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How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?

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How long does it take to sell a house? Solicitors, buyers’ position, estate agents, property chains… Many factors impact the time it takes to sell a property.

While no two property transactions are the same, the longer the process drags on, the more likely it is to fall through.   

Read on for a closer look at timings, and some advice on speeding things along. 

The average time to sell a house in the UK

Thanks to a spike in buyer demand following the Spring Budget (where a stamp duty holiday extension and new 95% mortgage scheme were announced) the average time to sell has fallen by nearly a week across the UK. 

It’s now taking around 44 days from listing a property to agreeing on a sale, down from 50 days last year. Houses are going under offer faster than flats, taking an average of 42 days, compared to 62 days for flats.

Don’t take your foot off the pedal

Remember: despite the stats, a quick sale is not guaranteed, and there’s no time to lose if you’re planning on selling. Due to high levels of demand, there can be backlogs that cause delays, particularly during the conveyancing process. 

Ensure you find a proactive solicitor who can keep things moving, and has the capacity to take on your case.

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How long does it take to sell a house?

Of course, the property market isn’t playing by the ‘norms’ right now. We should look at what things were like pre-pandemic to paint a full picture. Here are some averages for the process of selling a house:

Average time takenProcess
Listing to offer being accepted10-12 weeks
Conveyancing process12 weeks
Exchange of contracts to completion7-28 days (or same day)
Listing to completion (total time)4-6 months

How long does it take between listing and completion?

In 2019, the average time taken for the full process of selling a home was 129 days. This translates to 18 weeks or 4.2 months. This is an average: it can be faster or slower depending on whether it’s a ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ market. Currently, the market is hot, but that won’t always be the case.

How long does it take to accept an offer?

Even with an interested buyer, the negotiation and acceptance stage can take weeks. It can be difficult securing an offer on a house and knowing whether to wait for another interested buyer or strike while the iron’s hot. So, the average number of days it takes for an offer to be accepted is 50, or 7 weeks (1.6 months). 

How long between accepting an offer and exchange?

Here, you’re looking at an average of 9 weeks. This is often the stage where property transactions are most likely to fall apart, or where a seller may be gazundered. The sale is not yet legally binding at this point. 

What’s the average time taken for exchange and completion?

This can be anywhere from 7 to 28 days, but the average time is two weeks. Once contracts are exchanged, the sale becomes legally binding.

How many house viewings does it take to sell?

It takes an average of 10 house viewings to sell. The best buyers usually walk through your door in the first two weeks!

What impacts how long it takes for a house to sell?

Even with these averages, your property sale could be faster or slower. To get a good idea, ask your estate agent how long it took them to sell similar properties in your area.

There are a number of factors that will determine whether a sale is quick, or it drags out:

  • How good your solicitor is
  • How good your estate agent is
  • Property size
  • Your home’s condition 
  • Your area
  • Property price
  • Chain length
  • Issues with the survey
  • How hot or cold the market is
  • The condition of neighbouring properties

How quickly can you sell a house? 

The longer the process drags out for, the more likely it is to fall through. Here’s a guide to selling a house faster. 

Some top tips for selling a house quickly include:

Sell to a cash buyer

Cash offers aren’t as common, but they’re likely from buyers who are ‘ready to go’. Since there’s no need to take out a loan, there’s no chance of having a mortgage application rejected, for example. The absence of a mortgage tends to help avoid certain delays altogether, meaning selling to a cash buyer can be quicker. 

Sell to a first time buyer 

Property chains are notorious for delays and (sometimes) causing transactions to fall through. A first time buyer will be chain-free, which can help keep things moving and potentially give you a greater chance of a successful sale.

Some people temporarily rent after they’ve sold their home, to ensure they’re chain-free later when they come to buy for this very reason. 

Ensure the price is right

Overpriced properties will drag things out from the start, as it’s likely you’ll get significantly less viewings. Even if you do get viewings, you may struggle to find a buyer willing to complete.

Knowing how much your home is worth can be tough. But, your estate agent should be able to use their local knowledge to provide you with an accurate valuation. Ensure they haven’t priced your home too high just to secure your business. While it’s rare for an agent to do this, it does happen, and is a listing reality sellers need to be aware of. 

Look into how much other properties in the area have been sold for as a guide. 

Sell to a prepared buyer

Look for buyers who are prepared and able to proceed, e.g. who have:

  • A mortgage agreement in principle 
  • All the necessary documents in place
  • Have solicitor engaged
  • Shown plenty of interest in your property

The position of the buyer is extremely important. Finding someone who’s prepared will dramatically speed up the sales process.

Keep communication open 

This is one of the most important tips for selling a house: communication is key. You need to ensure you’re communicating with your solicitor, that they’re communicating with the buyer’s solicitor, and that you’re open with the buyer themselves. 

Trying to hide any information, or being unresponsive could cause delays – or even for the whole thing to fall through. 

Ensure your property looks its best

It might go without saying, but first impressions when selling count. If the property needs a fresh coat of paint, or a general spruce up, it might be worth spending the time and money doing so.

When it comes to viewings, make sure your home looks its best:

  1. Thoroughly clean top to bottom
  2. Get rid of any lingering smells e.g. dogs 
  3. Take the dog for a walk (if you have one)
  4. Don’t forget the front – curb appeal counts
  5. Tidy any outside areas
  6. Ensure your rooms are light and open
  7. Avoid having overly personal rooms, e.g. too many photos or niknaks. Let a buyer envisage themselves living there
  8. Try and make smaller spaces look bigger e.g. remove unnecessary furniture 
  9. Declutter

Ensure you follow the COVID-19 safety guidelines at all times. 

Do you want the sale to be fast?

For some sellers (and buyers), speedier sales aren’t always a good thing. Delaying completion can be helpful, particularly if either party is involved in a difficult property chain. 

Selling via an online property auction could help avoid this. While they’re known for speeding things along, online property auctions can also give both sides more time to complete, for example, 56 working days. This flexibility can allow you to attract more potential buyers. 

Start Your Online Auction

A good solicitor is key

A conveyancer can make or break your sale. 

Getting a good solicitor is an absolute necessity when it comes to selling your home successfully. You’ll need one who is on the ball, responsive, and experienced.

If you need to find a trusted professional, we can connect you with the right people to make the process as easy as possible. Get a conveyancing quote below. 

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Last Updated: August 26th, 2021