How Long is the House Buying Process in England?
In England the house buying process starts when you make an offer and have it accepted. You don't have to do this in writing - a simple phone call or conversation with the estate agent or owner and an agreed price is enough to start the process off. After that it can seem to be a never-ending process. But how long is the house buying process from start to end?
If you buy a house at an auction, then you will be committed to buying it within 14 or 28 days. The final act of buying the house is called Completion. It is for this reason that people who buy property at auction need to have done their research before even entering the auction room - often even having to have paid for a survey and putting in their mortgage application, as well as having a fast solicitor lined up in order to meet that date.
If you are buying a regular house though then the average time it takes to buy a house is about three months.
There are many things that will affect the speed of the process. There might be other people in the chain - if this is your first house purchase then the people you are buying from might also be using those funds to buy their next house - and so on. The shorter the chain, the easier the process.
If you are buying property that is leasehold, then this can delay things because the leaseholders also need to be contacted and more issues might be raised about ground rents, or service charges.
Time delays come in the form of the time it takes to apply for a mortgage and for a valuation to occur, the time it takes your solicitor to send out letters and questions to the other side and to read/digest any information they receive from them. Local searches can take 3 weeks in some locations, which aren't often started at the beginning of the process either.
It is only once all questions have been answered and a mortgage offer is in the hand of the solicitor that you are finally in a position to be able to sign the contract to agree to buy the house - a stage called Exchange. Once the two signed contracts have been exchanged it's irreversible and you can safely start to book the removals firm as you will know the actual date the keys are yours.
So, if you want to buy a house, then it might be three months before you actually pick up the keys. I made an offer to buy my current house on 2 April of last year and I picked up the keys on 9 July, three months and one week later.
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