David Lauder, Independent Mortgage Adviser with ESPC Mortgages, discusses how long the different stages of buying your first house or flat in Scotland take, from your first chat with a mortgage adviser to collecting your house keys. 

If you’re in the process of buying your first flat or house, or even if you’re just thinking about it, enter our first time buyers’ prize draw to be in with a chance of winning £3,000 towards your first home deposit. Click the button below to find out more and enter.


How long does it take to buy a house

A question often asked by clients is: “How long does the whole process to buy a house take?” No case is the same, but hopefully this article will provide a general idea of the different steps and timescales involved from when buying a house.

Agreement in principle

Once a client has decided they would definitely like to buy a house, the first step is to speak to a mortgage adviser. They will discuss your circumstances and potential eligibility for a mortgage, taking into account your income, any debt commitments and deposit size, amongst other factors. Once you have provided this information, your mortgage advisor will advise you about potential options, repayments and types of mortgages you may wish to consider.

With your agreement, they would then transfer this information onto a chosen mortgage lender to apply for an agreement in principle. This can typically be done within a week of collecting your personal details. An agreement in principle can last for anything up to 90 days, depending on the chosen mortgage lender.

Making an offer

Once you have an agreement in principle and a nominated solicitor, you have everything you need to go and make an offer on your preferred properties, based on the budget agreed with your mortgage adviser. Once you have an offer accepted, you should contact your mortgage adviser who will gather all the purchase details, advise you about documents to prepare and take you to a meeting to apply for the full mortgage.

The time taken from this application to an actual mortgage offer being accepted can vary, depending on the chosen mortgage lender and how well prepared the client is with the documents requested. It can take up to three weeks (all being well) to get your mortgage officially approved – however, at ESPC Mortgages, we pride ourselves on aiming closer to one–two weeks if circumstances allow.

Getting the house keys

Factoring in the length it takes to get the mortgage approved coupled with the fact that your chosen solicitor will still need to take care of the legal side of things, the ideal timescale from a verbal offer acceptance to actually receiving the house keys is typically five–six weeks. However, it is possible to do this sooner, should circumstances require, but each case varies based on individual factors and circumstances.

Independent mortgage advisers

Using an independent mortgage adviser can be very beneficial for these turnaround periods due to the relationships they have developed with mortgage lenders as well as having knowledge and understanding of what the most suitable solution for each client will be.

ESPC Mortgages

At ESPC Mortgages, we have dedicated points of contact who are readily available to answer questions or concerns and provide regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure a successful outcome and reduce stress or inconvenience for the client. Pop in for a no obligation chat with me or another member of the team at our Edinburgh Property Information Centre or give them a call on 0131 253 2920. 

Find out more

If you're interested in finding our more about the different stages of purchasing a home, check out our ten-step guide to buying a house or flat.

The information contained in this article is provided in good faith. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of the information, no responsibility is accepted for any errors which, despite our precautions, it may contain. No individual mortgage advice is given, nor intended to be given in this article.

The initial consultation with an adviser is free and without obligation. Thereafter, ESPC Mortgages charges for mortgage advice are usually £350 (£295 for first time buyers). YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR OTHER LOANS SECURED AGAINST IT.