How long does it take to move house?
Moving house can take anywhere between 8 weeks and 22 weeks.
The time in between depends upon a number of areas such as finding a property, mortgage approval, building surveys, the conveyancing process and hiring a removals firm for moving day. Our guide will explain all of the areas that you need to consider when moving home.
A lot of these processes can happen simultaneously. See our handy table for an overview of how long moving house takes:
|Moving House Process
||Length of Completion
||5 Days - 8 Weeks
|Selling Your Home
||4 - 10 Weeks
|Finding Your New Home
||1 - 10 Weeks
|Making an Offer
||1 - 2 Weeks
|Completion of Conveyancing
||8 - 12 Weeks
|House Survey & Inspection
||1 - 3 Weeks
|Moving into Your New Home
||1 Day - 2 Weeks
1.) Mortgage Approval
How Do I Get a Mortgage?
There are generally two ways most people go about this which are:
- Finding your new home, then applying for a mortgage on that property.
- Getting a pre-approval. This is where you would get an agreement to borrow before the property is found.
Firstly, you have to find the right lender (bank). It is always recommended to go to a mortgage broker. They can help you work out what’s within your budget, which is especially useful if you want a pre-approved mortgage. They will find you the best lender and usually the best rates.
When it comes to getting your mortgage, every lender will split an application into two parts:
- An agreement in principle.
- Full application resulting in a mortgage offer.
The agreement in principle can take minutes to a couple of hours as long as you have the right documents.
Make sure you bring with you:
- Your last three months payslips
- Bank statements from your current account from up to the last 6 months
- Statements from your savings account
- Receipt of benefits (if applicable)
- Any utility bills
- Passport (driving license should be ok too)
- Accountants statements from the past 2 to 3 years (if self-employed).
- Tax return SA302 form if you have multiple sources of income or are self-employed.
If everything goes well your mortgage could be fully approved within a couple of weeks.
Please keep in mind that some applications may take longer. These are usually if you:
- Have adverse credit
- Have a low deposit
- Have a high loan to low-income ratio
*Your agreement in principle will be valid for up to three months*
2.) Selling Your Home
How long does it take to sell a house?
There isn’t just one way to sell your house! Every way has its pros and cons. Here are some of the ways you might sell your property:
- Sell through an estate agent
- Sell privately
- Quick sale schemes
Selling through an Estate Agent
Make sure you don’t just go through the first estate agent you find. They are all different!
- This is what they do day in, day out and are generally very good at marketing so your property will be seen by more people, therefore more likely to sell!
- They will also act as a middleman to organise viewings and negotiate with the purchaser.
- It’s not free. Estate agents will typically take 1-4%+VAT of the sale price and a marketing fee to appear on sites such as Rightmove.
You could always sell your house by yourself by advertising on private sale sites such as Gumtree or eBay. You can also privately sell your property to some online estate agents by paying a small fee.
- You can sell your property yourself and save thousands!
- Unless you’re experienced, it can be difficult knowing the right places to advertise your property and dealing with the negotiations of the sale can be difficult.
This is where you can cut out all of the hassles by getting a guaranteed buyer.
- Often, because they are buying your property straight away they may offer a much lower price than the expected market value. Make sure you get a few valuations before using a quick sale so you know roughly the price you should be expecting.
So, how long does it take you to sell your house?
Take a look at the average selling times based on your area:
Greater London – Under 4 weeks
South East – 4 weeks
East Anglia – 5 weeks
Wales – 5 weeks
South West – 6 weeks
East Midlands – 7 weeks
West Midlands – 8 weeks
Yorkshire & Humberside – 9 weeks
North East – 10 weeks
3) Finding a Property
How long does it take to find a property?
Finding your perfect property has to be the most exciting part of the moving process.
Going back to the question of how long does moving house take; it all depends on finding the property you like, how long the chain is and if (after a building survey) the property is acceptable to move into.
To speed things up, make sure you think about:
- What type of property you would like
- The area you would like to live in
- The upkeep of the property
- The work you may have to do either before or after you move in
Don’t just go straight to an online estate agent, you can often find bespoke estate agents specialising in certain types of properties.
Also, the property's area may dictate how regularly they are up for sale.
- Inner city – Properties tend to sell quite quickly, as generally younger people who live there often move after a few years. There are also new developments that are constantly becoming available, meaning more and more properties are on the market.
- Suburban – Slightly older demographic here. A lot of families, however usually there is a good mix of houses to choose from.
- Rural – Smaller villages can often have more elderly people living there who, according to gov.uk will not move that often. Meaning you are less likely to find a property for sale.
4) Putting in an Offer
When will my offer be accepted?
Another exciting (and stressful!) part is putting an offer in for a property (as long as it’s accepted).
As soon as the offer is made, you shouldn’t have to wait too long. However, some people will have more than just your offer to consider, so it may take the vendor or estate agent a week or so to get back to you.
Things to think about when putting an offer in:
- Make sure once the offer is accepted, the owner agrees to take the property off the market.
- The offer is subject to a home survey (this could lower the asking price if serious faults are found).
- An offer is just an offer until you exchange contracts!
5) Completion of Conveyancing
How long does conveyancing take to complete?
When thinking about ‘how long does moving house take’, you have to take into account a conveyancer. The conveyancing deals with the contract, local searches and the purchase of your new home, as well as selling your current one if it is required and is carried out by a property solicitor (i.e. Conveyancer).
It’s hard to become too excited about conveyancing, but it is a very important part of the process.
Finding a good conveyancer can be very hard, however, so don’t panic, we are here to help!
Q: So, how long does conveyancing take?
From the initial outset of conveyancing to completion, this process should take 8-12 weeks.
Q: When should I employ a conveyancer?
You should get a conveyancer as soon as you make an offer on the property you would like to buy.
6) Property Survey
How long does a property survey take?
A home survey is not the most time-consuming part of the process but it is a very important one.
We would highly recommend getting either a Building Survey or a HomeBuyers Report for your new home. This is a great way to judge whether the property is the right purchase for you, or if it’s going to cost you a lot of money in repairs (these types of findings can drive the house price down).
Booking the surveyor can be the lengthiest part, surveyors are usually booked 1-2 weeks in advance, sometimes more at peak times of the year.
The inspection itself should take a few hours - half a day, depending on the size and age of the property.
Further searches and the writing of the report often takes another working week to complete.
In total, a survey is usually completed in 2-3 weeks, depending on the availability of the surveyor.
7) Moving Day
How Long Does Moving In Take?
This is really difficult to tell you exactly how long it will take. It completely depends on how many things you have, how big your house is and how many helpers you have!
Things to think about:
- Packing and unpacking – This could greatly lengthen the time it takes.
- Putting together furniture – Will this be already together or will you have to take it apart?
- From our experiences, we have found that the moving can be done in a day (if you have very few things), but for most people, it will take 2-3 days to get everything unpacked (if you're dedicated!).
8) How Long Does Moving House Take?
It can sound quite daunting when everything is put together, but fortunately, most of these processes happen at the same time.
Listed below are the estimated times depending on the size of the chain:
Small chain: With 2-3 houses. The house move should take roughly 12-15 weeks.
No chain: As little as 8 weeks, if there are no unforeseen problems.
Problems in the chain: If difficulties arise and there is a break in the chain, then the worst case scenario would tend to be around 20-22 weeks. (This isn’t guaranteed though!)
How My Big Move Can Help You With Moving House
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