We often have clients ask us how long it will take them to move into a new home. In a perfect world, an offer would be accepted and you would be unpacking boxes six weeks later. However, this isn’t a perfect world and there are many factors that can affect the timeline of your property sale or purchase.
The first step is to make sure you have an estate agent and solicitor in place, and that they are aware of your time frame. It’s also essential to check that your buyer has sorted out their finance, but this is something that your estate agent should have checked before recommending that you accept an offer.
If your agent hasn’t pre-vetted buyers to make sure they are in a position to proceed with a sale, this can be a real issue and cause not only a delay but could result in a sale falling through.
Freehold or leasehold?
Ideally, a freehold sale could be completed within six weeks but a leasehold sale will take longer, with usually a minimum of eight to 10 weeks.
Are you in a chain?
If it’s a simple straightforward sale with no chain, then it would be unusual for a house sale to take any longer than three months. However, if there is a chain there can be unexpected delays from several different parties and so you can expect your house sale to take between three and four months, occasionally longer. Establish a completion date as soon as you can for all parties and try to work that into the negotiations at an early stage.
Choosing a solicitor
At peak times, solicitors and surveyors are busy and find themselves stretched, which can hold things up. Therefore, it’s important that you use a recommended solicitor, one you know will get things moving for you and help to speed up the process and mitigate any delays. Solicitors who can appear to have no incentive to act quickly, are one of the biggest causes of frustrations to clients.
Choosing an estate agent that you can rely on
It’s important to choose an agent that is on the case, chasing any missing paperwork and keeping in touch with all parties to ensure a smooth transaction and minimise delays. If you can’t rely on your estate agent to communicate between all parties in a timely manner then this will cause delays and hassle in trying to get things sorted out yourself. Avoid an understaffed estate agent, and don’t choose an agent based purely on price.
Other steps to avoid delays
The most important thing you can do is to choose a great estate agent and a reliable solicitor! Other than that, make sure that all the relevant property searches are up-to-date and you have all of your paperwork prepared and ready, and finance in place in order to help the sale and purchase process progress quickly.

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