Timescales for Completion on your First Home

We’ve detailed some of the main milestones in the house buying process, from your initial reservation through to completion, with rough estimates of how much time can be needed for each.

Finding the perfect property

Finding your perfect home, can vary depending on your situation and what homes are available on the market. You might get lucky and find something relatively fast, or you may end up waiting a while for something to come up. Usually though, this part of the process tends to last a few months.

If you are interested in one of our homes, we ask that you are qualified by The New Homes Group, so both parties get a clear understanding of your financial situation and we can provide better guidance on the right home for you. You can then of course proceed with The New Homes Group, or use a provider of your choice.

For more information about The New Homes Group, click here.

Putting in an offer

The actual act of putting in an offer and having it accepted can be completed within days. If you’re looking at reserving and investing in a new build as your first home, you can find out more about the offer process in our other guide here.

Mortgage Calculator

Getting a mortgage offer

With an offer accepted, the next step is getting a mortgage in principle if you need one. This could take a few weeks if you include the time it might take you to find an appropriate provider, speak with them and receive your offer.

The next four to twelve weeks

With the above in place, the next period will typically involve:

Appointing a conveyancing solicitor

You’ll next need to appoint a conveyancer, which can take a few weeks depending on who you want to use. Although if you’re buying from a developer, they may be able to assist you with this as well.

Colours and extras

This is a really exciting time as you can start to think about how to personalise your new home – if you are indeed buying a new build. Depending on the stage of construction of your home, your sales executive will invite you to a meeting to discuss the different options available.

Having surveys and legal checks completed

The next few months will see the searches, any property surveys and the drawing up of contracts. You should note that these parts of the process are currently experiencing a backlog and subsequent delays due to the pandemic, so it may last a little longer than normal.

Final Stage

Once the legal side of things is sorted, you’ll be on the final stage towards completion, the timings of this may vary depending on the build stage of the new home you are purchasing.

A confirmed mortgage offer

It can be a few weeks for your mortgage to be confirmed by your lender. This is also likely to be delayed and take even longer if they haven’t received all their documentation from you, or they need additional information.

Paying deposits and exchanging contracts

Some of these aspects may have previously been covered by your solicitor in an earlier stage and it may just be a formal matter of transferring money, agreeing a completion date officially and then exchanging the legally binding contracts. If this is the case all of these processes can be swiftly agreed within a few weeks, but if you’re still yet to sort some of them, it can cause delays and potentially last a few months.

Please note most developers expect exchange of contracts within 28 days from receipt of draft contracts.

Home demonstration

If you were buying your new property with us, when your home is ready, we will contact you to arrange a new home demonstration. This is an important step on your journey and a great opportunity for you to inspect your new home, see how it operates and check that everything is in good working order.


The money for your purchase of your first home will be transferred on the day of completion. Once this goes through, you’ll officially be able to collect your keys.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long after valuation to mortgage offer?

You can typically expect the bank to release your mortgage offer around a few working days after the valuation is completed, providing they have all the relevant and necessary information to process the offer.

How long is a mortgage offer valid for?

A mortgage offer is typically valid for anywhere between 3 to 6 months and depends on the bank you receive the offer from. You then have 3-6 months to accept the offer before it becomes invalid and you will have to begin the process of applying again.

What happens after mortgage offer is issued?

The first step, is you need to confirm whether you're happy or not with the offer you've been given. If you are, then you sign the contract and accept the offer, which can be typically done online. Your solicitor will then begin the process of agreeing a contract exchange date and you can start thinking about completing on your dream home.

What time of day does exchange of contracts happen?

Contracts can exchange at any time of day. Exchange of contracts is typically done around 7 to 28 days before completion - although sometimes it can be possible for it all to be done within the same day. A lot depends on whether you're in a chain and how fast the process can be completed.

When do you exchange contracts on a new build?

Exchanging contracts on new builds take around 7 to 28 days, so generally the same amount of time as a normal house. It all totally depends on whether or not you're in a chain with other buyers.

Extra help from Tilia Homes

You should remember that this is just a rough guide of the timescales to completion when buying your first home and it can vary depending on a variety of different circumstances such as the covid delays we mentioned earlier. Also, if you’re buying a new build – especially if you’re buying off-plan – you of course have the additional wait of having the property built.

If this is an option you are considering as a first time buyer, if you were to choose one of our quality new homes, you’ll also get service and support throughout the whole buying process. To find out more about this, get in touch today.

First Time Home Buyers Guide