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How long does moving house take?

Troy Stevens 29 March 2022

So, how long does it really take to move house?

If you’re the efficient type, you might think you can get it done and dusted within a month. After all, how long can it really take to arrange a few surveys and get some documents approved?

Stop right there! Moving house can be such a drawn-out process you can easily find yourself on hold with your solicitor six months down the line begging for some news – any news – on the sale.


How long does moving house take from start to finish?

Some people are lucky. The moving gods seem to smile down on them, and they’re in their new property within six to eight weeks. This is unusual – most people can expect a much longer wait.

It’s time to hear the brutal truth – so take a deep breath. It can take around six months to buy a property

This is from the moment a property is listed for sale until completion day – when the keys are jangling in the new owner’s pocket. But why does it take so long?


What’s the hold-up?

That’s a good question – and one prospective home buyers will probably find themselves asking at various times during the house moving process. 

The answer is actually quite simple: it’s the chain. Think about it – a house sale is made up of a chain of events and transactions, which must all happen sequentially and without any hitches to allow the process to run smoothly. 

As soon as there’s a hold-up or broken link anywhere in the chain, you’ve got a severe delay. In the worst-case scenario, the whole chain is broken, and the process of purchasing a property must start from scratch.

Outside of that, the various links in the chain include aspects such as:

  • Listing and offer acceptance – this can take up to ten weeks, and that’s without gazumping, throwing a spanner in the works.
  • The mortgage application – while a mortgage in principle is usually quick, a formal offer may take a few weeks. Getting to exchange contracts can drag on, especially if something comes up during a survey.
  • Surveys – whether booking a surveyor or ironing out issues thrown up during a survey can add months to the process.
  • Solicitors – an essential part of any property transaction – yet notorious for causing mysterious hold-ups
  • Conveyancing – property specialists are responsible for transferring the title of the property to you, but whether it’s delayed in receiving, reviewing, or signing documents – it can take months.
  • The chain - Unless you’ve got a cash buyer, you’ll need to wait for the buyer’s property to sell before proceeding with your transaction. 


What can I do about how long it takes?



Easier said than done? Maybe. We know that when you’re waiting for a sale to go through, a week can feel like a year.

But sometimes, it’s just a matter of waiting those extra few days for things to work their way through the system. 



Having said that, sometimes you need to be proactive. If you’re waiting on an offer acceptance, signed document or survey outcome – don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to see if you can chivvy things along.


Protect your money

With 1 in 4 property purchases falling through, it makes sense to insure your sale with Home Buyers’ Protection Insurance.  

Rhino Home Protect offer Home Buyers’ Protection Insurance from just £69. We provide two levels of cover – protection against a failed sale for either four months or, for full assurance, six months. 

This covers many of the upfront costs associated with buying a property – from the cost of hiring a solicitor to mortgage arrangement fees. 

Another unnecessary fee? Not even close. A failed house sale will set you back nearly £2,500 on average – which is money down the drain unless you’re covered. Don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts to find out more, or use our easy-to-use online quote engine to get started.


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