-4 weeks)

Although you have signed the contract for sale, you will likely need to wait a few weeks before moving into your new home. Generally, there is a deadline of four weeks from the exchange of contracts to completion. However, this date can be agreed between buyer and seller. On the date of completion, you will receive the keys and the title deeds, and the rest of the money for the property will be paid to the seller.


Although the above conveyancing timeline is a guide, it is easy to see how, inorder to be in with a chance of completing before the 31 March deadline, time is of the essence. If you wish to discuss instruction and costs please get in touch with a member of the team, or you can use our online calculator (found on the right-hand side of web pages) to generate an instant estimate for your conveyancing transaction.

We have also introduced an out of hours quotation service for those purchasers and sellers agreeing to transactions over a weekend. With the initial excitement of agreeing to a sale or purchase on a weekend, people need to instruct a solicitor quickly. We are pleased to announce that our New Business Manager Sam Cook is available on Saturday mornings to discuss instructions and to provide a full quotation service and can be contacted directly on 07716 641601.


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