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Average home buyer needs more than six months to complete purchase, study claims

Exchange of contracts pinpointed as most protracted part of the process

Emma Elsworthy
Tuesday 28 May 2019 14:31 BST
Many home-buyers thought the whole process would take just under four months to complete
Many home-buyers thought the whole process would take just under four months to complete (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Prospective homeowners need six months and 24 days to purchase a property on average, according to research.

Experts studied the average time it takes to buy a home, considering all aspects of a move, from viewing houses online to getting the keys and moving in.

They discovered the lengthiest part of the process was exchanging contracts, which took an average of five months and 10 days after an offer was made.

But in some cases, it took up to 25 months.

When starting the home-buying process, potential purchasers spent about 20 hours looking at 16 homes online.

About four days was then spent waiting for a viewing on a potential purchase, with buyers taking a further four-and-a-half days to put in an offer.

It also emerged that the average homebuyer viewed their future home three times before making an offer, taking three friends or family members with them to help make the decision.

Once the purchase had been agreed, a further 24 days were needed to secure a mortgage offer and three days to get a solicitor on board.

After contracts were exchanged, keys were finally delivered after nine days.

James Morris-Manuel, vice president of EMEA Matterport, which creates virtual home tours and commissioned the study, said: “Buying a home can be one of the most exciting – and most frustrating experiences of all.

“While the idea of moving somewhere new is thrilling, the reality can be very different, especially when solicitors appear to be dragging their feet, chains break down and viewings take longer than expected to arrange.”

Of the 2,000 homeowners polled, one-quarter had made offers on a home which were then rejected, making the process even longer – especially for the 12 per cent who put in unsuccessful bids on three or more properties.

It also emerged that London was the area in which it takes the longest to buy a house at an average of eight months, compared to just over five months in Scotland and the North East.

But while 28 per cent of respondents had no expectations of how long every step would take, almost one-third said when they did buy a house, it took longer than they thought it would.

Typically, the expectation was that the whole process would take just under four months, with more than two in 10 believing it would be done and dusted in less than two months.

Four in 10 of those polled via OnePoll even took more than seven months to decide on a new house.

Liaising with solicitors and selling the current property also made the list of things that were difficult about buying a new home.

But due to timings, 14 per cent of buyers admitted they had to compromise on their ideal home when choosing a property.

Mr Morris-Manuel added: “House hunting can be tough and time-consuming, especially for those who are juggling working full time, families, and may not necessarily be living in the area in which they want to buy.”


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