The process of buying a house or flat can actually take anything from six weeks onwards. There are lots of different stages in the house buying process and if you are part of a chain, or have a mortgage, this will increase the timeline significantly.
So what are the key stages to buying a new home?
Stage 1 (Week 1)
Once you have found the home of your dreams, you need to make an offer. The offer will usually be made through the estate agent and will be subject to a survey and contract. When your offer has been accepted by the seller, the process really begins.
If you are getting a mortgage, you need to speak to your broker or lender and ask them to sort out your mortgage application. You will then need to give them paperwork that clearly shows your income and any other outgoings you have. If you are a cash buyer, you will need to provide evidence of the money required in your accounts.
Stage 2 (Week 2)
You will need to arrange for a solicitor to complete all the legal work on the property for you. The solicitor will submit a number of searches to the local council in order to find out whether there are any planning problems or local issues that could affect the value of the property.
Your lender should arrange for a survey to be carried out on the property just to value the property, then you will need to arrange your own surveyor to check the house out and see if there are any problems you need to know about.
Stage 3 (Weeks 4 - 6)
If there are no problems with the searches or the survey, then the next step would be to sign and exchange the contracts with the seller. At this point you will need to pay a 10% deposit on the house to show you are committed to the sale, if you pull out after this you won’t get the deposit back.
With some government schemes such as Help to Buy, you may only need to pay a 5% deposit rather than the typical 10%.
Stage 4 (Week 6 +)
The final stage of the purchase is called completion. This is when you complete the sale and are given the keys to your brand new home. The timing on this stage can depend on a number of things, such as whether you have notice to give on a rental property, are waiting for the person buying your current home to be ready, or waiting for the occupiers to move out of your new home.
Once you are in, there are a number of things you need to do, including sorting out your home insurance, unpacking boxes, changing the locks and most importantly, settling in to your lovely new home.
Buying a house can often be a long and complicated process, so make sure you complete each stage of the timeline one step at a time and have all your finances sorted and a solicitor to help you along the way.