Once your offer has been accepted, the seller should agree that the estate agent can take the property off the market – a key way to protect you from your offer being ‘gazumped’ and bettered by another bid. Research from Which? Mortgages surveyed 2,000 recent homebuyers in February 2016 and discovered that 28% had made an offer only for the purchase to fall through – with more than a fifth of those being down to gazumping.
There are often more negotiations to happen, including how long to wait between exchange and completion (typically this is around a week after the exchange of contracts but it can be as long as four weeks), whether fixtures and fittings are being included or if there’s an additional price to be paid, and whether you can arrange a discount if the survey shows that there’s work needed.
It can easily take several working days to negotiate this contract. You will need to process your mortgage application (the main legwork should have been done if you already had a mortgage in principle but the formal application can still take some time), instruct a solicitor, and carry out any surveys and checks required.
All this does take time and, while it has sometimes been achieved within less than 3 weeks, it is much more normal for the various admin, arrangements, searches and mortgage application to take around 6-8 weeks. That’s assuming there are no delays or issues – buying and selling property can be a difficult business and sometimes there are delays which are simply beyond your control.