How long does a house sale take in the UK?

Everybody knows the answer to this is "too long", but this isn't very helpful. But don't worry. Here at Yes Homebuyers we've crunched the numbers and thrown in some tips about how you can reduce the time your house sale takes.

7
minute read

The time it takes to sell a house varies wildly...

Greetings, Mr. or Mrs. Property Owner. You’ve lived in your home for a while and it’s been great, but now, as they say, it’s time to pack up and move on.

Now what can you expect?

How long is it going to be until you can sell your property and move on to the next stage in life?

It’s always tricky, figuring out how long it’s going to take to sell your property.

The good news? We’re here to help!

The UK property market

Of course the biggest influence on how fast your home sells is there is anyone willing to buy it, and quite frankly, the UK housing market is pretty rubbish when it comes to getting things done quickly.

Unfortunately, with the uncertainty of COVID19 ahead, buyers are naturally worried about making big financial decisions. This could lead to fewer buyers - which will make it take even longer to find a buyer. In short, things are not likely to get much better any time soon.

So what can you do improve your chances of selling your house fast?

Preparing the property for sale

In this section, we’ll cover everything leading up to the actual listing of the property.

Evaluate your sale price

This portion of the process requires research and estimation.

If you’d like, engage an estate agent who can assist with the process. The agent can research and look through local prices and past sale prices to come up with a good price for the property.

However, be sure to get a wide range of options and prices from a few different agents. There’s nothing that says you have to take the first price the first estate agent offers you.

Do your own research.

Look at what comparable properties in your region are being sold for, and feel comfortable with the amount you’re putting the property on the market for. Grill your agents for honest valuation feedback, and combine their words with your own research to make sure you set a realistic asking price for the property.

Always remember, too, that a cash house buying service like Yes Homebuyers is out there as an option for you as well. Selling your home directly to us means no agents, no waiting for offers, no red tape, and none of the annoying waiting that comes with a traditional house sale.

Prepare the property

The people that may want to buy your property are going to want to see the place. So it’s good to go ahead and make sure the property looks as nice as it can. Take a day or two and tidy up the property.

It's important to give potential buyers an idea of what the home could be, so spruce it up and declutter, mow the lawn and make the beds and generally ensure your home is presentable. Just imagine your in-laws are coming round!

You want to make sure the home looks like something you’d want to move in to.

Get a solicitor

Hey, it’s the fun legal stuff.

Actually, it’s not that fun at all. The legal work involved with property is long, detailed, and complicated.

But that's why you leave it to your solicitor! ...

But wait... Property solicitors are rarely fast either!

This is our biggest bug-bear with the whole property market. Even once you've found a buyer and agreed a sale price, it takes so long to actually complete the sale of your house. At best, it may take 7-8 weeks. At worst, it could easily be 3-4 months (or longer...).

Oh, and don't forget that around 1 in 3 sales fall through. If this happens to you, you'll have to go right back to the start. Horrible, we know.

What can you do about it? 

Get a good solicitor. There are so many bad solicitors in the UK that just do not care about how long your house sale takes. And it's so hard to tell the difference. Fortunately though, there's a solution. We've worked with literally hundreds of solicitors throughout England & Wales over the last 10 years. Maybe even 1,000 solicitors. And there are only a small, small handful of extraordinary firms and individuals we'd recommend.

Fortunately, we're happy to recommend them! Get in touch with our team to ask for an introduction. What are the benefits: 

  • Quicker. It can save you literally months waiting for your sale to complete
  • Less chance of fall-throughs. The less time a sale takes, the less chance there is of it falling through.
  • More control & communication. You'll have constant communication, so your head won't explode from the uncertainty and from not being able to get anyone on the phone.
  • Cheaper! Yes, the world of solicitors is so upside-down that you can have a better solicitor, for less money. The are so many outdated firms with complicated hierachies of partners, solicitors, conveyancers, secretaries and receptionists that you can pay a huge amount of money to have an inefficient job done. Smart new firms are croppin g up though that rely much more on technology - meaning a better job (and a better service), for less money.
The world of solicitors is so upside-down that you can actually have a better solicitor, for less money.

In short, get in touch for a recommendation: call us on 0800 133 7687 and we'd be happy to introduce you. It can save you money, save you months of waiting, and save you a huge amount of stress.

Once the property is listed

Okay, now you’ve gone through and officially listed your property. Congratulations!

But how long is it going to take to actually sell your property?

Let’s examine this by looking at the different factors.

Location, location, location

The location of your property is absolutely key to the amount of time it will take to sell the property.

Certain “hotspot” locations are going to sell quicker than others.

So take a look at where you’re at here in the UK and look at the trends. Of course, there’s nothing hard-and-fast in these estimates, but it’s good to at least get a sense of the average span of time it takes to sell.

It’s always nice to have an idea of how long it’s going to take!

Which type of property is it?

As a general rule, the more exclusive or expensive a property there is, the longer it will take to sell.

It’s easy to figure out why.

If you have a large, opulent house or apartment that’s priced well above the average consumer, you can expect a more exacting and longer process. After all, the more pounds the buyer is able to dish out, the pickier - and more stringent they're likely to be.

If your property is in this bracket, you may have to be a little patient - add a month or two onto your expected time.

If you’re right in the Three Little Bears porridge middle - the price is not too hot and not too cold - then you’re right at the average of all of those numbers we talked about earlier.

Expect an average length of time.

On the opposite end, if you have a piece of property that’s smaller and therefore priced a tad more reasonably, then odds are the demand will be higher. The more demand and buyers there are perusing the property, the higher the likelihood that your piece of property will be in high demand off the market that much quicker.

When is the best time to sell

The time of year can have an impact on how long it takes to sell a house. Statistics in the property industry show that March is often the best month for a quick sale, averaging just 57 days from first listing to offer, while mid-October to mid-November can be the worst. But it can depend on numerous other factors - so don't be deterred if you just want to get moving.

If you are looking for the most potential buyers, the UK Property Transaction Statistics, issued by the Government, show that the markets are busiest in August and quietest in January for total sales.

Christmas is predictably a bad time, although things do pick up quickly in the new year as people make plans for the future. Rightmove report less than half a million searches at Christmas, compared to 2.2million on the first working day of the year.

The best month for a quick home sale varies depending on the type of home you are selling. Flats sell best in January and February, as buyers decide they can’t face another family Christmas and start searching for a place of their own, whereas family homes sell best outside of school holiday time, so you should avoid the long summer break and Easter if you can.

After the house sale

Hey, congratulations! You’ve gone ahead and found a buyer for your property.

Time to celebrate with a few pints, because you’re free and clear and there’s nothing much more to worry about. Right? Right?

Well, not so fast.

After you’ve found a buyer, there are still plenty of things that need to get done in order to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is. There are always events, too, that could slow things down.

All the little things

Once the sale is done, there are still plenty of things that have to get approved, like the mortgage and home surveys. The Homeowners Alliance estimates that it takes up to a month for buyers to order surveys after their offer has been accepted and can take another two months from the ordering of surveys to the exchange of contracts.

Exchange of contracts and completion can happen on the same day, but could also add weeks more waiting to your property sale.

Also, don’t forget that while you’re in the process of selling your property, there’s going to be a good chance that you’ll be involved in the purchase of another one - and the same goes for the buyer – ah, the joys of the property chain.

If any one of those “little things” complicates things on the other end, that means that there’s the chance that a ripple effect rings through all the other transactions.

That could mean significant delays.

The bottom line?

There are a bunch of factors that go into how long it takes to sell a house.

After you make the decision that you want to sell, sit down, review this list and think honestly about your answer to these factors that are included. Take into account all of those factors that may complicate the situation and add or subtract them from the average length of time that we’ve displayed (per location).

This should give you a rough estimate on the length of time it will take to sell your property.

So, overall, how long does a house sale take?

On average, 6-7 months in the UK.

If you're sat there thinking "but I want to sell my house fast!", then our service may be the right option for you. Click one of those big blue "Get An Offer" buttons and speak with our team about getting an offer. (It's free, and there's no obligation).

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