How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?
When trying to sell a house, there are a lot of factors that can influence exactly how long this will take, some of which you will have control over, others that you won’t.
Price is one of the critical factors. On a basic level, the more money you ask for, the longer your house could stay on the market. But you also need to take into consideration the house’s location, and the state of the housing market. Here’s an in-depth look at how long on average it takes to sell a house in the UK, as well as some guidance on how to influence a sale.
Not Always Straightforward
One of the problems with pinning down an exact frame of time from putting your house on the market to a sale, is that the process is not as straightforward as you think. Finding a buyer and then accepting their offer is not how the buying process usually goes.
First, you must shortlist estate agents, have your property valued, pick your estate agent, negotiate the agreement and prepare the house for sale. After all this, only then does your property get put on the market, at which point you go through the following process:
- House viewings
- Accept an offer
- Legal enquiries/buyer’s survey
- Negotiate the contract with buyer
- Exchange contracts – receive a deposit
- Sold – receive the balance
Of course, any one of these steps can be drawn out or fail. For example, when negotiating the contract, the transaction may fail, sending you back to step one. So, even if you manage to get an interested buyer soon after the house goes up on the market, there’s no guarantee that they will see the sale through to completion.
Average Time to Sell
So, what is the average time to sell a house in the UK? Well, this depends on the region of the country you are living in, as well as whether the market is weak or strong.
A 2019 study puts the average sale time, from day one until legal completion, at just over four months. This jumps up to six months in a cold market and drops to just under four if the market looks good. If you live in an area like London, you can expect it to take longer, whereas somewhere like the Midlands won’t take as long.
So, what can influence how long it will take?
- Asking price
- The market
- Quality of solicitor/estate agent
- Buyer’s position
- Search or survey problems
- Condition of neighbouring properties
- Time of year
- Condition of property
How to Speed up the Process
- Change the asking price
The asking price is something you can change to help impact how quickly your property sells. If you ask for more than the competition, you can’t expect to sell; you will probably get viewings, but you’re unlikely to complete the sale. However, ask for less than the competition, and you are likely to generate a lot of interest, maybe even a bidding war.
If you find you’re getting plenty of viewings but no offers, it means that there could be something about the property that is causing buyers to think that the asking price is not worth what they’re seeing. Consider lowering the price, or have work done on the property to fix any structural or cosmetic issues that might be putting buyers off.
- Pay attention to the market
The market is something you won’t have influence over, but you can choose when to sell; you could postpone the sale until the market improves, which it may not. Buyers will have the upper hand in a bad market situation, as sellers will need to price properties competitively to be in with a chance of selling. In good market conditions, sellers can sell their homes quickly, and bidding wars are more common.
- Be proactive
Don’t go on holiday during the months you’re trying to make a sale; it’ll make it easier to attend to, sign and return all the necessary paperwork. Ensure you check in with your solicitor and estate agent often to see how everything is going and listen and heed their advice.
- Find a quality estate agent
Do your research and ask for recommendations so you can ensure you find an estate agent that will help you appropriately price your home to generate as much interest as possible, will give expert advice and will keep everything moving in the transaction chain.
We hope this guidance to selling a property will help you get that sale you’re looking for. At Easylet & Sale, we provide specialised estate agent services in Hastings and Brighton with a complete range of services for buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and investors. If you’re looking for estate agents in Hastings, estate agents in Bexhill-on-Sea or estate agents in St Leonards-on-Sea, contact Easylet & Sale today.