How Long Does It Take to Move House in the UK?
Moving home is one of the biggest and rewarding decisions you can make during your lifetime. However, as most people will admit, it is not without stress. The length of time it can take from beginning the process to moving day can feel like an age. But how long does it take to move house?
Buying and selling property can be a complex process, even if you do not require a mortgage and there is no chain. The best way to reduce stress, is to understand the process and have realistic expectations of the timeframe. To help with this, we have put together a quick guide of how long it takes to move in the UK.
1. Getting Your Mortgage Approved in Principle
Arranging a mortgage can be time consuming, but you can reduce that time by getting a mortgage approved in principle before you even start searching for a property. You will need to know approximately how much you are going to be asking for, and provide bank statements, payslips and any other relevant financial documents.
Though this process will not guarantee that the mortgage will be accepted for the specific property you choose, it will establish that the lender considers you an acceptable risk for the amount you are asking for. This will save time later when you formally apply for the mortgage.
2. Finding a property
This will almost certainly be the most expensive purchase you have ever made, so the worst thing you can do is to rush it. Research what is available in the right area, the right price-range and the right type of property. If you are moving locally, you can go and look at available properties from the street. Otherwise, you can use websites like Rightmove or Zoopla.
Ask to view a number of different properties and make sure you keep to the budget you set.
3. Making an Offer
After viewing several properties, review the pros and cons of each to make a decision and make a formal offer on the property you select. This is likely to involve negotiations — even if you are happy with the asking price, it may be worth trying to get a slight reduction.
It is important, though, that the initial offer you make should be realistic enough that the seller will be willing to negotiate. Make sure that, before you begin the process, you are clear in your head what is the maximum you are willing to pay, and resist any temptation to go over that.
4. The Conveyancing Process
Conveyancing is the term for all the legal and documentation processes that take place between your offer being accepted and the keys being handed over to you. This is a complex process, which means it carries a high risk of delays.
The best way to avoid as many delays as possible is to choose a solicitor, such as Osborne Morris & Morgan, with a dedicated conveyancing department that has a great track record of getting conveyancing done quickly and efficiently. Ideally, you should have chosen your conveyancing solicitor before you started searching for your home.
It can save time if you let your conveyancing solicitor know as soon as possible if you have any specific questions, as well as when you would ideally want to exchange and complete.
Bear in mind that the various processes involved in conveyancing (including surveys, searches and coordinating with other parties) can be subject to external delays. This is especially true at the moment (October 2022), since there is a substantial backlog. An expert and highly experienced conveyancing solicitor are likely to be able to minimise these delays.
Usual timescale: 8-12 weeks
5. Property Survey
A property survey should be undertaken as early as possible in the conveyancing period. You should speak with the agents regarding a surveyor or research online.
The type of property survey you need depends on the type of house you propose to move into. If it is under fifty years old, a Rics Home Survey Level 2 (also known as a HomeBuyer Report) is normally sufficient. For an older property, a Rics Home Survey Level 3 (or Building Survey) is more thorough, though more expensive. The surveyor will advise you which option to choose.
6. Exchanging Contracts and Completing the Sale
When all conveyancing processes in the chain have been satisfactorily concluded, contracts can be exchanged, at which point the transaction is binding. The timescale can vary a good deal, depending on the length of the chain and whether any problems arise in the conveyancing. This is where having a high-quality conveyancer, who knows how to encourage other parties to work more quickly, can pay dividends.
Once contracts have been exchanged, a completion date will have been agreed and set. When this date arrives, all funds will be paid as appropriate, and you will receive the deeds and keys to your new home.
7. Moving Day
You made it, and now you are ready for moving in!
You may well need a removal company. Make sure you research companies thoroughly, including checking reviews and asking about insurance.
Packing should start as soon as you have Exchanged (remembering to leave out essential items), while unpacking in your new home can seem never ending at times. Even with a professional service, it will be stressful, so try to call on family and friends to help you.
Find Your Conveyancing Solicitor
All these steps are essential, but the most crucial of all is to find a solicitor who will make the conveyancing process as quick and painless as possible. Fortunately, this is something you can start right away. We can get the sales or purchase pack sent to you and set your file up so as soon as you have sold or found somewhere we are ready to go straight away.
Get in touch with Osborne Morris & Morgan’s highly experienced conveyancing team to find out how they can help you.