How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?

July 5, 2023
how long does it take to buy a house

Key takeaways:

    • Aside from budgeting and house hunting, the process of buying a house generally takes around 3-4 months but this depends on individual circumstances.
    • Steps in the home buying process include making an offer, obtaining loan pre-approval, conducting inspections and settling amongst others.
    • Saving for a deposit and researching the property market are key points which can also take up time.


How long does it take to buy a house these days? Ruling out budgeting and house hunting, the process of buying a house often takes around 3-4 months.

This step-by-step guide will help you understand every time period of the home buying process, including making an offer, applying for a mortgage and the home inspection.

Let us embark on this thrilling adventure together and turn your dream of buying your first home in Australia into reality.

Expand Your Knowledge: The housing market can be complex. Equip yourself with the full scope by reading our detailed guide on should I buy a house now.

How Long it Takes to Buy a House in 6 Steps

This is a general guide indicating how long each step would take if there were little no issues in the process.

1. Offer and Acceptance (1 to 2 weeks)

Once you’ve found the house you wish to purchase, the first step is making an offer. The negotiation period can range from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the eagerness of both the buyer and the seller.

2. Mortgage Approval (3 to 5 weeks)

If you’re like most people, you’ll need a mortgage to buy a house. The approval process can be swift if you have all the necessary documents and a good credit score. However, if there are any complications, it might stretch out for a longer period.

3. Home Inspection and Appraisal (1 to 2 weeks)

Upon acceptance of the offer and a secured mortgage pre-approval, a home inspection and appraisal are typically the next steps. These are crucial to ensure the house is a worthy investment and to satisfy the lender’s requirements.

4. Legal Work and Title Search (1 to 2 weeks)

This phase includes the necessary legal work and a title search to ensure the title is clear of any liens or encumbrances. This process could be quicker or longer based on the complexities involved.

5. Final Mortgage Approval (1 week)

With a successful home inspection, appraisal, and clear title, the final mortgage approval is processed. This stage also includes buying homeowners insurance.

6. Closing (1 to 2 weeks)

The final step is the closing, where all the paperwork is signed, and ownership is transferred. This phase concludes with the handover of the keys to the new homeowner.

5 Additional Time-Consuming Steps in Home Buying

1. Budgeting and Research

First, assess your readiness to purchase a house.

Create a budget, set a savings goal, and determine how much you can save weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

It’s also essential to research home loans and how they work. Remember, securing a suitable lender is the key to obtaining approval for a home loan.

Working with experienced real estate agents can help you find the perfect home within your budget, as they have valuable insights into the property market. These professionals can also help you negotiate offers and navigate the complexities of contracts and legal matters.

Lastly, never underestimate the importance of property inspections and due diligence. Thoroughly inspecting potential properties and researching their backgrounds can save you from costly surprises down the road.

Decisions Ahead: If you’re at a crossroads about real estate timing, our guide on Should I Buy a House Now or Wait for a Recession? delves into key factors to aid your decision-making.

2. Saving for a Deposit

 how long does it take to buy a house

Determining the amount needed for a deposit is a crucial step in the home buying process. For an existing property, it’s suggested to save 9% to 10% of the purchase price, while for a new property, aim for 2% to 5%.

Factors such as your finances and budget play a significant role in determining the amount of a mortgage loan you can borrow from the bank.

Keep in mind that most lenders have implemented a mandatory genuine savings policy for all home loan applicants.

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, a federal government initiative, may be applicable to you. Tools like the FHOG Calculator can be helpful in finding out what grants and stamp duty exemptions you are eligible for. Make sure to use them to your advantage.

Remember, if you borrow more than 80% Loan-to-Value Ratio (LVR), you’ll be charged Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), a one-off fee. The LMI Calculator can help you understand the impact of LVR on your LMI premium.

Before searching for a property, it’s recommended to have an open discussion with your accountant to determine what is financially feasible. Having a low credit score can limit your options when buying a home or investment property.

It’s best to delay purchase until you’ve improved your credit score. Specialist mortgage brokers may be able to assist you in obtaining a construction loan. If you’re having difficulty making credit payments, contact your provider to renegotiate the terms of your payment schedule.

3. Getting a Loan Pre-approval

Before you begin house hunting, it’s important to consult with a mortgage broker or lender to obtain pre-approval for a home loan. Reading tips for choosing the best home loan can help you get started. When selecting a mortgage, consider factors like:

  • interest rate
  • comparison rate
  • the option of a variable or fixed rate
  • features
  • the length of the loan
  • any upfront and ongoing fees

A variable home loan can offer benefits when interest rates decline, potentially enabling you to pay off your loan sooner.

Pre-approval is an indication that the bank is willing to consider approving your loan. It gives you an idea of your borrowing capacity, which can streamline the home buying process.

With home loan pre-approval, you can make more competitive offers on properties with expedited financing terms, allowing you to secure a better deal and move into your dream home faster. Aim to obtain pre-approval six months before purchasing a house.

When obtaining a mortgage, you have two choices regarding interest rates: fixed and variable. A fixed-rate mortgage is well-suited for those who are budget-conscious, while a variable rate mortgage may offer benefits when interest rates decline.

Keep in mind that pre-approval is conditional approval for a loan of up to a certain amount prior to making an offer to purchase a house or unit.

Essential Reading: Making a home purchase is a significant step. If you’re considering a cash deal, don’t miss our expert guide on buying a house for cash.

4. House Hunting

Researching the property market is crucial when house hunting. It helps you determine the appropriate property prices and quality of a property, as well as avoid paying more than the market value.

Explore resources like CoreLogic, Residex, and Australian Property Monitors for reliable and up-to-date information on property sales.

Be sure to consider factors such as local flooding or noise, general pricing, and demographic information when searching for a home.

Use property platforms like to create a list of suburbs within your budget based on your borrowing capacity.

Establish alerts for recently listed properties, setting the criteria to a broad scope to capture houses that may suit your needs.

Consult real estate agents and explore online resources to locate potential properties.

When you find a house you’re interested in, it’s essential to conduct a property valuation before submitting a loan application.

If you have a strong emotional response to a property, be cautious not to become overly invested before conducting necessary structural examinations, researching utilities, and familiarizing yourself with the new locale.

Be mindful of the risks associated with purchasing a property at an auction, as you may not have the opportunity to reconsider the purchase and will be required to pay a deposit immediately.

Working with Real Estate Agents

how long does it take to buy a house

Collaborating with experienced real estate agents offers numerous advantages. They have superior access to properties, negotiation skills, familiarity with local areas, and a wealth of market intelligence.

Real estate agents can help you manage copious amounts of paperwork, save you time and effort, and support you in finding the perfect property. Moreover, they possess excellent sales abilities and can negotiate the sale price directly with purchasers.

Enlisting a team of experts is crucial in receiving the most prudent advice prior to negotiating the price of a property. Real estate agents can provide the following services:

  • Provide pertinent information regarding properties for sale
  • Offer advice on purchasing a house in the area
  • Negotiate with the seller
  • Conduct background checks on the property

Working with a real estate agent can help you find suitable properties within your budget and ensure a smooth buying process, just like working with real estate agents.

Maintain open communication with your real estate team to ensure a successful transaction, and make use of expert advice to guide you through the home buying process. By collaborating with experienced real estate agents, you’re setting yourself up for success in securing your dream home.

Property Inspections and Due Diligence

Conducting property inspections and due diligence is critical when purchasing a home. Thoroughly inspecting potential properties and researching their backgrounds can save you from costly surprises down the road, ensuring they are in good condition and meet your requirements.

Let’s delve into the importance of building and pest inspections and navigating legal matters in the home buying process.

Building and Pest Inspections

Hiring professionals to conduct a building and pest inspection is crucial to avoid costly repairs in the future. Building and pest inspections disclose potential problems before they become expensive to rectify.

Your conveyancer can usually advise you on selecting a reliable building and pest inspector. They will be able to carry out an inspection of the property.

If there’s a “subject to pest and building inspection” clause in the contract, follow these steps:

  1. Engage a building inspector.
  2. Provide the building inspector with the real estate agent’s details and the property address.
  3. The building inspector should consider potential structural deficiencies, evidence of pest infestations, electrical, plumbing, and drainage concerns, asbestos, lead paint, and similar factors.

Understanding the importance of building and pest inspections can save you from expensive surprises and ensure you purchase a property in good condition. By investing in professional inspections, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re making an informed decision on your property purchase.

Legal Matters and Conveyancing

how long does it take to buy a house

Engaging a solicitor or conveyancer is essential for handling the legal aspects of the property purchase. They can assist with:

  • Reviewing contracts
  • Ensuring a smooth settlement process
  • Navigating legal matters in property transactions
  • Providing valuable advice on ownership possibilities

A licensed conveyancer is responsible for requesting inspections, managing the exchange of contracts, and conducting legal searches during the home buying process.

Before committing to purchasing off-the-plan properties, it’s wise to thoroughly examine the contract of sale with the assistance of a solicitor or conveyancer, ensuring both the seller and buyer are protected.

By engaging a solicitor or conveyancer to handle legal matters, you can ensure a seamless property purchase and avoid potential pitfalls. Their expertise will guide you through the complexities of contracts, property law, and settlement, ultimately safeguarding your investment.

Negotiating Offers and Contracts

Learning effective negotiation strategies and understanding the importance of reviewing contracts before signing are crucial to securing the best deal on your desired property.

When making an offer on a property, be prepared to exchange contracts and remit the deposit. Seek counsel from your conveyancer or solicitor regarding the particulars of the Contract of Sale process, as it may differ from state to state.

One of the most prudent strategies when engaging in negotiations regarding the price of a property is to not appear overly enthusiastic and to suggest that you are in the process of negotiating for another property.

A property valuation can help you determine an appropriate offer price. Remember, it’s imperative to obtain approval from both your mortgage broker and conveyancer before signing the Contract of Sale.

Understand the importance of being legally bound by contracts and the obligation of the buyer during the cooling-off period.

No matter how much you love a property, always ensure you have thoroughly reviewed the contract and consulted with professionals before signing on the dotted line.

Loan Approval and Settlement

how long does it take to buy a house

To finalise your home loan and complete the settlement process, you’ll need to sign the mortgage documents, transfer the property title, and ensure the settlement takes place within the specified period.

Let’s explore the importance of obtaining formal loan approval and coordinating with your conveyancer or solicitor during the settlement process.

Formal Loan Approval

Obtaining formal loan approval from your lender is essential to ensure they accept the property as security and finalize your home loan.

Formal approval denotes that the bank has acknowledged the property as collateral for their loan and affirmed that they are willing to extend the loan funds.

It’s important to understand that until formal approval is achieved, there are no assurances that the bank will provide a loan.

A prerequisite for the bank to issue formal loan approval is their acceptance of the property being purchased as collateral for the loan. If the bank does not accept the property as security, your deposit may be forfeited.

It’s crucial to work closely with your mortgage broker and conveyancer to ensure that all necessary documentation is provided for the lender’s review.

By obtaining formal loan approval, you can confidently move forward with your home purchase, knowing that your lender is committed to providing the necessary funds. This crucial step safeguards your investment and brings you one step closer to becoming a homeowner.

Settlement Process

The settlement process, which includes the settlement period, is the final stage in the sale of a property, where the buyer pays the residual sale price and becomes the legitimate owner of the property.

Coordinating with your conveyancer or solicitor is essential to complete the necessary paperwork, transfer funds, and finalize the property purchase.

One common question that arises during the settlement process is, how long does settlement take when buying a home?

The duration of the settlement process can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the transaction, the number of parties involved, and any specific conditions or requirements outlined in the contract.

Your solicitor or conveyancer will facilitate the transfer of the property into your name and ensure that the settlement occurs within the stipulated timeframe.

They will also typically organize the payment of stamp duty during settlement. It is crucial to maintain open communication with your conveyancer or solicitor throughout the process to avoid any delays or complications.

By working closely with your conveyancer or solicitor during the settlement process, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free conclusion to your home buying journey. Their expertise and guidance will help you navigate the legal and financial aspects of property ownership, allowing you to focus on the excitement of moving into your new home.

Moving In and Adjusting

Once you’ve successfully completed the home buying process, it’s time to plan your move and adjust to life as a homeowner. Here are some steps to follow.

  1. Arrange utility accounts.
  2. Pack your possessions.
  3. Engage the services of a removalist and possibly a cleaner for your new home.
  4. Transfer the address on all your accounts.
  5. Organize mail redirection to ensure a seamless transition.

It’s important to contemplate obtaining building insurance prior to the settlement date. This will protect your investment and provide peace of mind as you settle into your new abode.

As you adjust to life as a homeowner, take the time to make your new house a home, reflecting your personal tastes and preferences.

The process of moving in and adjusting can be both thrilling and challenging. By staying organized and tackling each task methodically, you’ll soon find yourself comfortably settled in your new home and ready to enjoy the benefits of homeownership.

Tips for a Smooth Home Buying Experience

how long does it take to buy a house

To ensure a successful and stress-free home buying journey, follow these steps:

  1. Read up on expert advice, stay organized, and maintain open communication with your real estate team throughout the process of buying real estate.
  2. Establish realistic goals and priorities, such as identifying your budget and researching the real estate market in a timely manner.
  3. Arrange your home and life accordingly to minimize disruptions and setbacks.

Secure financing and pre-approval by working with a lender to receive pre-approval for a loan and providing all necessary documents.

Collaborate with real estate agents to find suitable properties within your budget, negotiate offers, and navigate the complexities of contracts and legal matters.

If you are a first-time home buyer, be sure to read our article “Tips for first-time home buyers” to get more expert tips that will help you navigate your home-buying journey.

By following these tips and staying committed to the process, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges of the housing market and secure your dream home.

Remember, the journey may be filled with obstacles, but with perseverance and the right guidance, the rewards of homeownership await you.


In conclusion, the home buying journey in 2023 may be complex and challenging, but with the right knowledge, guidance, and perseverance, you can successfully navigate the process and secure your dream home.

From understanding the home buying timeline to moving in and adjusting, this step-by-step guide has provided you with the necessary tools and insights to make informed decisions and confidently embark on your home buying adventure.

So, go forth and conquer the property market, knowing that with the right approach, your dream home is within reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What documents do you need to buy a house in Australia?

When buying a house in Australia, there are several essential documents you’ll need. First, you’ll need proof of identification, such as a valid passport or driver’s license, to establish your identity.

The contract of sale is another crucial document that outlines the terms and conditions of the property purchase, including the agreed-upon price and settlement date. F

inancial documentation, such as bank statements and proof of income, may also be required to assess your financial capacity.

To stay organized and ensure you have all the necessary documents, refer to our checklist for buying a house. This resource provides a step-by-step guide to help you gather the required paperwork and navigate the home-buying process smoothly.

Can I buy a house with $10000 deposit?

It is possible to buy a house with a $10,000 deposit depending on the value of the property. If the loan amount is large, additional funding or a guarantor may be required.

How long does it take to buy a property in Australia?

On average, it can take as little as two months to purchase a property in Australia if you are an organized and proactive buyer.

You can be ready to move in within 60-90 days.

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Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier.