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What’s the timeline when buying a property?

by John Saunders
5th Jul 24 2:42 pm

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll make. In the UK, the process can seem complex and daunting, but understanding the timeline and key steps involved can help you navigate this journey.

Preparation and mortgage pre-approval (typically 2-6 weeks)

The first step in the buying process involves getting your finances in order. This includes saving for a deposit, reviewing your credit score and determining how much you can afford. Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval (also known as mortgage in principle) from a lender is crucial, as it gives you a clear idea of your budget and shows sellers that you are a serious buyer. The UK government offers various schemes to help first-time buyers, such as the First Homes scheme.

Property search and viewing (typically 2-12 weeks)

This is the stage where you can begin searching for your ideal home. This involves researching different areas, attending viewings and comparing properties to find the one that best meets your needs and budget.

The time spent on this stage can vary significantly, depending on market conditions, location and personal preferences.

Making an offer and negotiation (typically 1-2 weeks)

When you find a property you like, you’ll need to make an offer. This involves communicating with the seller or their estate agent and negotiating a price that both parties are satisfied with. This stage usually takes one to two weeks, depending on the responsiveness of the parties involved and the complexity of the negotiations. In some situations, offers might go to ‘best and final’ if there are a lot of interested parties.

Conveyancing and surveys (typically 8-12 weeks)

This stage involves hiring a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the transfer. They will conduct searches, review contracts and ensure there are no legal issues. You should arrange for a home survey to assess the condition of the property and identify any potential problems.

Finalising the purchase and completion (typically 2-4 weeks)

The final stage of the buying process is completion. Once the conveyancing process is complete, you will exchange contracts with the seller. If you’re selling a home and are involved in a chain, this process might take longer. In some cases, buyers might take out a bridging loan to ensure the sale of the new home can go ahead if there is a delay. You will then need to pay your deposit. On completion day, the remaining balance of the purchase price is transferred to the seller and you’ll receive the keys to your new home.

While it might seem as though there is a lot to think about when buying a property, knowing the different stages can help you prepare and plan effectively.

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