How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?

Buying a house for the first time may seem daunting, and it is only natural for a first time home buyer to ask how long does it take to buy a house in the UK?

Though it is said that the whole process takes about 18 weeks, the timeline can vary from case to case as it is affected by several factors. One factor is how fast or how slow the buyer is in deciding on the house that they want.


Also, how quickly can the offer be accepted affects the time that one can purchase a house.


To avoid getting overwhelmed by the entire process of home buying, it would be best to understand each phase and break them down rather than seeing it as a whole. It is also essential to learn a few things about buying a house and the process involved so you can have an idea about the steps that need to be done, the amount of money that you need to prepare, and what to do in case something goes wrong in the process. 

Make sure to read our article about 10 Questions to Ask When Buying a House.

What is the state of your finances?

If you are buying a house in the UK, you need to have at least 5% of the total property cost to pay for your deposit. However, if you are a first time home buyer, you may need to be prepared with more like a minimum of 15%. It may be essential to note that the more considerable amount of money that you can set aside for your deposit would also mean having a lower interest rate for your mortgage as well as lower repayments.

Apart from the deposit, you would also need to pay your licensed conveyor or solicitor who will do all your legal paperwork. They usually cost between £850 and £1,500 plus the 20% VAT, and the local searches that they will do for your cost from £250 to £300 to see if there are any local problems or plans.

How to search for a house?

When you are ready to search for a house, there are some things that you may consider asking yourself or giving much thought so you can have a guide and save yourself some time.

If you already have an area on where you want to live, it is best to know more about the location.

It would also help if you know what kind of house you are looking for, and if you want something that is move-in ready or if you are open to doing some work. Do you have a personal timeline to get the house and are you willing to compromise some specs?

Because this phase of the process can take a long time, be realistic and be open to settling for something that may be one to two notches down your expectations.

To make the process easier and more convenient for you, find a reliable estate agent and one that you can trust. The same goes in finding a solicitor. Advise the seller of any conditions that you may have as well as how much you are willing to pay.

Steps to buy a house

process of finding a house

In purchasing a house, one of the most important and exciting steps is looking for the house that you want. Next is to get a mortgage by finding a mortgage provider, but before going to one, make sure that you already know how much you can afford for your monthly payments. Before making an offer, get an agreement in principle. Taking care of this process ahead of time can make your home buying experience hassle-free and work out smoothly.

The third step is the exchanging of contracts between the parties involved, and going over some details, whether trivial or significant concerns through their respective solicitors and sorting them out. This is also the process where you make your deposit. The final step is the sale completion where the buyer’s solicitor transfers funds to the seller’s solicitor, and when the estate agent gets a signal, keys will be turned over to the buyer. 

The final process though, can have some hiccups such as having delays in fund transfers or due to removal companies or the previous owners are not ready. Watch out for these.

How to speed up home buying

If you want to make the process faster:

  1. Find the right estate agent by getting someone local and is knowledgeable about the property.

  2. Get your paperwork together ahead of time and use the Property Information Questionnaire to have all the information that you need.

  3. Choose a skilled solicitor as this will make a big difference.

They are an essential component of home buying as well because having one that is trustworthy means that your purchase is in safe hands. 

Making sure that you efficiently handle all the paperwork by signing and returning them as soon as possible can help speed up the process too.

Tips if something goes wrong

After a purchase, things can still go wrong, and there may be times when you cannot avoid encountering some concerns. You may find a problem in the property, and if it seems like a hassle, you may file a lawsuit against the home inspector or the seller or both. Or in case of a delay, the party causing it may be fined. You do not want these things, so be diligent about each process to prevent this.

research a new house

The timeline in home buying

Although there is an average timeline of 18 weeks when buying a house, how long it takes to buy a house is variable because it is dependent on so many factors. But assuming that the process is hassle-free, the timeline would be a 6 to 12-week period for house hunting, 2 to 4 weeks for making and receiving an offer, about 16 weeks is allotted for conveyancing which includes the exchange of contracts and the signing. And to complete the sale takes around 2 to 4 weeks.