Buying or selling a home normally takes 2 to 3 months. The process can take longer if you’re part of a chain of buyers and sellers.

There are several steps you’ll need to follow:

  • sellers must provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • if a seller is using an estate agent, potential buyers must make any offers through the agent
  • once a buyer’s offer has been accepted, the seller’s responsible for drawing up a legal contract to transfer ownership
  • an offer is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged
  • depending on the amount given for property, the buyer may have to pay tax

This guide relates to England and Wales. Shelter has advice about buying and selling a home in Scotland.

If you’re buying property with someone else

You can own a home with up to 3 other people. Find out more about the different types of joint property ownership.