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How Long Does It Take to Move House in the UK?

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Before beginning the moving process, many people are keen to learn how long it takes to move house. The answer will vary slightly according to the circumstances. However, it’s useful to understand the average time frames for each part of the process, so that you are aware of what to expect.

Moving home can be an incredibly exciting venture, but it does also take a lot of preparation. People choose to move home for many reasons, whether it’s requiring a bigger place, looking to upgrade, moving for a job, or for a relationship. Other individuals move to seek out a lifestyle change- for instance, leaving the city for a more rural location.

If you’re looking to move house, our conveyancing solicitors are available to support you throughout the entire transaction. If you’d like assistance to move, home contact our expert solicitors at Bird & Co.

How long does it take to move house?

To help you prepare and start getting organised, let’s explore the associated time frames for moving house in the UK.

How long does it take to move house once the offer has been accepted?

In the UK, it takes an average of 11 weeks to move house once the offer has been accepted. Naturally, this timescale may vary depending on different factors, but generally speaking the process will take somewhere between 11 and 21 weeks.

How long does it take to move house with a chain?

Property chains can cause complications, but unfortunately, they are generally unavoidable when selling or purchasing a property. If the sale goes ahead smoothly, it can take around 2-3 months to move house with a chain. However, it’s not uncommon for there to be issues with property chains. Many buyers find that moving house with a chain can take up to six months.

There are many different reasons that the property chain might collapse, including:

  • A buyer in the chain cannot manage to a get their mortgage approved.
  • A seller changes their mind and doesn’t want to proceed.
  • A property survey shows that there are structural issues.

How long does it take from survey to completion?

The entire process of survey to completion should take approximately 3-6months, depending on the type of transaction. Your conveyancing lawyer will be able to give you a more accurate idea of how long your transaction will take after reviewing the details of your case.

How long does it take to move house with no chain?

If a property is not part of a chain, it means that the person selling it doesn’t need to purchase a new home, it could be that the person who lived in the house has passed away, or the individual is selling to move abroad. It could also be that the property is a new build that no one has lived in previously.

Moving house with no chain is a desirable option because it tends to be quicker, with less potential for complications. Currently the average amount of time for no chain moves is 12 weeks but it may be possible to complete the sale within a month.

What is the average time to complete house sale?

If you start counting from the first day that the house was marketed, to the point of legal completion, the average time to complete a house sale is 4.6 months.

How long after making an offer on a house do you hear back?

Once an individual has made an offer on a property, the agent or the seller should respond in around 24-72 hours. Buyers can work with their agent to agree on a time limit for their offer, a useful way to speed up the process. If the time limit is surpassed, the offer becomes void, and they’ll need to make a new offer to continue.

How long does it take for a house survey report to come back?

There are a few different types of property surveys which are included as part of a property transaction. One is the Level 2 HomeBuyer report (which was previously named the Homebuyers Survey). It’s a short survey which should take approximately 2-4 hours.

A Level 3 Building Survey is more detailed taking approximately 8 hours to complete, though it can take a little less time, depending on the type of property.

Once the surveys are complete, involved parties will need to wait for the survey reports to come back. It takes around 8 days to receive back a Building Survey report, and approximately 3-5 working days to get back the Homebuyer Report.

What slows down a house sale?

To get a real understanding of how long it takes to move house, it’s worth learning about the circumstances that can potentially slow down a house sale. There are many different factors that can slow down the average time to complete a house sale, including:

  • A conveyancing solicitor who does not communicate effectively, taking a long time to respond at each stage.
  • Getting outbid and ending up in a ‘bidding war’.
  • The seller decides to back out before the contracts are exchanged.
  • Unforeseen complications concerning the mortgage agreement.

How long does mortgage approval take?

Time frames vary, but generally, it takes anywhere between two and six weeks to get a mortgage approval. The application process is quicker if you find yourself a great mortgage broker who is able to find you the most suitable deals. Once you’ve had a mortgage approved, that offer is valid for six months.

Which factors affect how long it takes to move house in the UK?

Moving house is affected by many different factors, the average time to move house is affected by things like:

1 . The housing market

The state of the housing market can affect how long it takes to move house, this can be frustrating, because buyers and sellers have no control over the market. If the market is cold, sellers must offer competitive prices, meaning that buyers have an advantage.

If the market is hot, sellers have an advantage and can sell their properties quicker, with an increased likelihood of bidding wars.

2 . The right conveyancing solicitor

When you’re looking to purchase or sell a property, it’s important to hire the right conveyancing solicitor. Hiring a great solicitor allows you to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your property transaction while avoiding any problems later on.

With the right conveyancing solicitor on your side, you’ll speed up the moving process and ensure that everything runs smoothly. A conveyancing solicitor can support the process in many different ways including:

  • Liaising with various parties on your behalf, including estate agents, mortgage lenders, and the solicitor of the other party who is involved in the transaction.
  • Checking the legal title for the property.
  • Advising the buyer on the associated obligations and rights.
  • Considering and obtaining searches from environmental bodies, water companies, and other local authorities as necessary.
  • Making sure that all the proper legal documentation is drawn up, and that the correct amounts are paid to the involved parties.

3. The location

If you’re looking to sell your property and move house, the location has a huge impact on how quickly you’ll be able to sell. Some locations sell faster and more frequently. Although you might not be able to control the location that your property is in, there are a few things that you can do to attempt to speed up the sale of the property:

  • Ensure that any maintenance issues are fixed and that the house is well-decorated and well presented.
  • Work with an experienced estate agent to ensure that the property is well marketed and marketed in the right places.
  • Improve your position in the property chain if possible.

4. The property chain

The average time that it takes to move house is different depending on whether the transaction is part of a property chain or not. Longer chains can create a setbacks and complications and slow down the entire process. Fortunately, there are a few things that buyers can do to keep a property chain moving along:

  • Work with a specialist and experienced conveyancing solicitor.
  • Ensure that you organise your finances early on, getting support to do so if necessary.
  • Make sure that you sign and return all relevant legal paperwork as quickly as possible.
  • Include clauses in your contracts that indicate the dates of surveys, completion and exchange.

How can you speed up the process of moving house?

1 . Sort out your mortgage first

Arranging a mortgage can take a long time so it’s a good idea to get a principle decision from a mortgage lender, before putting forward an offer on a house. If you have the basis of a mortgage offer in place before you proceed, it will ensure that you are in a stronger potential to get a deal, (particularly if you’re in competition with other buyers).

2. Arrange a survey early on

If you’re selling a property as part of the moving process, it’s a good idea to arrange a survey early on. Surveys often reveal issues with houses that can compromise the moving process, and it’s generally better to be aware of things like this sooner rather than later.

3. Avoid a chain if possible

As discussed above, it may not always be possible to avoid being in a property chain, but if there’s a way that you can make this work, it can certainly speed up the process. Here are a few options:

  • If you’re selling and you have plenty of offers, you may wish to go with a buyer who isn’t in a chain.
  • Choose to a buy a new build property as opposed to an older home.
  • If you are buying a property and someone is currently living there, have them agree to leave by a specified date.

How long does it take to move house in the UK?

As we’ve discussed, the average time to move house in the UK is 3-6 months, however this can be influenced by several different factors from complications in the property chain to issues with mortgage approval. To ensure that the process runs smoothly, it’s advisable to work with an expert solicitor.

If you are looking to move house, our conveyancing solicitors at Bird & Co can offer you support throughout every stage of the transaction. Property dealings can be complicated, and we understand that it can feel a little tense to complete such a high value transaction.

Rest assured, our expert lawyers have plenty of experience guiding clients through the process with sensitivity and professionalism. For more information, get in touch with Bird & Co today.

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