Your trusted property experts

How Long Does it Take to Move House?

Author avatar
Share Share article to LinkedIn Share article to Twitter Share article to Facebook

Moving house isn’t a quick and easy process. In fact, buying a house is one of the most stressful things a person can do in their lives. With that being said, adequate planning and foresight can make the home buying and moving process that much simpler. So, how long does it take to move house?

Average Time to Move House

On average, you can expect to be moved into your new home in around 12 – 22 weeks, but much of this depends on the buying process and transfer of ownership. As with anything, unexpected problems can occur which push your move date back. It’s important to plan ahead, speak to tradespeople (like removals companies) early and be organised in approach.

Here, we’ll go into further detail about the length of time it will take for each stage in the moving process and give you a few handy tips to help take the stress out of your move.

PLEASE NOTE: The timelines provided are approximate and may vary based on individual circumstances.

The Home Moving Timeline

There are a number of plates you’ll have to spin when moving home, including the buying and selling of properties. Below, we’ve included a rundown of what’s involved and how long you can expect each phase to take. It’s worth bearing in mind that if you’re a first time buyer, this process could take significantly shorter than those involved in a lengthy chain.

  • Mortgage approval – 5 days to 8 weeks
  • Selling your home – 4 to 10 weeks
  • Finding a new home – 1 to 10 weeks
  • Making an offer – 1 to 2 weeks
  • Conveyancing – 12 to 16 weeks
  • Property survey – 1 to 3 weeks
  • Moving in – 1 day to 2 weeks

Remember, some of the above phases can be done simultaneously e.g. finding a new home and selling your home.

Let’s take a look at each stage in turn.

Mortgage Approval (5 days to 8 weeks)

Getting approved for a mortgage can take as little as a few days, though if there are issues on your application form, this could take up to 8 weeks.

There are two ways you can look to get a mortgage when buying a home. You can search for your ideal home and then seek to get a mortgage approved for that property. Alternatively, you could apply to be pre-approved for a mortgage and then find a property that fits within your pre-approved budget.

It’s important to find the right lender and you may wish to use a mortgage broker to support you in this. Mortgage brokers will help you settle on a budget and find the best lender and rates for your circumstances.

Looking for a no obligation mortgage quote? We work with a team of experienced advisers who can find you the best deal for your new home. Get your mortgage quote here.

Mortgage Quotes

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to some paperwork at hand to help speed up the process:

  • Pay slips for the last 3 months
  • Bank statements for the last 6 months
  • P60
  • Savings account statements
  • Utility bills
  • Receipts of benefits (if applicable)
  • Passport or driving license
  • Tax returns or statements (if self-employed)

Try to avoid delays as much as you can, this can cause things to go wrong between getting a mortgage offer and completion. Remember, offers can be withdrawn, so ensure you’re honest at every stage!

Selling your Home (4 to 10 weeks)

Unless you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll likely need to sell your home. This can be a long and difficult process. Property chains, solicitors and estate agents can all have an impact on the length of time this will take. The longer the selling process takes, the more chance you have of the sale falling through.

On average, it takes around 25 weeks to sell a home, from the moment it’s first listed to the moment you hand over the keys to your buyer. 

There’s a lot to consider when selling your home, including conveyancing, exchanging contracts and completion. How long it takes to sell a house varies, depending on factors such as property chains. The average number of viewings to sell a property is between 10-15, However, this can be higher or lower depending on factors such as the property’s appeal, marketing strategy, and the current state of the market.

Finding a New Home (1 to 10 weeks)

This is the fun part of the home buying process. Viewing prospective properties, getting to know the area and imagining what your life would be like in your new home can all be very exciting.

The length of time it takes to find a new home really depends on what you’re looking for. If you have a specific set of wants and needs from a new property, it may take longer to find something applicable to you. On the other hand, if you have a broad idea of what you’d like your new home to be, it may be quicker to find the perfect match.

It’s important not to rush your house hunting. It’s understandable that you may be itching to get your new home, but it’s worth being thorough in your search. Understand the local amenities, explore what the crime rates are in your area, if you have young children, it’s worth researching the local schools too. 

If you think you’ve found the right property, you may wish to understand more about the property and the area you’re moving to. Phil Spencer’s Property Report gives an in-depth look at your potential new home with information on property value, floor plans, EPC, comparable listings in the area, crime rates, school ratings, transport links and more. Everything you’d need to know before you make the decision to buy can be found in one report.

Get a Property Report

Making an Offer (1 to 2 weeks)

Once you’ve found the perfect home, the next stage in the house buying process is to make an offer. Once you’ve made an offer, it shouldn’t take too long to hear back on whether it’s been accepted, though this can take up to a couple of weeks if the seller needs time to consider the offer.

Be sure that any offer you make is subject to a survey taking place in case any problems are found. Your offer is not binding until a contract is signed.

Conveyancing (12 to 16 weeks)

The conveyancing process may seem complicated initially, but once you delve into it a little deeper, it’s easier to understand than you may think. Conveyancing is essentially the legal transfer of the property between buyer and seller once an offer has been accepted. It’s recommended to hire a conveyancing professional or solicitor to help you with this.

In total, you can expect the process to take between 12 and 16 weeks in total. This process covers a number of steps, including:

  • Getting a copy of your mortgage offer
  • Running property searches (the cost of these is sometimes extra)
    • Local authority searches
    • Title deeds
    • Risk assessments e.g. flooding
    • Location specific searches relating to certain requests, e.g. Common Land
  • Liaising with the seller’s solicitor
  • Dealing with all legal documents
  • Calculating and paying your Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Agreeing a completion date with the seller’s conveyancer
  • Preparing transfer deeds
  • Organising the deposit transfer
  • Examining the draft contract
  • Exchanging signed contracts between you and the seller
  • Forwarding legal ownership documents to the Land Registry

Looking for a conveyancing quote? Fill out our online form and we’ll put you in touch with up to four conveyancing professionals.

Find a Solicitor

Property Survey (1 to 3 weeks)

A property survey looks at the condition of your new home. This is an essential part of buying a property as it takes an in-depth look at the condition of a house and whether there will need to be any major repairs or maintenance done on it further down the line. This includes issues like damp, subsidence and rot.

A survey should always be done before a buyer parts with their cash. You’ll likely need a building society or surveyor to complete this. Be sure to check that whoever conducts the survey is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

A survey can take as little as 24 hours to be completed (from the time of booking), though you could be left waiting for a number of weeks. It’s always worth booking as early as possible to avoid any delays. In general, it’s worth allowing anywhere between 1 and 3 weeks for a property survey to take place.

Looking for a survey quote? Simply complete our online form and we’ll provide you with local surveyors for competitive prices.

Find a Local Surveyor

Moving In (1 day to 2 weeks)

Moving in is often subjective, some people prefer to get everything moved in over the course of a day, whereas others may take a little longer to get settled. This can also depend on whether you’d like to do any decorating before moving day or not.

Packing your home up can take a number of days or weeks depending on the number of belongings you have, so be sure to leave plenty of time to get this done. Be sure to wrap any valuables up carefully and mark boxes as fragile so they’re not damaged during the move.

If you’re using a removals company, it’s important to get this booked in as early as you possibly can to ensure you get the best prices and time slots. Removals companies will take the strain and heavy lifting out of the day, making the process far more manageable for you.

Once you’re fully moved in, it can take a few more weeks until you’ve got yourself unpacked and comfortable in your new surroundings.

If you’re considering hiring a removals company, we can get you an online quote in no time. 

Removal Quotes

Common Hold Ups During the Moving Process

When moving house, there are several common hold-ups that can occur during the process. These include:

Delays in Conveyancing:

The legal process of transferring property ownership, known as conveyancing, can sometimes experience delays. These delays may occur due to slow responses from solicitors, complex legal issues, or difficulties in obtaining necessary documentation. To prevent potential delays, make sure you select a reliable and efficient conveyancer or solicitor who specialises in property. Their expertise and attention to detail can help identify potential issues early on and address them promptly. It is also important to ensure you are proactive and responsive in providing all the necessary documentation and information requested.

Find a Solicitor

Chain Issues:

In a chain of transactions, where a buyer is reliant on the sale of their own property to fund their purchase, any issues or delays within the chain can cause hold-ups. For example, if a buyer or seller in the chain experiences complications, it can disrupt the entire process. Proactive communication and coordination among all parties involved is essential. A good sales agent also plays a vital role in preventing chain issues by effectively managing communication and coordination between all parties. They ensure that information flows smoothly, deadlines are met, and any potential issues are addressed promptly to help keep the chain intact.

Find a Solicitor

Mortgage Approval Delays:

Obtaining mortgage approval can sometimes take longer than anticipated, especially if there are complications with the application, such as discrepancies in valuation or difficulties meeting lending criteria. Ensure you engage a mortgage broker who has a strong track record and expertise in navigating the mortgage approval process. A knowledgeable broker can provide valuable guidance to help you understand the lending criteria and ensure your application is prepared correctly, reducing the risk of potential delays.

Find Your Mortgage

Survey Findings:

Property surveys may uncover unexpected issues, such as structural problems or boundary disputes. Resolving these issues can take time, leading to delays in the moving process.

Find a Local Surveyor

Gazumping or Gazundering:

Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts a higher offer from another buyer after accepting an initial offer. Gazundering, on the other hand, occurs when a buyer reduces their offer just before the exchange of contracts. Both situations can cause delays and negotiations.

Find a Solicitor

Slow or Inefficient Removal Services:

If you’ve hired a removal company to assist with the move, delays can occur if they are unable to accommodate your preferred dates or if there are logistical issues. To avoid delays, make sure you research and hire a reputable removal company with a proven track record. Obtain multiple quotes, compare services, and consider recommendations. Booking the removal services well in advance, especially during peak seasons, is crucial.

Removal Quotes

Unforeseen Legal or Financial Issues:

Unexpected legal or financial issues can arise, such as problems with title deeds, unpaid bills, or issues with property boundaries. Resolving these issues may require additional time and can delay the completion of the transaction.

Find a Solicitor

It’s important to be prepared for these potential hold-ups and to maintain open communication with all parties involved in the transaction. Working closely with solicitors, estate agents, and other professionals can help minimise delays and ensure a smoother moving process.

Need Help Moving House?

The average time to move house is anywhere between 8 and 22 weeks depending on your circumstances. Much of the process is subjective though, so don’t panic if the process seems to be taking shorter or longer for you. 

Be sure to remain organised throughout the process and speak to professionals to help ease any stress or complications that may arise. 

We offer a wide range of tools and resources which can help you when moving home, including Phil Spencer’s Property Report. This will provide in-depth information you need to know before you move, including property-specific and local area details!

Get a Property Report

Last Updated: July 4th, 2023

Phil Spencer

Join Phil Spencer's 'My Move iQ'

Sign-up for FREE and access

FREE home moving toolkits

Exclusive offers and discounts

FREE tickets to the biggest property and home shows

My Move iQ Competitions

Unlock exclusive benefits

Browse more in this category: