Want to move into a new home by Christmas? You'd better buy now, says property expert

Buyers are urged to plan for delays during their house purchase and buy this September if they want a Christmas move

If your end-of-year goal is to celebrate Christmas in a new home, you've got no time to waste. According to a property expert, you need to buy a house in the next few weeks if you want a moving date before the festive holidays.

While much property advice over the past year has focused on reminding buyers that the property market is very, very busy, recent data point towards even longer timeframes. Conveyancing, in particular, is overloaded, but Sarah Newcombe, head of residential property at BHW Solicitors, points out that even getting a mortgage is likely to take significantly longer than usual. 'With lenders being pickier about candidates due to furlough and financial situations, we’ve seen it become increasingly difficult for people to meet the criteria set by these lenders, which adds another step to the complications of moving home', Sarah said.

Victorian white house with black door and tree in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Malcolm Menzies)

Overall, the process of buying a home has extended to as long as 16 weeks, Sarah warns. And if you want to get ahead of the Christmas rush, you need to be especially aware of the time it might take to sell your current house before you're able to complete the new one. When you put your house up for sale should depend on how saleable it is. If you’re partial to a particular property, you need to find that property first before putting your own house on the market. However, if your house could be difficult to sell, I recommend you get it on the market as soon as possible.' Consulting with a local estate agent is the best way to find whether your house is in the former or latter category, so do it sooner rather than later.

Sunny skies, exterior school house with neat garden

(Image credit: Future Owns/Polly Eltes)

The final thing to remember is that 'estate agents won’t take a property off the market until the buyer has fully instructed a solicitor' as Sarah explains, so make sure you have one ready before you find that dream home. In fact, she believes every buyer should  'consider enlisting the help of residential property solicitors to ensure the process runs smoothly' from the get-go, especially during the pandemic. Forward planning all the steps of the house buying process is the only way you can make sure you 'know exactly where their Christmas tree will be put up.'

Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.