Moving into a new home is hugely exciting - but we all know that it can be stressful and takes anywhere from 8 - 22 weeks, depending on a big list of variables!
If you've got a solid timeline, understand each step, and know what to expect, you'll be in a great position to handle your house move calmly and capably.
This guide from Goodfellows Removals looks at every stage in the process, from applying for a mortgage, completing the transaction, and getting your boxes unpacked.
Although there are all sorts of potential delays and complications, we've listed below the UK average time it takes to work through every phase in moving home.
Note that it can take a bit longer if you're a first-time buyer, and sometimes you're a little at the mercy of other parties in a property sales chain, so it's best to try and build in flexibility wherever you can.
Of course, some of these actions can run simultaneously, so it's not a linear process!
For example, you may have already found a new home, can have the legal work completed at the same time as the survey or could have a mortgage agreement in principle on the table before you even begin your search.
We've given the average, which is five days to eight weeks.
There is a notable difference between simple, quick applications (usually because you've approached the lender in advance) and a complicated approval process.
There are two general ways to approach getting a mortgage:
The second option is often less tense, but if you've found an ideal home you'd love to live in, sometimes that takes precedence!
You can speed up the mortgage process by having all your documents ready or working with an independent broker to signpost you towards lenders who are most likely to approve your application.
Most lenders will ask for ID, payslips, bank statements, proof of deposit, evidence of other debts or obligations, and sometimes tax returns if you're self-employed.
If you choose to use a broker, make sure they're whole-of-market, as a mortgage adviser without this status can only offer a limited range of financing products and often can't give you customised advice.
Another step that varies; selling a home can take from four weeks up to around ten, although that depends on where you live, your asking price, and the demand for your property type.
Selling can sometimes be more challenging than buying.
Still, if you use respected estate agents and solicitors, they'll keep things moving - as we've mentioned, property chains can be difficult but are sometimes impossible to avoid.
The exact average selling time is 44 days, so if you have excellent listing images, flexible viewing times, and pitch your asking price just right, it needn't take months.
You might already have a property lined up, in which case you can get going with your mortgage approval and have contracts exchanged in days if both parties are happy.
It's still worth looking around and considering things like:
Homes come onto the market fairly regularly, so if you don't have a specific residence in mind, you can share your requirements with local agents and let them come up with suggestions for properties that match what you're looking for.
Making an offer can be easy if you're comfortable with the asking price, have mortgage pre-approval in place, and are ready to move, and it's normally around a one to two-week timeframe.
In some cases, a seller could compare bids or ask for a higher offer to trump another interested buyer, so although you can get the price finalised in a week or so, it isn't always so streamlined.
Any offer you make must be subject to a survey - without that, you could be in a precarious position if there is something wrong with the property.
Conveyancing is a legal process and normally takes around eight to ten weeks from start to finish.
It can seem laborious and complex, but once you break it down, it's a little easier to understand and see where you might be able to speed things up a little:
Once all this is done, your solicitor will lodge the new ownership records with the Land Registry, and the home is officially yours!
Surveys are very important and take from one to three weeks. It's never a step to skip because you need a surveyor to look carefully at the property's condition.
Inspections can throw up issues such as subsidence, dampness, rot, unapproved extension work, and many other scenarios that might mean you need to renegotiate on price or go back to the drawing board.
Although a survey takes a few hours at most, it can be a matter of waiting for the next available appointment, so it is best to leave two or three weeks, depending on how in-demand your surveyor is.
Whichever surveyor you use, they need to be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to ensure the report is to the right professional standards.
The final stage is where we step in - and it should take from one day to around two weeks.
Variables here include the distance between the properties, how many items and appliances you have to move, whether you're organising a deep clean, and if you would like to carry out any redecorating before your furniture arrives.
It's wise to book your removal service as early as possible (and any professional company will appreciate that things can change if you need to reschedule by a couple of days!).
Packing up takes the most time and includes:
Our competent removals team can usually clear a home in one to two days and book specialist equipment in advance where required.
For example, particularly heavy furniture or antiques must be handled with care and packaged diligently to make sure they make it to your destination in the same condition.
Other considerations include where heavy items are on an upper floor and need to be moved down multiple flights of stairs or disassembled and put back together at the new property.
If you're unsure of the right way to deal with your items or need support planning for things like removing shelving, handling valuables or organising storage for a few days, please get in touch.
The key to a successful move is to make sure you know how each step works and have a great level of organisation - checklists, notes and labels for boxes are all handy ways to stay in control from start to finish.
Once you've made it to your new home, it normally takes a good couple of weeks to get everything sorted, but with professionally packed boxes, we can always place the urgent items (think kettle, cutlery and beds!) where you want them first.
You can then take your time exploring your new home and finding the forever home for all of your best-loved belongings.
What our customers say...
“I felt I had to write and thank you for all your help during our recent from Hollingbourne. Kim in the office especially, and of course your personnel who were the most skilled and professional I have encountered in many years of moving.”
Dr Brown - Dorset
“Just a note to say thank you for all your help during my recent move, and how wonderful the lads were. The whole move went without stress and the three lads were so very helpful and good natured.”
Sandra Mulley South Welling
Domestic removals have been a speciality of Goodfellows for the past 30 years
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Whether you’re moving locally or overseas, Goodfellows can help you along every step of the way