How Long Does It Take To Move House?

The is a loaded question with many variables but we, at Macro Removals Bristol, will break it down into bitesize digestible pieces for you and dispel some myths about moving house.

It would be nice to walk into an estate agent, choose the house you like, view it in person, call the bank to get the mortgage, and transfer the money all within a few days but the process is a bit more complicated than that, to say the least.

In the blog, we’ll aim to list the stages of how long does it take to move house from searching for a new home to moving in with advice of what it involves and some dos and don’ts. A smooth process usually takes between 4-5 months but you’ll be one of the lucky ones if you can keep within this timeframe, especially if you’re part of a chain.

1 – Mortgage in Principle & Solicitors

Once you’ve made the decision to buy your first home or to sell your existing property and to buy a new place, you need to talk to a bank or mortgage broker to find out much you can borrow and get a mortgage in principle. There isn’t any point in spending weeks looking at properties only to find out they’re out of your price range. Remember to be honest when explaining your financial situation to your lender because they will ask for proof when it comes to processing your application after an offer has been accepted (we’ll get to that later). Also, ask yourself how much do you want to realistically spend on mortgage repayments each month? Leaving yourself with just enough money for food and bills every month in a 5-year fixed-rate mortgage isn’t a good idea.

Finding a solicitor (also known as a conveyancer) is important because they’ll handle the legalities regarding the transfer of ownership, finances and making sure the paperwork (a lot of it!) will be correctly checked and signed off. Any mistake could result in a lot of headaches down the line.

2 – Finding Your Dream Home

Now you’ve got a budget, this is arguably one of the most exciting parts of the process but it can take a while and the question of how long does it take to move house can be heavily influenced by this stage. There are many online websites to help you search for a new home such as Right Move, Zoopla & On The Market. These sites are great for narrowing down your search terms with their prices range, location radius and property type tools. You can quickly create a shortlist of suitable properties in the comfort of your own home and once that’s done, call the estate agents to arrange the bookings. However, don’t just solely rely on searching online, it’s wise to call various estate agents based in the area you’re looking at and give them your details and requirements. You never know, they might contact you before listing the property on their website.

3 – Making an Offer & Securing the Mortgage

You’ve found your new dream home and are ready to make an offer. Don’t hesitate because at the time of writing this blog, the housing marketing is booming and we’ve heard of properties getting a landslide of offers on viewing day and therefore being taken off the market very soon after. However, and this is very important to note, don’t get too emotionally attached to a property and make an over-the-top offer. As mentioned before, you don’t want to have most of your income each month spent on the mortgage and consider Stamp Duty, Solicitors fees and buying new furniture. It all adds up!

So, you’ve made the offer and it has been accepted (great!), now it’s time to contact your lender. They will thoroughly check your finances to make sure you can meet the repayments. If you haven’t been completely honest when applying for the Mortgage in Principle, your lender could offer you less or even deny the mortgage altogether.

On top of this, your lender will need to carry out a mortgage valuation against the property to check it’s worth the amount you offered for it and this is another reason not to make offers that are too high just to secure it.

4 – Property Survey

It’s important to hire a surveyor to check the property for any defects that weren’t listed in the sale description such as leaks in the roof, damp or structural problems. This can be beneficial by helping you to renegotiate the price and avoiding potential expensive headaches after you’ve moved in.

5 – Exchanging Contracts

You’ve finally reached the end of the arduous process and it’s time to sign and exchange contracts. When this is done, the purchase is now legally binding and you can relax (for a bit) knowing the sale will go through.

6 – Packing & Moving


How long this takes depends on how much you’re planning to move but a great piece of advice we offer to every customer is you can reduce your items by decluttering. Do you need that box of old cassettes in the loft and how many times have you worn the old clothes in the wardrobes? There are many charities that’ll take them off your hands or a few runs to the tip will help a lot. This will save you time in the long run and when asking how long does it take to move house, it will be quicker now!

Let’s create a few different scenarios to give you a timeframe:

2 Bed House occupied by a couple and 1 child (1 Day)

This will usually take about 6-8hrs to complete with 3 professional packers who will arrive at the property with all required packing materials.

4 Bed House occupied by a couple and 2 or 3 children (2 Days)

Houses of this size are usually accompanied by larger gardens, kitchen, dining & living areas than a standard 2 bed place, plus a garage and maybe a conservatory so it’s not just a case of packing 2 extra rooms. It could be argued there’s almost double the number of items compared to a 2 bed house.

Based on experience and using 4 professional packers this can take between 12-16hrs and split over 2 days.

If you’re self-packing, we’ve got a handy packing guide for you and remember to give yourself plenty of time.


Using the same scenario (2 & 4 bed house), with parking available directly outside the both of the new and old properties, and moving within Bristol City (that’s where we’re based).

2 Bed House occupied by a couple and 1 child (1 Day)

It usually takes a professional 3 person home removal team between 8-10hrs to move a house of this size from start to finish. 4-5hrs to fully load 2 x Luton Vans, including dismantling 1 wardrobe and 2 beds. After both vans are loaded, the team will take a 30min well-deserved break and then drive to the new property which is probably around 20-30mins away. After arriving, they’ll unload which is always quicker than loading because they don’t need to play Tetris with your belongings in the vans. Including reassembling the wardrobe and beds, it should take around 4hrs to complete.

4 Bed House occupied by a couple and 2 or 3 children (2 Days)

As mentioned in the packing section of this blog, a 4 bed house could involve moving a lot more than a 2 bed place and therefore twice as much effort and resources are required.

Similar to the packing timeline, will probably be completed over 2 days. On the first day (a day before competition day), a 2-3 person team will dismantle everything which can’t be moved in one piece such as the wardrobes, beds etc… and load 2-3 Luton Vans and these vans will be parked in a secure area overnight. Day 2 (completion day), a team of 4-5 trained staff will collect the remaining items and drive all of the vans to the new property. They’ll unload and assemble the dismantled furniture.

7 – Unpacking

You’ve finally moved in (high five!) and you’re probably quite tired but you don’t need to get stuck in straight away, get the essentials unpacked at least. It’s difficult to predict this stage because we’ve had repeat customers who used our services 6 months after moving them in and they didn’t fully unpack. However, if you received loaned boxes from the removal company, they usually want them back with 7-10 days of completion day so you might need to get going.

If all goes well, you’re looking 4-5 months from beginning your search for a new home to actually moving in and that’s if everything goes smoothly which, and if we’re honest, it rarely does!

We hope this blog has given you some idea of how long does it take to move house and the process involved. If you need more information about packing and house or office removals or looking for a free quote, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Macro Removals and we’re more than happy to help.