Selling your home can be both exciting and challenging, with many factors influencing the time it takes to complete the process. In this blog, we’ll explore the various stages of selling a house in the UK and delve into the timeframes involved. Whether you’re looking to sell quickly or aiming for a smooth and stress free sale, we’ve got you covered.
How long does it take to sell a home in the UK?
The average time it takes to sell a home in the UK can vary and is based on factors like location, property type, market conditions, and pricing. According to Zoopla, it takes an average of 25 weeks to sell a home in the UK
What are the stages of the selling process and how long do they take?
- Preparing Your Home Before listing, you may need to make repairs, declutter, and stage your home. This stage typically takes 1-2 weeks, but can take longer if you have some bigger jobs to do. As early as possible, around 8 weeks before you want your proerty to go on the market, make a list of all the jobs you need to do and prioritise them. At this point check if you have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
- Finding an Estate Agent: Choosing the right estate agent can take some time as you research, meet with agents, see which one is right for you and appoint them. Allow around 4-6 weeks for this process from research agents to getting valuations and appointing your preferred agent.
- Marketing: It usually take a few weeks for the estate agent to get all the documentation over to you to sign and get the listing pictures arranged with a photographer.
- Viewings: Once your home is listed, it may take a few days or a few weeks to attract potential buyers and schedule viewings. If your agent has several people wanting to view your property, they may arrange a bloack viewing, which takes place over a single day. At this point it is wise to get quotes from conveyancers so you are ready to act quickly once an offer comes in.
- Accepting an Offer: According to Zoopla, it can take 5-14 weeks from listing to receive an offer. However, in a hot market, it can take a matter of days, so make sure you understand the current market conditions and always ask for feedback from your agent, particualrly if you have had a lack of viewings.
- Conveyancing and Legal Process: This stage, which includes property searches and legal paperwork, usually takes 8-12 weeks. However, this is the main part when delays happen so make sure you choose a conveyancer who is a good communicator.
- Completing the Sale: The final stage, where contracts are exchanged, typically takes 2-4 weeks. Exchange of contracts and completion can actually take place on the same day, but there is usually a week or two between these dates.
How long does it take to get an offer on a house?
From the point your property is listed, it can can take days, weeks, months or even years to get an offer. This is usually down to the market conditions and the price, but can also be down to things like the markrting of your property.
According to Zoopla, the average time it takes to get an offer accepted on a house is 14 weeks, but in a cold market, this can jump to 14 weeks or more.
How many viewings does it take to sell a house?
The number of viewings required to secure a buyer can vary widely. Some homes sell after just a few viewings, while others may need more. Be prepared for multiple viewings, especially in a competitive market.
How long does it take to sell a house once an offer is accepted?
From the moment you accept an offer, the selling process takes 12-16 weeks to complete the sale, including conveyancing, surveys, and negotiations, but this can be quicker and longer, depending on the circumstances.
Once you get an offer you will appoint your conveyancer, who will process all the legal work. There are a number of conveyancing searches your buyer’s solicitor will undertake:
- Environmental Searches – Environmental searches check if the property could be affected by flooding, contaminated land such as a landfill site or potential mining substance. These search results typically take 1-2 weeks.
- Local Authority Searches – Local authority searches are the most common type of search to check for any planning or building regulations that could affect the property. They will also show who is responsible for maintaining roads and paths adjoining the property and highlight any pollution issues. Local Authority searches 1-6 weeks.
- Land Registry Searches – Land Registry searches show shows unique title numbers, who owns it, what they paid for it, any rights of way over the property and what charges or debts are registered against it.
- Water Authority Searches – Water searches ensure that the property is connected to mains water and drainage systems. These searches are important as they could affect you if you want to do any future building work on the property. They include who owns and maintains the sewers, drainage and piping, if the property is connected to a public water supply, if the water is metered or rateable, the location of the public sewer and drainage pipes and whether you will need permission from the water company to extend the property.
- Location Specific Searches – Depending on the location of the property, for example, a former mining site, additional searches may be required.
- Chancel Searches – A chancel repair search identifies whether the property is subject to chancel repair liability, which is a legal obligation to pay for repairs to the local church. These searches typically take around 2 weeks.
How long does it take to sell a house once contracts are exchanged?
At the point contracts are exchanged, the sale is legally binding. There is no more legal work left to do apart from transferring funds and the final paperwork, so exchange and completion can be relatively quick and can even happen on the same day. Typically in the UK there is around one week between exchange and completion.
What factors can slow down a house sale?
Several factors can slow down a sale, but most of the time a breakdown in communication is a major factor. Reasons for delays include:
- Property condition and needed repairs – Homes in poor condition can put buyers off. If you have repairs that need doing that could be sorted before the property is listed then it is a good idea to look at seeing to them, to make your home more attratcie to potential buyers.
- Overpricing – We all want the maximum price when selling our home, but the house is only worht what someone will pay for it. To price your house correctly, speak to your agent about the local market and do your own research online into what similar properties have sold inn the area recently and for what price. This will give you an idea of what people in the area are prepared to pay in the current market for your type of property.
- Delays in the conveyancing process – Choosing a good conveyancer is key to having a smooth process when selling a house. Make sure you choose one who doesnt have a caseload too big to give your sale enough time and check they have good methods of communication as there is nothing more frustrating than not receiving an update on your sale.
- Local Authority Searches – These usually take a few weeks to come back, but hey can take longer depending on Local Authority backlogs so make sure your solicitor keps you updates on the progress of any earches being undertaken.
- Issues with mortgages or surveys – This can include issues that come up on the survey that need negotiating and issues that come up with a mortgage application. Make sure your buyer is in a position for purchasse your property before accepting an offer (has a Decision in Principle) and be ready to negotiate if any issues are returned on the survey. If you are able to present solutions, the issues have a better chance of being resolved quickly.
- Chain complications or breakdown – A breakdown in the chain can cause a sale to collapse which can put you back to square one. Make sure you maintain regular contact with the estate agent to make sure any issues with the buyer are identified as early as possible.
How long does it take to sell a house with no chain?
A chain-free transaction means the buyer has nothing to sell in order to proceed, A property sale with no chain can often complete significantly faster, often taking 8-12 weeks from listing to completion. This is because there are no other properties’ sales or purchases to manage. The shorted the ‘chain’ the less likely there are to be delays in the process.
What can I do to speed up a house sale?
During the conveyancing process, your solicitor will need relevant documents related to your property. This might include a FENSA certificate for new windows and doors, gas and boiler safety and servicing certificates, electrical installation certificates if you have undertaken any electrical work and planning permission documents for any extensions. If you don’t have these, speak to your conveyancer, as you might be able to get indemnity insurance to cover it.
To speed up your house sale, consider the following tips:
- Price your property competitively.
- Ensure your home is well-presented before listing.
- Be flexible with viewing times.
- Respond promptly to offers and inquiries.
- Choose an experienced estate agent
- Choose a conveyancer who communicated well.
- Stay in regular (weekly) contact and follow up.
What can I do if I need to sell my house quickly?
If you’re in a hurry to sell, you can:
- Lower your asking price (have an idea of what you could accept before listing your home)
- Consider auctioning your property (although this may impact the price and costs to you)
- Choose a reputable quick-sale estate agents (this is likely to mean a lower valuation)
- Be prepared to negotiate (Be ready with solutions if issues are raised)
- Market with more than one agent (this will depend on how you are contracted with your existing agent but can help if you feel your property requires additional marketing)
In conclusion, the time it takes to sell your house in the UK can vary, but understanding the stages and factors involved can help you navigate the process more effectively. Whether you’re aiming for a quick sale or to get the best price for your property, careful planning and proactive decision-making can make a significant difference in your home-selling journey and can make your experience a lot less stressful.