How Long to Sell a House in the UK
When homeowners first contemplate putting their property on the market, one of the most common questions they ask are:
- How long does it take to sell a house?
- How long will my house be on the market?
- What Factors can Delay the Sale of a House?
- What is the most popular time to sell a house?
- Is it the right time to sell my house?
Surely, the answers to these are among the most demanded throughout UK property owners, but the fact is, some properties sell in a blink of an eye, while others can take forever.
Generally speaking, selling a home in the United Kingdom takes 2 to 3 months. However, as you may know, this is not always the case. Some properties are selling within the first week, while others remain on the market for many years.
According to the latest City Rate of Sale Report released by Post Office Money Mortgages, the average property in the UK takes 91 days to sell. The report examined the average time properties took to sell across 20 of Britain’s largest cities in 2016. The results suggested ‘time on market’ varies considerably between cities.
Properties in Bristol and Edinburgh spend the shortest time on the market, with homes typically selling in 51 and 53 days respectively. Whereas, prospective sellers in Swansea and Liverpool have to wait for the longest, with the average property remaining on the market for 100 and 108 days respectively.
|City||Avg. Time to Sell (90 days to 15/09/16)||Median time on the market, % change YOY (09/16)||Avg. House Price, June 2016|
In this guide, we will cover the factors that can impact the length of time your property is on the market, issues that may delay a sale and how to maximise the chances of selling your home fast.
How long will it take to sell your home depends on a number of variables.
- Your region
- Location, location, location
- The size of the property
- The property condition
- The price you seek
Truth is, “one size does not fit all” and often there is no logical explanation to why a listed property did or did not sell at all. Experienced property sellers and buyers will tell you it’s all about “His majesty, your Luck”.
“Sell or rent, you simply have to be at the right place at the right time.”
– D.Kara, tenancy expert at Fantastic Cleaners (London).
How long will my house be on the market?
“On average”, to sell a property nationwide, could take you up to 10 weeks. However, depending on your area and location, numbers can vary, of course.
As you might have guessed, the average period of time one should prepare for, depends on what is the volume of demand and supply in your specific region. Obviously, properties within Greater London and the South East will find a new owner way quicker than other less desirable abodes, taking up to 4 weeks to seal a deal. On the other hand, properties in the North West, could take anywhere up to 10 weeks to sell.
Here’s a list of estimates for some of the major areas in UK to help you prepare for selling you property, based on your area throughout the country:
|What is your UK region?||How long it will take to sell a property:|
|East Anglia||Up to 5 weeks|
|East Midlands||Up to 7 weeks|
|Greater London||Up to 4 weeks|
|North East||Up to 10 weeks|
|North West||Up to 8 weeks|
|South East||Up to 4 weeks|
|South West||Up to 6 weeks|
|Wales||Up to 5 weeks|
|West Midlands||Up to 8 weeks|
|Yorks & Humberside||Up to 9 weeks|
|National||Up to 6 weeks|
How to sell a property fast – Factors and Variables
To sell a property is not exact science the same way as one rule does not fit all. However, the above-mentioned numbers could help you build a theoretical estimate of how much patience and time you could expect to spend to sell a property.
What variables does selling a property depend on?
#1 And always of greatest importance: The Price.
To set the list price of your property at the right value is the first and absolutely mandatory step a homeowner or property seller takes.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way:
- An overpriced property will surely take longer if not forever to sell.
- A lower priced property will attract more buyers and take you less time to sell.
When determining the asking price of your home, ensure the final decision accurately depicts the market value of the property. Overpriced houses take a much longer time to sell, purely because fewer people can afford them. Plus everyone loves a bargain, so houses that appear more affordable appeal to a wider market.
An effective strategy to attract more buyers is to price your property slightly under market value, leading to more bids and ultimately a faster sale.
#2 Location, Location, Location – Where is your property located exactly?
Unfortunately, the location is the one thing you can not alter nor change and yet it is one of the most crucial factors. It comes down to common sense – the better and more desirable your geographical location and/or neighbourhood is, the more and better paid buyers you’ll find and the faster you’ll sell.
As indicated by The City Rate of Sale report, ‘time to sell’ varies significantly between cities. However, the property’s neighbourhood may be more significant.
- It’s no secret homes situated in desirable neighbourhoods, with outstanding schools, green parks and low crime rates are highly sought after.
- Of course, walkability has a major influence too.
- Houses within strolling distance to public transport are in demand. And quite the contrary. Nobody wants to pay more to live in an area, known for high levels of crime or even worse – one known for pollution.
Unfortunately, location is a factor out of your control. However, the property’s condition is one thing you can control!
#3 Property and inventory condition – Is your property in good shape?
As you would expect, well-maintained homes that sparkle and shine sell much faster than homes that ‘need work’. Although it is more than obvious, many seem to neglect the importance of the overall property condition.
- Buyers want houses that are ready to move into, not houses they have to spend time and money for handymen, repairs, decoration and etc. Read our guide on the most profitable home improvements. When out to purchase, buyers will always visualise themselves inhabiting the property, so a filthy, poorly-maintained and over-cluttered home will be both harder and will take longer to sell.
- Properties that have been decluttered and professionally staged enable buyers to imagine themselves living in the space. This is crucial. If buyers can’t imagine their own belongings in the house at hand, they’ll move on.
- Furthermore, professional photography is a key factor influencing buyer behaviour. High-quality images that highlight the best features of the property and make the rooms appear larger and more spacious have the ability to capture hearts. At the very least, great pictures will lure more potential buyers to your viewings.
#4 Comparable Properties – Look at the past and foresee the future.
To explore how and what properties were sold in your area for is a clever way into figuring out the current market temperature. Experienced estate agents use the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) in order to locate properties similar to what you have – same square footage, number of rooms, decoration and etc.
What to look out for:
- Exterior & decoration
- Hygiene, mold, leaks and other signs of damage
- Inventory condition – furnishing, doors, windows, etc
- Clutter and other types of mess or chaos
What Factors can Delay the Sale of a House?
Provided all things go smoothly, a typical house should sell within 2 to 3 months. However, we recommend preparing yourself by understanding what factors can slow down the process.
- Buyer Issues: When a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, the property is considered to be ‘under contract’. However, this does not mean the sale of the house is complete. The final sale is subject to buyer conditions, such as title insurance, home loan approval and final inspections, which can stall the completion of the sale by 30 to 45 days.
- Contract falling through: Unfortunately, it’s common for the first contract on a home to fall through. If the buyer finds significant problems on their final inspection, or their home loan is not approved the agreement can fail, and you are back to square one.
- Property chains collapsing: Unless you score a first home buyer, it is likely your buyer is also trying to sell their home. And if you’re selling your own home, you are also looking to buy another home. This is called a property chain, where the ability to purchase a home is dependent on the success of other transactions. If one link fails, the entire chain collapses, potentially causing a property disaster.
- Lengthy repairs and slow tradesman: Completing the necessary repairs to get your home looking spick and span can take much longer than you might expect, especially if you’re relying on external contractors to finish the job.
- Pricing your home too high: Although this was mentioned earlier, it’s worth repeating. Do not allow an estate agent to overprice your house. Buyers want more bang for their buck, and an overpriced house is a guaranteed way to limit your market and deter potential buyers.
- Can you afford to wait around until a seller’s market exists?
- Do you have the resources to undertake the necessary repairs and home improvements?
- Can you provide home staging and professional photography to present the best possible version of your home?
- Are you brave enough to set your price slightly under the market value?
- Do your homework and research
- Get enough estimates on how much your property is really worth
- Carefully figure out your own budget
- Look out for a good mortgage
- Reach out to a professional conveyancing solicitor
- List your property for sale
- Proceed to house hunting once you have a good flow of interest
- Offer on your new property and inform your solicitor to manage the completion date for both your sale and purchase
- Inform your mortgage holder to proceed with your new mortgage
- Seal both deals and move in your new home
- Decide where exactly you would like to relocate
- Figure out the type of building you prefer to live in
- Research the average cost of your desired property
- Check how often properties have met your criteria
- Is it the right time to sell my house?
- What is the most popular time to sell a house?
- How much does my property cost?
- How much can you afford to borrow?
- Can you get a “mortgage in principle”?
- Make sure your title deeds are taken care of
- Prepare a draft of the agreement
- Print the seller property questionnaire
Need to Sell your Home Fast?
If you’re looking to sell your property quickly, you should consider all of the above factors.
If you don’t have the time, money or patience for all of this, you may wish to consider contacting our friendly consultants. Accelerate Homes specialise in buying houses incredible fast for cash. Our mission is to help those in need, so we purchase any home, in any condition and any location.
We have a streamlined processes allowing us to finish the entire sale, from quote to completion in as little as seven days. Unlike other fast home buyer companies, we have a significant cash fund and don’t rely on investors or loans. This equals a worry-free and risk-free sale.
If your property has been on the market far too long with little interest, or you simply need an incredibly quick sale, request a free quote today by filling out this form.
You have a property for sale?
Here are the 10 mandatory steps for you to sell:
For those who are inexperienced, guidance and know-how are mandatory to obtain.
Step #1 How to sell your property fast – Do your homework!
When prior to selling a property, you should have figured out what and where you want your next home to be.
It’s surprising how people often seem to neglect these rather simple steps. According to statistics, more than a third of UK deals for property sales seem to fail.
Clear and precise answers will not only save you time but both hassle and nerves. That’s why it’s important for you to consult with experienced property sellers.
On the bright side, to house hunt is not a matter of life and death, or at least not at this stage. The important part is for you to have a clear concept of both what you want and need. Research the current range of property values within your desired area and contact local agents.
Step #2 – Get enough estimates to be firm about how much your property is really worth
The important point here is to figure out the answers to these three questions:
At Accelerate Homes, we highly advise that you get a good sense of how prices can range prior to contacting any estate agents. Unfortunately, many would mislead a potential client in order to seal a deal. That’s why you can not always trust what an estate agent has to say.
Step #3 – Carefully figure out your own budget!
Bare in mind the cost of moving in too! Once you’ve built a decent idea of who, what, where and how much, you will have a genuine sense of what is realistic and what isn’t, what is your buying potential, abilities and what is the reach of your limits.
Step #4 – Look out for a good mortgage
As you might have guessed, there are hundreds of mortgage companies and lenders for you to pick from and researching is a mandatory step on your way to a successful house sale.
The important questions here are:
Prior to signing for a mortgage, and often right before submitting an offer for a new dwelling, you’ll need a Decision in Principle (DIP), popularly referred to as an Agreement in Principle (AIP) and a Lending Certificate. It’s a written confirmation that your lender is ready to serve your mortgage.
The whole procedure involves a credit check, which if done one too many times could and most likely might affect your credit score.
Once you have that done with, you’ll have a far greater chance of having your offers accepted on your desired property. It means you’re a buyer, who is ready to proceed and at the same time you avoid being gazumped.
Step #5 – Use a professional conveyancing solicitor
Most salesmen would hold on till a serious buyer is present, before reaching out to a conveyancer.
Nowadays, we have “no sale / no fee” conveyancing solicitor services, which means you will pay no fee for letting your lawyer know in advance.
By doing so, you will significantly reduce the technical time required for your transaction to complete.
We highly recommend that you contact a conveyancing solicitor and ask him/her to:
Bare in mind, that the solicitors you choose will be of huge importance throughout your sale, so choose wisely.
Step #6 – List your property on the market
Use an estate agent, sell it privately, sell to a cash buyer, run an auction, or “sell and rent back”. Each option has its pros and cons. Being prepared is what makes the difference.
How Long Does it Take to Sell a House in UK?
To sell a property is a hefty task and you should be fully aware of the burden, nerves, effort and tremendous know-how, required for a successful sale.
- Personal and property preparation for sale – up to 3 or 4 weeks
- Finding the right person to buy your property – up to 2 months
- Find and offer a new property along with a swap of contracts (sale/purchase) – up to 4 months
- Complete the transfer of funds – up to a month
PS: An experienced conveyancing solicitor could seriously reduce the technical time required for #3 & #4
Conclusion and final remarks:
Patience is a virtue, but when it comes down to selling a property, patience is simply mandatory. It could take you up to 8 months to successfully sell your property and buy a new home.
It’s longer than most people would have assumed in the first place, but hold no fear. Most sellers are not as knowledge-thirsty as you and barely research the topic as you have. In case you have any questions or are in need of further clarification, do not hesitate and contact Accelerate Homes.