Buying a new home is exciting, but you may be anxious about how long the process could take from start to finish. Understanding the stages involved and how long you can expect to wait before you get the keys to your new home can help you to plan both practically and financially.

Finding your new home

Finding your ideal property is possibly the most difficult stage to allocate a time limit as this really depends on you. Before you start looking for properties, you should have a good understanding of your budget, how much deposit you have and the amount you will be able to borrow. This can make the process simpler and avoid any difficulties at a later stage. While you might find your dream home tomorrow, we recommend planning to spend around three months to find the right property.

Making an offer

After you have found a property you wish to buy, you will need to make an offer and negotiate any conditions. Both you and the seller will be looking to get the best deal possible and negotiation is a normal part of the process. If the initial offer you make works for the seller, they may accept it right away. However, there can be several stages of rejection and making new offers which can take up to a couple of weeks – or in some cases, longer.

Securing a mortgage

You may have already secured an Agreement in Principle at this stage, or you may just have started the mortgage process. On average, it takes around 18-40 days to secure money from a mortgage lender. After you have made a full mortgage application, your lender will carry out a mortgage valuation survey, which can take anything from a few days to a few weeks.

Exchanging contracts

The negotiation and exchange of contracts is typically the part of the conveyancing process where homebuyers can begin to feel out of the loop. Your solicitor will be working with the seller’s solicitor to negotiate the terms of the contract and making the required searches to ensure the sale can proceed. At the end of this stage, you will also be required to pay the deposit for the property. Once all of the details have been finalised, you and the seller will sign the contracts, and the agreement to transfer ownership of the property becomes legally binding.


Although you have signed the contract for sale, you will likely need to wait a week or so before moving into your new home. The date is agreed between buyer and seller at the point of exchange. On the day of completion, the rest of the money for the property will be paid to the seller and you will receive the keys to the property.

Led by Laura Finnigan the Thompson Smith and Puxon Residential Property team can help with all of your property matters and can be contacted on 01206 574431 by email at