How long does it take to move house? (Timeline)

How long does it take to move house?

Moving house can take anywhere between 4 weeks and 16 weeks. The time it will take to move house will usually depend on factors such as finding another property, getting a mortgage, building surveys, the conveyancing process and how fast you are able to move your things out.

A lot of the things involved in moving house can happen all at the same time as most of them are not handled by you but the reliance on third parties being able to do their jobs within a reasonable time could be the difference between your home move taking 3 weeks and it taking 3 months.

The lessons here are:

  • Hire good professionals
  • Prepare your documents and other processes for things such as mortgages
  • Make a home moving list with items such as notifying your council and utility suppliers
  • Changing your mailing addresses on your banks, credit card providers etc

What are the key elements of the home moving process and how long do they take?

  • Mortgage Agreement in principle -5 Days
  • Selling Your Home -1week – 10 Weeks
  • Finding Your New Home- 1 – 10 Weeks
  • Making an Offer -1 week
  • Conveyancing and completion – 1week – 4 Weeks
  • Moving into Your New Home- 1 week

Step 1: A mortgage agreement in principle:

A mortgage agreement in principle can be very quick to get if you have all your mortgage documents ready, this will include:

  • ID documents
  • 3 months worth of Pays slips
  • 3 months bank statements
  • P60
  • Tax returns
  • Employee contract
  • Passport
  • Accountants statements from the past 2 to 3 years (if self-employed).
  • Tax return SA302 form (if you are self-employed)
  • Current utility bill as proof of address

Having all these documents ready will make it easier and faster for you to get a mortgage in principle.

A good mortgage broker will also help.

If you are self-employed you may want to get a self-employed mortgage broker with specialist knowledge of the self-employed market as getting mortgages for self-employed applicants is a bit of a specialist area.

Once you have gotten your agreement in principle you have passed stage 1 but be aware, having an agreement in principle does not mean the mortgage lender will still not decline your mortgage application, even though you have an agreement in principle.

You may need a bad credit mortgage broker if you have:

  • Had a bankruptcy in the past
  • Had a County court judgement (CCJ) in the past
  • Have a low credit score
  • Missed or defaulted on payments
  • Have been on a debt management plan

Step 2: selling your home.

You may choose to sell your home privately or through an estate agent.

If you sell your home through an estate agent they will likely charge between 1% – 4% plus VAT for managing the sales process.

Selling your home may take some time and usually, it will take a few weeks but it is very possible to sell your home with a home buying service such as Nested who will essentially ensure you can purchase your new home without having to worry about selling your old one.

These home buying services can shave off as much as 6 weeks from the home moving process but you should be aware that you may not get the maximum price when selling with home buying services.

Once your home is in the process of being sold you can simultaneously begin looking for a new home to buy if you haven’t already found one.

Remember you must have a gas certificate when selling your home and you must have it within 28 days of marketing your home for sale.

How long does it take to sell a house?

Selling a house could take a day or 4 months. It all really depends on the location of the property, the demand in the area and the price you are trying to sell the house for.

It may also depend on the type of buyer you are trying to attract. Buyers with little or no credit scores will struggle to get a mortgage and their mortgage applications may take longer.

The same is the case if your buyer is self-employed. A self-employed mortgage application may take longer due to all the checks the mortgage lender will need to undertake.

Step 3: Finding your new home.

Finding a new home within your budget shouldn’t take too long. At this point, you may want to apply for any home buying government schemes you are eligible for (if you haven’t already done that in stage 1) such as the help to buy equity loan or shared ownership.

These schemes will allow you to buy a property with only a 5% mortgage deposit in some cases.

A full list of home buying schemes which you may be eligible for include:

  • Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save the maximum £4,000 a year.
  • Help to buy ISA– gives a maximum bonus us £3,000 if you save the maximum allowed of £12,000. Before you get either you should consider which is better. Lifetime ISA vs Help to buy ISA.
  • Help to buy equity loan- gives you up to 40% as a 5-year interest-free equity loan. You begin to pay interest at 1.75 % after the fifth year and 1% plus RPI for every year thereafter.
  • Shared ownership- You can buy between 25% to 75% of the property initially with a shared ownership mortgage and then buy more using a staircasing mortgage.
  • Armed forces help to buy- similar to the help to buy equity loan but specific for the armed forces personnel giving them an increased chance of acceptance.
  • Rent to buy- This is the right to buy scheme on which this guide is currently discussing. A different marketing name is just used. Watch out for this when shopping to avoid missing out on eligible properties due to confusion.
  • Right to buy- allows you to buy your home at a discount price.
  • Preserved right to buy– same as above.
  • Right to acquire- same as above.

Depending on where you live, you may also be able to take advantage of home buying schemes provided by your local council. Example: In Norwich the local councils provide the Norwich home options scheme.

Once you find a property you like eligible for either of the schemes you will need to fill in a property information form as well as sign a first-time buyer declaration if necessary.

You should also look to resubmit your mortgage in principle now you have found a property either with the same lender or a different mortgage lender depending on if and how your initial situation may have changed since you got your initial mortgage agreement in principle.

Your mortgage broker will be able to advise you on if there is a need to resubmit your mortgage agreement in principle application agan.

At this stage, you may also begin considering hiring a conveyancer and buying a property survey.

Stage 4: Making an offer:

At this stage, you should have already hired the conveyancer as you will no doubt need legal advice and someone to review and draft the home sales agreement.

When making an offer for a home you may be required to pay a reservation fee or minor deposit which could potentially not be refundable after a certain amount of days or if the sales process passes a certain stage.

Once you have made an offer and it has been accepted you can now go back to the mortgage lender and make a full mortgage application.

Remember you could still be rejected by the mortgage lender even though they have already given you a mortgage in principle.

This could be for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Your loan to value (LTV) increased
  • The property type changed
  • They discovered something new on your credit file(in this case build credit)

If everything is fine and the mortgage lender offers you a mortgage you can then begin a property survey to ensure there are no issues with the property. Some mortgage lenders may insist on this and charge you for it.

The mortgage lender will also carry out a property valuation on the property and if they find that the property is worth significantly less than what you are agreeing to pay for it. They may ask you to increase your mortgage deposit so they don’t have to increase their loan to value (LTV) or they may simply reject your mortgage.

If everything goes fine with your home offer and post-mortgage offer process which includes the property survey and valuation you can then look to complete on the home.

Step 5: Conveyancing and completion

In the conveyancing and completion process, your conveyancer will carry out a legal search on the property to ensure there isn’t anything you should be made aware of before completing on the home.

Your conveyancer will also be responsible for claiming any government bonus from the government such as the help to buy ISA bonus or the lifetime ISA bonus, paying the stamp duty on the property on your behalf and getting a stamp duty certificate.

If you are a first-time buyer you will not pay stamp duty on the first 0 to £300,000 and then 5% between £300,000 to £500,000.

You will not be eligible for the first-time buyer stamp duty relief if you buy a property above £500,000.

Your conveyancer and the seller’s conveyancer will agree on a completion date and then exchange contracts.

Your conveyancer will also have to receive your mortgage deposit by bank transfer and receive the mortgage lenders funds with which they will then use to buy the house for you.

The safe buyers scheme is a scheme which was put in place to combat the deposit redirect fraud which was growing in the UK. You may want to consider this scheme when sending money to your conveyancer.

If the property has a current mortgage on it then your conveyancer will receive a redemption statement(you can read an example of what this is here) from the seller’s conveyancer which will have been obtained from the current mortgage lender on the property you are trying to buy.

Your conveyancer will pay the mortgage lender off and the rest will be sent to the seller.

Step 6: Moving into your new house

Once your conveyancer has exchanged contracts a completion day will have been agreed.

On this date, you can then get the keys to your property and move in.

You may need to hire a moving service to help you move into your new home.

If you are moving into an area with restricted parking and need to park for several hours in a loading bay to move into your home then ensure you get permission from the council for this to avoid any fines.

Before moving out of your old home ensure you have:

  • Contacted your utility supplier to inform them you are moving and take note of the metre readings.
  • Contact your bank and other financial to change your mailing address
  • Turn off all switches and unplug all electricals
  • If you are selling your home with furnishing left behind then please ensure you have made a detailed list of what is left behind and the buyer has signed this to agree that these items were present upon the sale of your home.

The day you move in could be complicated due to being stuk in a chain. This could be when the person home who you are buying is trying to purchase another home and is not able to complete on time because of whatever reason.

How long does it take to buy a house from start to finish?

It can take between 4 weeks and 3 months to buy a house from start to finish but this will depend heavily on the people you are buying the house from.

How fast they are when requesting documents, scheduling a time for a property surveyor responding to questions from your conveyancer.

How long does it take between exchange of contracts and completion?

It can take as long as 2 weeks between exchange contracts and completion but some people may choose to exchange contracts and complete on the same day.

This isnt always advisable as you may not have enough time to consider everything.

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

When there is no chain, moving houses can take between 1 week and 3 weeks. If two buyers are able to agree and exchange contracts with a completion date inserted and there are no chains they should be able to move houses within the week or at a worse case within 3 weeks.

How long does it take to pack a four-bedroom house?

A four bedroom house could take a while to pack, maybe up to 8 hours. If you plan to move out of a four-bedroom house and pack everything then you should consider asking your moving van to arrive in the morning so work can begin at the earnest.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.