We’re sorry for mentioning Christmas in June. But bear with us.

If you’re thinking of moving, chances are you’ve pictured yourself in your new home in time for the end of the year. What better place to spend the festive season, and kick off 2023, than in your new pad.

And the good news is, based on the average time it takes to buy a home, there’s still time to get over the threshold before Christmas if you start your search now.

Why is moving home taking so long at the moment?

From the time a home is marked sale agreed, it currently takes 150 days on average to reach that all-important completion day. But that’s 50 days longer than during the same period in 2019.

It’s taking longer for home-buyers to get into their new homes because there’s a backlog in the conveyancing process: the thing that happens between having an offer accepted, and getting the keys to your new home. With so many people looking to move home right now, this part of the moving process is taking longer than ever before. And there are currently more than half a million homes sold subject to contract, with buyers eagerly awaiting completion. That’s 44% more than in 2019.

While there’s been a slight easing in buyer demand since last month, this isn’t going to be enough to ease the delays we’re currently seeing. With lots of people still wanting to move, estate agents are still looking for buyers who are likely to result in a sale going through as quickly as possible. Oliver Gill, of Kirkham Property in Oldham, says:

“Short chains with good estate agents progressing them is certainly what we look for when negotiating with multiple buyers these days. My expectation of the near future is that things will continue as they are for the coming months. There are simply too many buyers wanting to purchase.”

How to give yourself the best chance of moving before Christmas

If you have a home to sell and want to move before the end of the year, our property expert Tim Bannister says one thing you should do is get your home on the market before looking for your next place.

Tim says: “Existing homeowners looking to buy again will still need to put themselves in the best possible position to secure their next home in this strong market by making sure they find a buyer for their current property before looking for their next home. This is all the more important for those hoping to complete the process as quickly as possible and enjoy Christmas in a new home this year”.

And whether you’re buying a home, selling a home, or both, there are things you can do to try and prevent any delays.

If you’re a first time buyer, make sure you have a mortgage in principle in place before you go on viewings. A seller’s estate agent will want confirmation from a lender that you are able to apply for a mortgage, and that you have the funds to cover a deposit.

Once you’ve instructed a conveyancer, there are also things you can do to keep the process moving.

Let your conveyancer know as early as possible if you need answers to specific questions, and press for regular updates on how the sale is going. You can also tell them when you’d ideally like to exchange and complete, so all parties have a date to work towards.

Read more tips on keeping the conveyancing process running smoothly here.

Feeling motivated to get moving? Take a look at these homes currently for sale:

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