In an ideal world, you’d be able to buy the home you want like ordering food from a menu. However, buying a home is not a process that can just happen with the touch of a button. To land your dream apartment, you’ll need patience, decisiveness, and plenty of mental strength - especially if you are buying for the first time!

Buying a new build home is more straightforward than buying a period property (you get to avoid a property chain), but it can still take some time to get matched with the home you want. Find out what to expect from your home buying timeline below: 

Average home buying timeline:

  • Find your dream new build home
  • Getting a mortgage agreement in principle
  • Offer and negotiation
  • Sign the dotted line
  • Completing the purchase
  • Moving time!

Find your dream new build home (1-4 months)

Depending on how picky you are, this is probably the stage that will consume most of your time. Deciding on the right home will hinge on a lot of factors, from personal preference to your budget and availability.

While you want to make sure your home meets all your needs, it’s best not to get too attached to the perfect property - this will save you a lot of pain if it suddenly gets snapped up in a busy market. Finding your dream home will take time, so all you can do is be patient and make sure you are as prepared as possible!

Getting a mortgage agreement in principle (2-6 weeks)

This is one of the most important parts of the process - without a mortgage in principle, you’ll have no idea how much money you have to play with! Taking out a mortgage on a property will require you to save up a deposit (usually around 10%) and then borrow the remainder of the money for the apartment from a mortgage lender. Instead of rushing to the first mortgage provider you can find, give yourself time to shop around and find the very best option for your circumstances - you may even want to get a mortgage broker to help you!

Wondering how long a mortgage application takes? Getting your monthly application approved will take around 2 weeks, so be prepared for a bit of a wait. This time will give your mortgage lenders the chance to assess your affordability and decide how much they lend you. With this in mind, you should do everything in your power to strengthen your mortgage application. That means clearing your debt, saving a good deposit, and boosting your credit score. 

Reserve your home (1-4 days)

Once you know your finances are handled, it’s time to reserve your new build property. You are expected to put down a reservation fee of around £500 to £2,000, which puts your name on the property for up to 28 days. As long as you are able to pay for your home, the reservation fee will be taken out of the deposit you pay – so make sure your finances are in order!

Sign the dotted line (6 weeks)

As your conveyancing solicitor goes over the legal processes with your housing provider, this is a stage that won’t involve much work on your part. If you think that the legal process is going a bit slow, feel free to chase up your solicitor for information on the sale, and when you can expect to be able to pump your fist in celebration.

Completing the purchase (4 weeks)

Make sure you’ve got the numbers right because it’s payment time. Now is when you pay for your deposit, stamp duty and any solicitor fees (if you’ve used one). However, completing the purchase can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. After you’ve exchanged contracts, there’s usually a 4-week wait before you can actually move into your new home. On your completion date, you’ll finally be given the keys to your home!

Moving time! (5-10 hours)

You’ve made it! Now the fun can begin. Purchasing your new build home doesn’t stop once you’ve paid for your deposit - you also need to make sure you’ve got enough stowed away for the cost of moving! In 2022, the average cost of moving from a 3-bedroom house was £900. But if you want to save some cash, you might want to think about asking a friend for help on moving day!

Looking for a shortcut to the housing ladder? Shared Ownership is a government-supported scheme where you pay for a share of your home, while paying rent on the remainder. Buy a Shared Ownership home with Square Roots, and you can get your own home without having to spend ages saving a deposit!

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