How Long Does It Take to Move House in the UK?


Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to the question of how long it takes to move house. However, we can give you an estimate, which is between 8-30 weeks. Of course, it could be longer or shorter depending on how lucky or unlucky you are. For over 30 years, we have been keeping our loyal customers happy with a service that is always top of their phone book similar to property solicitors Manchester. However, the breadth of this time range might give you pause, but we’ll be delving into the factors that make the moving house timeline longer than you might expect.

Since it’s a lot of paperwork, you might feel tempted to run the other way(and we get it, we would feel the same!), but you shouldn’t fret too much. It’s more waiting on others to process documents and applications than you needing to fill a thousand forms, which is something of a relief! Nonetheless, let’s cut the chase and jump into starting to break down our moving house timeline checklist.

Mortgage Approval

It should come as no surprise that understanding your financial situation is the first step in our moving house timeline checklist. It’s imperative to understand the price range that you can consider, elsewise you risk having your dream be lost and bought by someone else.

However, you might be wondering why you’d seek a mortgage before finding a home. Naturally, you can wait until you find a home and then apply for a mortgage, but it’d be quite the blow to learn that your desired home just falls outside your range.

On the other hand, beginning the process and eventually obtaining a ‘mortgage in principle’ which states the amount you could potentially obtain is a way to show you may be able to secure a sufficient mortgage. Alas, it’s not a guarantee as you’ve only passed the basic financial requirements and a thorough evaluation of your ability to pay or the property value has not been conducted.

Of course, if you can pay out of pocket that simplifies the process, but in most cases, you’ll be applying for a mortgage as that is usually the wiser choice. The process for mortgage approval usually takes about a week but can last up to 8 weeks if there are issues. Most issues are due to mistakes in the application, so be attentive when filling out your mortgage application, the last thing you want is a longer moving house timeline!

Finding a New Home

The second item on our moving house timeline is possibly one of the most fun parts of moving house, finding a new home There’s nothing quite like a house viewing where you get to explore exquisite homes, conjure up dreams of a future life there, think about improvements and upgrades you might like, and become familiar with your future locale (which is just as important as finding the right home)

Naturally, all this searching will come at an expense of your time. Between searching, even with the help of an estate agent, it can take 1 to 10 weeks to find a home, possibly longer if you seek the perfect home. However, you can make it real quick by visiting online websites that help people to find a new rental property in popular cities.

However, your goal should not be to find your home as quickly as possible, it’s a big investment! Never rush to buy a house, you should take some time to consider options, whether it conforms to your needs, and if it’s a good investment or a money pit. Some things to consider are the location, nearby schools (if you have or will have children), transport links, local amenities, a boundary map, and the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Furthermore, give some consideration to the trend of local property values and how your choice compares, especially if you do intend for it to be an investment.

Property Survey

As we mentioned, you’ll want to ensure that you’re making a sound investment, thus the next item on our moving house checklist is to hire a property survey. However, only do this if you’re serious about the house, a property survey doesn’t come free. It can cost between £300-£1,500, depending on how thorough a survey you desire.

You might think a property survey would be a speedy affair, but alas, it’s an entirely separate section on our moving house timeline checklist, so you can expect it to add some time to your move! It might surprise you that it can take somewhere between 1 to 3 weeks, even if it can be completed in less than 24 hours.

Making an Offer

The next stage in our moving house timeline is to make an offer. You won’t get your house without one! Of course, you can make an offer before you have a property survey as an offer is non-binding until you put pen to paper and sign a contract.

Depending on the seller, it can take 1 to 2 weeks before you get a response. Unfortunately, there’s a chance that you could receive a negative reply if a better offer comes along. Naturally, your estate agent might have some insights into how competitive the market in the area is, so you don’t have to go back to an earlier step in the moving house timeline.


The final part of buying a house is the legal transfer of property between the buyer and seller and is referred to as conveyancing. Unless you happen to be a solicitor, it’s best to leave it to the professionals, considering that it can 8 to 10 weeks to complete this process. It’s a difficult step in the moving house timeline due to all the paperwork. Furthermore, the repercussions of improper transfers and tax payments could leave you with no property, thousands of pounds less, and a tax bill!

Selling your old home

Savings for Home

If you happen to be making the transition from being a renter to a first-time buyer, then you can skip this step in this step of the moving house timeline checklist.

Fortunately, you can sell your house while you search for a house! Just be aware that it can take 4 weeks to find a buyer, and even longer depending on the location and demand. You can take some solace in the fact that the average time that a house is on the market in the UK is 6 weeks.

Should you be depending on the money from the sale of your old house to contribute to the purchase of your new home, it will only add to your moving house timeline if it doesn’t happen quickly. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to speed up the process other than aiming to sell at a time when houses in the area are selling quickly, although that’s not always possible.

Moving house

The last great hurdle in moving house timeline, moving all your belongings from old house to new home. If you’re, once again, wondering how long does it take to move house? For the actual process of moving belongings, it can be between 1 day with some professional removal help and 2 weeks if you decide to go it alone. Granted, this does depend on how many items you need to move.

So, if you want to minimize the amount of time you spend moving your belongings from one place to another, then you should hire a removal company to help you move in one fell swoop, and maybe even tackle the task of packing your house to move. Naturally, you can find removal services online! Requesting quotes online is a great way to prevent your moving house timeline from becoming bloated with dedicating carting things back and forth.

Furthermore, you can have some influence on the expediency of your move by adding some decluttering and packing to your moving house timeline. The less you have to move the better, and it’s likely that there are some less-than-useful items lurking in the darkest corners of your house!

Now that you have an overview of the steps of moving house thanks to our moving house timeline checklist, you can go better prepared for tackling the task at hand. While it might not be the most facile task, it’s worth it in order to find a home that better suits your needs.

Finally, we wish you the best of luck with moving house and have one more thing that you should be sure to do, inform the HMRC about your change of address. You, of course, should also inform your local council and the DVLA so you can enjoy your new house with peace of mind. These little tasks will only take a few minutes, but it’s important to remember there are a few organizations to notify after you move.