Michael Hardy Blog, News & Updates

How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?

28 September, 2021

Buying and selling a home can be a stressful process and take a frustratingly long time. It typically involves several stages, takes an average of 6 months from the start of your search to completion, with many variables coming into play. There are some factors you will be able to influence, but at some points you will have no choice but to dig deep into your reserves of patience.

We’ll take you through the typical timelines for the house buying process and what you can do to speed things along.

It goes without saying, that the more research you do from the outset and the quicker you can get your ducks in a row with regard to applying for a mortgage and choosing a conveyancer, the faster you’ll be able to get things over the line. If you have a property to sell, choosing an agent that is especially good with sales progression will help you avoid delays with that side of the transaction.

Finding your perfect house

This is hopefully the fun part where you find the home of your dreams that is also within budget and in your ideal location.

Timescales can vary wildly and will be influenced by things such as the availability of stock in your preferred location, how narrow your your search parameters are and how easily/quickly you can view properties. Where a property offers a 3D tour, you’ll be able to immediately carry out a virtual viewing and decide if it is worth going to visit in person.

Michael Hardy are proud to have a wide range of homes on their books, many of which offer an instant virtual walkthrough. See all our properties for sale in Wokingham, Crowthorne and surrounding areas.

While you are viewing properties, it makes sense to start researching mortgages and having a conversation with a financial advisor or mortgage broker to find out how much you can borrow, and what the repayments will look like. You can obtain a ‘mortgage in principle’, which will put you in a strong position when making an offer, giving the seller confidence that there will be no issues with your finances.

Applying for a mortgage

If you have everything ready in principle, you should sail through this process. Always present the required documentation, i.e. payslips, bank statements and forms of identification as soon as you are asked.

Whether you are applying for your mortgage directly with a lender or using a mortgage broker as an intermediary, it generally takes around a month to 6 weeks from making the application to receiving your formal mortgage offer.

The survey

This must take place prior to your lender making an official offer so that the value of your property can be independently verified.

There are several different types of survey depending on how much detail you need on the structural condition. Your mortgage provider will organise a valuation (which is the minimum requirement) and might also be able to arrange a more comprehensive ‘Homebuyers Report’ which will make you aware of any significant problems (including issues such as subsidence and damp) and will provide advice on what repairs may be necessary.

If your property is especially quirky or over 50 years old, it is advisable to commission a full Building Survey which will go into a great deal of detail. Should there be any problems highlighted, it can give you ammunition to renegotiate the price, reflecting the cost of any necessary remedial work.

Choosing a conveyancer

Our recent blog on how to choose a conveyancer covers this further but essentially we would recommend opting for a nearby practice (where you can pop in for an update) if you want to avoid delays through poor communication and benefit from their local knowledge.  If you are buying a leasehold property it pays to go with a trusted firm who you can be confident will examine every clause carefully, ensuring no nasty surprises in the future.

If time is of the essence, online conveyancers are best avoided unless they offer a comprehensive case tracking service.

Your conveyancer will liaise with the Land Registry, the local council and seller to make “enquiries and searches” regarding the status of the property, its ownership, planning permissions, land boundaries and so on. Finalising the searches and getting to the point where you will be ready to sign and exchange contracts will usually take a least a month.

To avoid this stage dragging on, always respond promptly to any enquiries and return signed documentation in good time. Keeping the lines of communication open is key, especially if you are going to be away for any significant time.  

From exchange to completion

Once all the searches are complete and satisfactory and the mortgage is in place, you will be ready to exchange contracts. Before doing so, a date for completion should be agreed with your seller (and buyer if applicable). On completion day, the seller’s solicitor will confirm that the money has been received and then you’ll finally be able to pick up the keys!

We would be delighted to answer any queries you have about buying or selling a property in Wokingham, Crowthorne or surrounds. Read more about the sales process or call us on Wokingham 0118 997 6776 or  Crowthorne 01344 779 999.

 

Model of a home with a house key