Process of buying a property

An Estate Agent’s Guide to the process of buying a property in England

The process of buying a property, regardless of how many times you’ve bought before, can sometimes be both exciting and daunting, and at times a little confusing. 

Buying a property is a significant financial decision that requires careful consideration, planning and research. 

The process of buying a property usually takes 6-10 weeks, but in rare instances it can take as little as a few days with highly motivated parties. However long the process takes, it always involves several key steps. 

The first step for a buyer to take is to determine their budget and if they’ll be taking a mortgage, they’ll ideally get a mortgage agreement in principle. This will help to narrow down the search and ensure that the properties viewed are within the budget. 

Once the budget is established, the next step is to find a suitable property and make an offer. If the offer is accepted, the buyer will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the purchase through to completion. 

Process of buying a property

What are the stages of buying a property?

There are several stages involved in buying a property, each stage requires careful consideration and planning to ensure a purchase takes place in a timely manner and reaches a successful conclusion. 

Here are the typical stages of buying a property:

Arrange a mortgage

Unless you are buying the property outright, you will need to arrange a mortgage ideally in advance of searching for a property. This involves applying for a loan from a lender and providing evidence of your income and financial circumstances. It’s prudent to ensure you have confirmed the mortgage available to you in advance of beginning your search so that you have clarity on your budget. 

Find a property

The first step in buying a house is to find a property that meets your needs and budget. This process can take several months and in a competitive marketplace buyers might search unsuccessfully for several months. It is for this reason, to avoid disappointment, that some buyers will engage the services of a reputable buying agent to assist with their search. 

Make an offer 

Once you have found a property you like, you will need to make an offer. This involves negotiating a price with the seller and agreeing on any conditions of the sale. It’s sensible for a buyer to conduct their own due diligence, researching recently sold prices of similar properties so they can make a fair offer on a property. 

Instruct a solicitor

Once your offer has been accepted, you will need to instruct a solicitor to handle the legal aspects of the sale. Your solicitor will conduct searches, review contracts, and ensure that the sale is legally binding.

Exchange of contracts

Once all the legal and financial arrangements are in place, you will exchange contracts with the seller. This makes the sale legally binding, and you will need to pay the agreed deposit monies at this stage.


On the completion date, the remaining balance of the sale price is paid, and you will receive the keys to your new property. 

It is important to note that the process of buying a house can vary depending on the circumstances of the sale. Delays can occur due to issues with financing, legal matters, or other factors beyond your control. 

Process of buying a property

How long does it take to buy a house after an offer is accepted?

Once an offer is accepted, the process of buying a house in England can take between 8-12 weeks, although it can vary depending on the circumstances. During this time, the buyer, their solicitor, and a mortgage broker and lender if the buyer is taking a mortgage, will need to complete a number of tasks to ensure the property is legally transferred to them.

Tasks to complete after an offer is accepted

After an offer is accepted, a buyer will need to complete a number of tasks, including but not limited to: 

  • Arrange for a solicitor or conveyancer to apply for searches and begin their work to oversee the legal transfer of the property
  • Finalise mortgage arrangements, informing their lender so that they book a valuation to confirm the mortgage loan amount
  • Arrange for an independent survey of the property – whilst this isn’t a mandatory step, it is a prudent one, especially if you’re not buying a brand new property
  • Arrange for buildings insurance to start from the date of exchange of contracts
  • When requested by their solicitor, transfer the exchange deposit funds
Buying a property

How long does it take between exchange and completion?

Before the exchange of contracts, a buyer and seller will agree on a completion date, which is the date on which the property will be legally transferred to the buyer. Completion is typically 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts. 

This time between exchange and completion allows a mortgage lender time to supply the funds, and it also allows both buyer and seller to make appropriate plans such as confirming removals companies. 

It is important to note that the length of time between exchange and completion can vary depending on the circumstances. For example, if the buyer is in a chain, it may take longer to complete the transaction as other parties in the chain will also need to complete their transactions before each property involved can be legally transferred to the next person. 

Whilst the process of buying a house can take several months from start to finish buyers can help to ensure that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible by taking necessary steps in a timely manner and being as prepared as is possible.

Buying a property in West London

Buyers seeking a property to buy will find a selection of properties currently available for sale in West Londonwith Horton and Garton. 

It’s important to register your interest with local estate agents to ensure you are informed of suitable properties that become available for sale. Contact Horton and Garton.