How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?
Buying a home is Stressful – I hate that expression!
Buying a home is stressful because of all the unknowns!
If this is your first rodeo, you’ll be left wondering why the whole process is so antiquated and left in the dark ages.
If you have been here before, here’s why it takes so long and why you can relax…
Finding the One
You have spent a good few months travelling to look at hovels, palaces and everything in between, when one day, the perfect home comes on the market and you decide it’s the one.
You speak to your bank and they approve a mortage in principle, you get your solicitor in place to put the offer in and the cheery Estate Agent calls you late Friday evening to let you know your offer has been accepted and you can begin to organise the necessary details to get your mortgage and legal documents in order.
The excitement wells within. You call your family and take a drive past the house you have made the offer on later that evening and begin imagining what life will be like in your new home.
Back at home you sit down and wonder how soon you be able to move in and you had better give notice on the property you are in.
Monday starts with solicitors, financial advisors and banks and everything is going well. Even the Estate Agent calls to see how you have got on and ask for a few more details to get the ball rolling.
You ask the question partway through the conversation, “So when do you think I’ll be able to move in?”
The Estate Agent replies, “Oh we are probably looking at 6 to 12 weeks.”
Yes, 6-12 weeks!!!
A potential 3 months from now and you may, not even for sure, be moving into your new home. Better not send the cancel notice yet on your rental!
Everything is going so well in that first week. Documents are being sent back and forth, signatures and photo id’s uploaded. The bank has been in touch and everything is proceeding at what feels a normal speed.
By the time Friday arrives, you may begin to doubt that the Estate Agent knew what they were talking about.
It won’t be long now and you’ll be moving in. You begin to finish off the email to notify you are leaving your current property.
After last week, all seems to be very quiet. No one is calling, no emails arrive, it seems everyone has dropped off the planet and you are left wondering what is going on.
You think to yourself, “It’s all good, we’ll just let it go this week, they are probably sorting legal stuff and don’t need me.”
An email arrives asking for some additional information on your application for the mortgage and then nothing.
Okay, you have just agreed to make a huge investment, spend all your savings and there is nothing.
Nothing from the Solicitor, nothing from the bank and you probably won’t get a call from most Estate Agents.
You send an email on Thursday to ask some questions and don’t get a response.
You decide mid-week to contact the solicitor, who tells you they are waiting for a document from you that you didn’t know about. You get it and send it on.
The bank emails to say they have received the application for a mortgage and that checks can begin.
6th Week… Onwards
Communication is sporadic. It feels like no one is communicating with anyone, and what’s more, no one is communicating with you.
You are paying huge amounts in fees and no-one has the courtesy to keep you updated.
As if by magic, you receive contact from the solicitor to say the paperwork is near completion. The bank confirms that the mortgage has been approved and the Estate Agent is calling to ask when you think you will be moving in so they can hand over the keys.
This is nothing short of madness.
If Amazon worked this slowly it would still be a book store in a garage.
Why does it take so long and why is there no communication?
This has continually been my question since entering the profession.
Banks know all there is about you. They perform the same checks for every home so should be well established in finding the proper value and able to check you are not money-laundering.
Solicitors know this part of the job off by heart. They do it every day.
Estate Agents deal with clients all day long, why do some go so quiet once the sale is done!
These are the wheels of bureaucracy. They turn very slowly and along the way you will be left thinking if this is the first time they have even been part of a sale as they mess up mortgage application, don’t send all the right documents or just forget to contact you to ask for more information.
I wrote at the beginning that buying a house is stressful and how much I despise this statement.
I despise it because stress is born from the unknown.
Your Questions probably are: “How long should you wait before you should contact the solicitor, the bank, the Estate Agent?”
“Can I speed it up?”
“Who should keep me updated?”
“What am I paying all this money for to get poor service?”
“When should I give notice to my rental and should I start looking for a moving company?”
This is all normal. What you are feeling and how slow the process is.
My advise is to first get the Estate Agents number and email address so you can stay in contact if they won’t.
Next, your solicitor needs a call at least once a week for an update on your purchase. This will keep your property at the top of the pile on the desk and attention on getting the deal done.
The bank needs frequent calls to check the progress of your application and to check if they need anything else.
This means you will become the contact person for everyone, but your stress level will be way lower.
A good Estate Agent, would assume this role and keep you updated once a week at least to ensure you are in the know, but sometimes you need to take the initiative.
This will allow you to plan when the move will take place and keep nerves calm over the time you are waiting.
At the end of the day you are customer and the Solicitors, Banks and Estate Agents are working for you… My advice is to stay on top of each to ensure your sale goes smoothly and to plan.
This will have you moving in quicker and far less stressed than if you leave it to the professionals to organise.
Paperwork takes time, but if you are alert, you can get queries and errors corrected quickly by staying in contact.
It will take a long time in comparison to your click and shop options. We have got so used to getting things instantly that we have forgotten to wait for anything.
I will be happy to help you with any questions you may have when waiting, and remember, as the customer you have rights over each profession. Use them.
All the best to you new home.
Maurice is a Glasgow Based Estate Agent, working with clients to maximise the value of their homes in the Scottish property market.
Helping to sell, buy and find homes in and around Glasgow, Maurice is part of making those dreams a reality for clients wishing to move or finding their next home and offers a number of services to support and guide clients to a successful conclusion.