It is hard to be exact about how long the home-buying process will take, as a lot of things can vary. It could be a fast six weeks or it could take six months or even longer; however, while things do vary, it can really pay to understand the process and know when things are taking far longer than they should and how to prevent unnecessary delays.

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Finding the property

One of the first things you can’t judge is how long it will take you to find the right property. Even if you love the first one you see, this is a big investment and it is wise to assess a variety of options.

To help speed up this initial stage, make sure you are registered with all the agents in the area in addition to searching online and in local publications.

Once you find a property and make an offer, don’t be afraid to chase the agent to find out whether it has been accepted or if not, why.

The conveyancing process

Even with fast conveyancing offered by companies such as Sam Conveyancing, this part could take the most time. Several months is not uncommon for the process to be completed.

To prevent unnecessary delays, make sure you choose a competent solicitor or conveyancer who will give your property purchase the attention it deserves. You can find out more about the conveyancing process and finding a conveyancer on the HomeOwners Alliance website.

Finalising your mortgage

When you have an offer accepted, you will need your mortgage provider to commit to lending you a set amount of money. You will have to pay for a valuation survey for the lender and you can have your own survey carried out at the same time to save time and money.

A survey could uncover issues that cause delays in the purchasing process as repairs are carried out or you renegotiate the price.

It is worth remembering that if your purchase goes on for too long, your mortgage offer could expire. Make sure your mortgage adviser is kept informed, as they can help you to get an extension on the offer or a new mortgage offer if required.

The chain effect

Being part of a chain of buyers and sellers can inevitably lead to complications and delays. Cash buyers are often in a prime position when it comes to moving fast and may even be able to negotiate a lower price.

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Exchange of contracts

Once you have exchanged contracts, you are committed to buying the property or face major financial penalties. The exchange will normally occur a few days or weeks before your competition date.

On completion day, the funds will be transferred via your solicitor and you will legally own the property. Most people choose to move on this day. Be aware that chains can involve you having to wait for other people to complete; once again, this can cause delays for you.

Your solicitor will also have to register your ownership of the property with HM Land Registry, which is currently warning of delays. Updating ownership or adding a mortgage can take between four and six weeks and first registrations can take between six months and a year.

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