A Guide for First-Time Buyers: Completion Timescales

A Guide for First-Time Buyers

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Buying your first home is an exciting time, and a huge milestone in itself, but as it’s something you’ve never done before, the home-buying process can be a little tricky to navigate. From finding the perfect property to getting the keys, we’ve outlined the completion timescales and some of the milestones you can expect to encounter along the way.

The first stages 

Finding the perfect property

After you’ve spent so much time clocking in the hours and saving for your deposit, it can be easy to become a bit carried away and want to put an offer in on the first property you view.

Buying a home is a huge step, and you’ll want to make sure that you’re making the right decision for you. When it comes to searching for the perfect property, you’ll want to consider a number of factors: 


Is the location ideal? If you have, or are planning to have, children, are there plenty of good schools nearby? It’s also important to consider your commute to work – whilst an extra 20 minutes of commuting time might not seem that big a deal now, try to imagine the impact it will have after a year of living in your new home. If socialising is important to you, you might also want to consider the location in terms of bars, restaurants, shops, and other activity spots. 


Does the property offer everything that’s on your list? Whilst things like the decor, fixtures and fittings can always be updated, there is only so much that can be done with a given space. Is the property big enough for your needs? Try to think ahead, too – if having a family is part of your plan, will the property be big enough to house whoever comes along in the future? 


Perhaps the most important factor to consider is whether or not the property is realistically affordable for you. If you’re not sure about how much you might be able to borrow, or what you can afford for your monthly mortgage repayments, consider speaking to an independent mortgage advisor. 

As a result, the house-hunting part of the process can last anything from a couple of weeks to several months, depending on the properties available on the market. 

There are new properties being listed for sale every day, so try not to lose heart if this part of the process is taking a little bit longer than you would have liked. 

Making an offer 

Once you’ve found your dream home, it’s time to make an offer! This part can be completed in a matter of days – the timescale will all depend on whether or not your offer is accepted by the seller. It may be that you enter into a bit of a negotiation with figures being thrown back and forth, which will mean this part of the process is drawn out a little longer until you both reach a figure you’re happy with. 

Agreeing a mortgage in principle 

When you’ve had your offer accepted, if you intend to take out a mortgage on your property, your next step should be to secure a mortgage in principle. This stage will involve finding a mortgage provider (perhaps through an independent mortgage adviser), discussing your finances with them and providing any evidence they may require before you can receive your mortgage offer. Overall, this can take a few weeks, so this may be something to bear in mind when it comes to assessing your completion timescales. 

The middle stages 

Appointing a conveyancing solicitor 

With your mortgage in principle agreed, things can really start to progress! Now is the time to appoint your conveyancing solicitor, who will take care of all of the legal aspects involved with the property transaction. 

When it comes to deciding on who to work with, there are a number of elements you should take into consideration, including the solicitor’s: 

  • Cost 
  • Reputation 
  • Credentials 
  • Expertise in the local area 
  • Customer service ratings & communication 

At DRN, we know that buying a property is often one of the most important, and expensive, decisions you’ll ever make. To alleviate some of the stress involved, we offer a comprehensive range of fixed-price services, helping you to keep your legal costs to a minimum. 

With years of experience in dealing with all manner of conveyancing transactions, we’ll be on hand to guide you through the process, from issuing your first instructions right through to final completion, and we work to minimise completion timescales as much as possible. 

Committed to providing all of our clients with an excellent, stress-free service, we make sure to keep all lines of communication open and will retain regular contact to ensure you’re kept up to date at every stage of the process. 

Conducting surveys and legal checks 

Over the following months, your solicitor will be working hard on your behalf to conduct the searches, property surveys, and legal checks on your future home. During this time, they’ll also be spending time drawing up the contracts. 

This part of the process is likely to be the one that takes the longest amount of time, and it’s worth noting that a lot of solicitors are currently under a lot of strain trying to meet and maintain expectations amidst the property market boom. Many are currently working with a bit of a backlog, so it’s a good idea to speak to your solicitor about any potential delays you might expect. 

The final stages 

Once all the legal aspects have been sorted, you’ll be moving into the final stage of your property purchase! 

Mortgage offer: confirmed 

It can take a few weeks for your mortgage offer to be finalised and confirmed by your lender, especially if there is any delay in getting any evidence or supporting documents sent across to them. Being quick to respond to any of their requests will help to speed this part of the process along. 

Paying your deposit and exchanging contracts 

These aspects may have been sorted by your solicitor at an earlier stage, but if not, now is the time to transfer the funds and agree a completion date so that you can move on to exchange the contracts of the purchase. This part of the process can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on how quickly each party involved responds to requests and provides what is required of them. 


With contracts exchanged and funds transferred on the day of completion, you’ll be able to collect your keys, and officially start to enjoy your new home! 

Looking for a conveyancing solicitor in Lancashire? 

We’ve been in practice since 1924 and have extensive knowledge of the local area, years of experience in facilitating the conveyancing process, and a dedicated team of professionals who are here to help every step of the way. 

To get started with purchasing your dream property, contact our team today on 01282 433 241.