From browsing to buying – time it takes to purchase a property

It takes buyers six months and 24 days to purchase a home, research claims.

A poll of 2,000 UK home owners by virtual tour technology provider Matterport, assessed the average time it takes to buy a house from browsing, to viewing, making an offer, exchanging and completing.

It discovered the lengthiest part of the process is exchanging contracts – which can take up to 25 months in some cases, but five months and ten days on average.

When starting the home buying process, potential buyers will look at more than 16 homes online across a period of just under 20 hours.

Around four days is spent waiting for viewings, with buyers on average taking a further four and a half days to put an offer on a home after its first inspection.

On average, buyers view their future home three times before making an offer, and take three friends or family members with them to help make the decision.

Once the purchase has been agreed, a further 24 days are needed to secure a mortgage offer, and three days to get a solicitor on board.

After contracts are exchanged, completion typically takes around nine days, according to the research.

It took the longest time to purchase in London, at an average of eight months, compared with a little over five months in the north-east and in Scotland, which has a different system.

James Morris-Manuel, vice-president for Matterport, said: “Buying a home can be one of the most exciting – and most frustrating – experiences of all.

“While the idea of moving somewhere new is thrilling, the reality can be very different, especially when solicitors appear to be dragging their feet, chains break down and viewings take longer than expected to arrange.

“Even viewing a home can be irritating – having to fit in with the owner’s timing and requirements, not being close enough to view a property as often as you’d wish, and then wanting to revisit when a decision has been made.”

Breakdown of how long it takes to buy a home:

Time spent browsing homes to visit online before choosing one to buy: 19.46 hours – 0.81 days

Time between finding a home online, and getting a viewing: 3.74 days

Time between the first viewing and putting in an offer on a new home: 4.47 days

Time taken, once decided to buy, to get a mortgage offer: 23.94 days

Time taken, once decided to buy, to find a solicitor: 2.98 days

Time taken to exchange contracts: 5.34 months – 165.54 days

Time between exchange and completion: 9.47 days

Total days: 210.95 / 6.8 months

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  1. TwitterSalisPropNews

    Three type of conveyancing speed:

    1. expertly handled, expereinced/law degree conveyancers, chasing down other lawyers – 3 to 8 weeks

    2. heart not in it, very often non-law degree conveyancers, sluggish with missed things/legal mistakes – 12 to 18 weeks

    3. factory style, hidden charges and poorly trained non-law degree lawyers leading to inevitable mistakes – 12 – 24 weeks


    Demand #1 – demand #ImpressiveConveyancing

    1. Jacqueline Emmerson

      Notably the fast conveyancer is often having to do more work than usual if dealing with a slow conveyancer on the other side.

  2. Ouch18


    Very rare that any of ours go beyond four months from browsing to completion with or without a chain!!

    1. Smith65


  3. Rob Hailstone

    Surely the time taken to get a mortgage offer and to exchange contracts runs concurrently? Even if it does, 187.01 days is still a ridiculously long time to buy/sell a home.
    9.47 days on average between exchange and completion, indicates that simultaneous exchange and completion (good for no one) is not as frequent as it was maybe?
    Sellers need to be sale ready. Property lawyers need to be instructed upon marketing and buyers need to have ‘in principle’ mortgage offers.
    The work that the Home Buying and Selling Group is currently doing (with MHCLG) needs to continue at apace.

  4. smile please

    Matterport, instead of wasting time on this, try building relationships with portals so we can actually showcase our tours.

  5. aSalesAgent

    Time taken, once decided to buy, to get a mortgage offer: 23.94 days

    Time taken, once decided to buy, to find a solicitor: 2.98 days

    Time taken to exchange contracts: 5.34 months – 165.54 days”


    Just so I am clear, can PIE or Matterport confirm if it reportedly takes 5.34 months from the time buyers start browsing online, or from the time they decide to buy? The above does not stipulate, whilst the other data points do.


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