Purchasing a property is widely regarded as one of the most stressful processes that you are likely to experience during your lifetime. There are many aspects of the process that will be out of your hands, but by ensuring that you have a solid understanding of what each stage might look like, you will help to set yourself up for the smoothest possible ride.

Understanding timescales

Every property buying process is unique and timescales depend largely on the circumstances of both the buyer and the seller. It is also important to be mindful of the fact that legal and conveyancing issues can arise at various stages, which can add additional delays.

But let’s take this opportunity to look at the timeline of the average property buying process.

– Finding a property

The journey towards finding your dream property and putting in an offer typically takes between six weeks and eight months. From researching areas and contacting agents to setting out your offer and its conditions can be a time consuming process, but it’s one you want to get right. It is vital to factor in the array of costs that can mount up during the buying process, including money transfer fees and land registry fees, many of which can vary. For example, a homebuyers report cost can vary depending on the size of the property, its market value, and its condition.

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In addition to ensuring that you aren’t offering too much and putting yourself under financial strain, it is important to obtain information regarding which fixtures and fittings are included in the sale. Although it can sometimes be tempting to proceed without this information, you run the risk of walking into your new home on moving-in day only to find everything has been stripped bare.

– From acceptance to exchange

When your offer is accepted, the process of verifying the condition of the property and working through legal processes begins. Only after these processes have been completed can the exchange occur. For this part of the purchasing journey, you’re looking at a timeline of between four and 12 weeks.

Until contracts have been exchanged, neither party is legally required to complete the purchase. Until the point of exchange, there is always the risk of being gazanged or gazumped. Gazanging occurs when the seller chooses to stop the sale and stay in their property, whereas gazumping occurs when another buyer puts in a higher offer and your seller chooses to accept.

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Your fate is very much in the seller’s hands here, and unfortunately, the only thing you can do is to work hard to speed up the time between acceptance and exchange. Not only should you take care to choose a respected conveyancing firm such as Sam Conveyancing, but you should be prepared to do at least some chasing and hassling to keep the process moving along.

– The completion process

This is when the money for the property (minus the deposit which will already have been paid on exchange) is handed over to the seller. In return, you will receive the deeds and the keys to your new property. Again, the timescale for this stage can vary. In some cases, it will happen instantly, however, depending on circumstances, it may take up to four weeks.

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