In theory, buying a home should take no longer than buying a car. So what are the factors that make this goal unrealistic?

• When buying a car, cash or finance is usually readily available. No one goes into a car showroom, puts a small reservation deposit on their dream car and then tells the car salesman that he'll have to wait for the rest of the money until their own car has been sold to someone who might have to sell their own car before they can buy it, and so on until a first time car-buyer is found.

• The due diligence process that conveyancers have to deal with can sometimes be lengthy and cause delays.

• Some buyers promise the seller and estate agent that they are keen to move quickly, whilst telling their solicitor to slow the process down. Solicitors are bound by client confidentiality not to reveal this.

• Mortgages take time to be processed. Some buyers will not want to go to the expense of asking their solicitor to start the legal process until the mortgage offer is issued.

• The time taken for legal searches to be returned depends on your local authority. Some return them in days, others in months. The sooner the search fees are paid and the searches applied for, the better.

How Long Till I Can Move In Then?

A reasonable rule of thumb is that it should take on average three months from having an offer accepted to the moving day. This can vary greatly depending on the circumstances.

If you're looking to move into your new home before Christmas, now is the time to make sure that everyone in the chain knows and agrees to this.