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There is no denying that selling a house is often a frustratingly lengthy process. If you are keen to sell your house, you will understandably want to know how long it takes for a house sale to go through.  

It is important to keep in mind that the length of time it takes to sell a house depends on many different factors, not least of which being how hot or cold the property market might be in the area where you are selling your house. 

In this article we detail everything you need to know about how long it takes to sell a house in the UK. 

What is the Average Time to Sell a House in the UK? 

According to Hometrack, the average time to sell a property has fallen by nearly a week in the UK (excluding London) in 2021 in comparison to the previous year. It now takes around 44 days from the date of listing a property to agreeing on a sale, down from around 50 days in 2020. Typically, houses sell faster than flats, taking on average 42 days to sell compared to 62 days for flats. 

Once an offer has been accepted, paperwork and legal processes will need to be worked through before the house sale is completed. The average time it takes to complete a house sale is between 4 and 6 months. 

The table below details the average time taken for each stage of the selling process: 

The process  The average time taken 
From a new home listing to the offer being accepted  10-12 weeks 
The conveyancing process  12 weeks 
From exchange of contracts to completion  Same day or up to 4 weeks 
Total time from property listing to completion of the sale  4-6 months 

How Long Does It Take to Sell a House from Offer to Completion? 

The average time it takes to sell a house from an offer being accepted to completion of the sale is around 12 weeks. However, the length of time is affected by a number of elements, principally the efficiency of the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors, how proactive the estate agent is in chasing the sale and the preparedness of the buyer to begin the buying process.  

What Factors Might Affect How Long It Takes? 

It is important to keep in mind that the timeframe above is based on averages. Ultimately, no two house sales are the same, and many different factors affect the length of time it takes to sell a house.  

One of the most important factors is how hot or cold the market is in the area where you are selling your house. This will have a big impact on how long it takes to sell your house. 

Also, it goes without saying that a property might sit on the market for a long time if it is offered over price. Overpriced properties attract less interest and fewer visitors, as many people will immediately disregard a property which is so far out of their budget.  

The following factors also impact on how long it takes for a house sale to go through: 

  • The area where the property is located 
  • How efficient the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors are 
  • The size of the property 
  • The property’s condition 
  • The price of the property 
  • The condition of neighbouring properties 
  • The number of similar properties in the area 
  • The preparedness of the buyer to begin the buying process 
  • Whether the buyer requires a mortgage 
  • Whether the buyer is also selling a house 
  • The length of the chain. The longer the chain in the house sale, the more likely it is for problems to arise and, therefore, delays 
  • The time of year. During certain times of the year, it is more likely that people will be away on holiday. This could lead to delays with the sale  

What Might Delay a House Sale? 

Once an offer has been accepted, the home is ‘under contract’. At this juncture, the sale of the house has not been completed.   

Unfortunately, even if an offer has been accepted on your property, there is no guarantee that the house sale will go through. Indeed, the process of selling a home in the UK is often a frustrating one, with many setbacks and obstacles getting in the way of the completion of the sale. 

It is a possibility that the sales contract may fall through too. This is particularly common if problems are found with the property during the inspection or with a surveyor’s report. Also, mortgage applications might be rejected before a sale is completed. 

It is common for buyers to be involved in a house chain. In this situation, the sale of your property is dependent on the buyer selling their property. This means you will be involved in a property chain and if one link falls through, the whole chain will collapse. 

How Long Does It Take to Sell a House with No Chain? 

Generally, if you do not have a chain-sale, your house will sell quicker. On average, it takes around 8 weeks for a house to sell without a chain, from the offer being accepted to the completion of the sale. Sellers will almost certainly receive more interest on their property if it is listed as a no-chain. 

Also, a seller may choose to only sell to buyers who are not in a chain to potentially speed up the sale after an offer has been accepted. However, choosing to only accept offers from buyers who are not in a chain can actually be counterproductive because it can take longer to find a buyer in the first place. 

Another option would be to only sell your house to an investor. Investors can agree on a sale with you and proceed to buy and will not be reliant on another sale before completing the purchase. If you’re stuck in a chain, it can add weeks or even months to your sale. 

How Quickly Can You Sell a House?  

As we have discussed, the length of time it takes to sell a house can vary considerably. Still, there are certain things which you can do which may speed up the sale. 

Consider Your Asking Price 

One of the most effective things you can do to sell your house quickly is to take the time to consider your asking price and how low you would be willing to go. With a reasonable asking price, you will attract more viewers which will lead to more offers. 

Research the recent sale prices of similar properties in the area to come to an understanding of a realistic sale price. Also, see which properties have been on the market for a long time to gauge prices which might be unrealistic 

Prepare Your Property in Its Best Light 

It is important to present your property in its best possible light to attract buyers and encourage offers. In fact, one of the most influential factors when selling a home in the UK is the property’s condition.  

Homes which are clean and in good condition generally sell much quicker than those which require work. Buyers want to visualise themselves living in the house, which is difficult to do if the property is cluttered and poorly maintained. Ensure that the property is clean, anything that is broken has been fixed and that the property is free of clutter. 

It is a good idea to consider home improvements to increase the appeal of the property. If you do not have the budget to make home improvements, you can still add value to your home on a budgetImproving kerb appeal is another way of increasing the interest of buyers. 

Market Your House Effectively 

Considering who might be interested in buying your house can help you to market the property more effectively. Is your property a good option for young families or perhaps young professionals? You can highlight the local amenities and features which would interest the people who would be interested in your property.  

Don’t underestimate the value of high-quality photographs in attracting more interest in your property too. You may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to take the photos. 

It is also prudent to consider current market conditions and when the best time to sell a house might be. If the market is particularly slow, you might want to consider waiting until the market improves before putting your house up for sale.  

Sell to a Certain Type of Buyer 

You might be able to sell your house quicker if you only sell to a certain type of buyer. If you find a buyer who is prepared, it will almost certainly speed up the sales process. 

If you choose to only sell to a prepared buyer, look for buyers who have everything in place to proceed with the sale, including: 

  • All the necessary documents in place 
  • A mortgage agreement in principle 
  • A solicitor who is suitably engaged   

Also, cash buyers are more likely to be in a position to proceed with the house sale quickly. With no need to take out a loan, there is no chance of having a mortgage application rejected. 

Another option could be to sell to a first-time buyer, who won’t be involved in a property chain. This will help to keep things moving in the right direction and give a greater chance of a successful sale of the property. 

Choose Your Estate Agent Wisely 

If you want to sell your house through an estate agent, it is important to choose an estate agent which is proactive and will do what is necessary to secure the house sale, from offer to completion.  

Chancellors is a leading estate agent renowned for our unrivalled expertise, professionalism and outstanding customer service. With many decades of experience working in the UK housing market, we are perfectly placed to help you secure the sale of your property. 

As part of our selling services, we: 

  • Advertise properties on all four of the major portals as well as an additional 40+ websites 
  • Advertise properties on social media  
  • Live viewing capabilities, allowing buyers to book to view property online 24/7 
  • Fully-manned live chat means we can quickly answer any questions buyers might have about your property 

For more information, please contact us today.