6 Weeks from Offer to Exchange

One of the first things people ask me whenever I tell them that I am a home moving manager, is ‘How long does it take to move house?’.
Image of a beautiful home interior to illustrate a DIY house buyers guide
The answer is never a simple one as it very much depends on several factors:
  • Do you need a mortgage?
  • Do you need to sell your home or are you in rented accommodation?
  • Is the property you are buying in a chain?
  • Are you buying a leasehold or freehold property?
  • Do you have a good Property Lawyer who can act quickly?
  • Does the estate agent and vendor act quickly?
  • Do you have time to look for quotes, chase up answers to questions and ensure all documentation is completed as quickly as possible or will you be completing documentation when free in the evenings and calls when you can fit them in throughout the day?
To help provide an answer, here is a case study that I recently managed.

Buying A House Timeline


Week 1: Offer accepted, Property Lawyer and Mortgage Valuation Instructed, Surveyors researched

  • Prepared with a Mortgage Decision in Principle and following a short property search and some brief negotiation, the vendor accepted the offer on my customers next home.  A lovely 4 bed near Reading.
  • My customer celebrated this first milestone and started to think about where to put her furniture and changing the colour scheme in the bedroom.
Lady reaching for a ring binder from a shelf
  • Meanwhile, I started the searching for a Property Lawyer (sometime called a solicitor or more commonly a conveyancer). By the second day, three compared quotes, together with reviews and a recommendation were back with my customer for a decision.  This is what I do for all searches.
  • I instructed the Independent Financial Adviser to request the lender start the valuation process, evaluated local surveyors based on price and feedback from my trusted source of contacts and agreed the type of survey required.
  • Within a week, the Memorandum of Sale was issued, the Property Lawyer was instructed, papers signed, money transferred and most importantly, a completion date agreed with the vendor.


Week 2: Draft Contract Requested, Valuation Booked In, Surveyor Instructed

  • Week 2 saw the draft contract requested by the Property Lawyer and the mortgage valuation booked in.
  • My customer agreed with my recommendation regarding the surveyor and the type of survey required.The survey was booked in for the following week.

Week 3: Survey Complete and Searches Requested

  • The survey was undertaken and a three-way call with the surveyor, my customer and myself revealed that there were no major issues with the property.I took notes of the items that needed answering as part of the legal checks or from the vendor themselves and forwarded them to both parties.
  • Confident that the survey had gone well and that there would be no issues with the mortgage, my customer requested that the searches and check start, so I instructed the solicitor to do so.
This brings me onto the other question I am frequently asked?
Ticklist of items and pen

How Long Do The Searches Take?

  • The long answer is that is depends on the local authority and the company utilised by the Property Lawyer to undertake the searches. The short answer is that is takes about 3 weeks but check with your Property Lawyer when you instruct the searches.

Week 4: Draft contract and forms received

  • The draft contract and forms were received from the vendors solicitor and a few questions raised. I coordinated these with some directly to the vendor via the estate agent.
Top tip: Keep a record of all questions and know who is answering them. Ensure you chase regularly and ensure all involved know that you are happy with the response, so that they are not keep waiting.  This avoids delays.
  • The mortgage valuation was also completed this week which meant that the lender could review and was well on the way to proceeding to offer.

Week 5: Mortgage Offer Received, Searches and Checks Returned

  • A busy week.  The mortgage offer was received, and all searches and checks returned.  Additional questions were passed to the vendors Property Lawyer and through the Estate Agent where applicable.
  • By the end of the week and with a lot of chasing, all queries had been answered and the Home Buyers Report documented for my customer to review over the weekend.

Week 6: Final questions and ready for Exchange (this week!)

  • The Home Buyers Report threw up some additional questions from my customer and I am currently chasing responses.  The deposit has been transferred and we are all go for Contact Exchange later this week.

How Long Does it Take to Exchange Contracts ?  Your Experiences

It has been a smooth process, but I’m interested – how long did it take you to exchange after offer acceptance and which part of the process held you up?
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With Inca Home Moves completing quote comparisons, and coordinating the full process and keeping everyone informed, a 6 week Offer to Exchange is possible.