How Long Does a House Sale Take?

How long will it take to find a buyer for my property?

Selling your home isn’t something that happens on a defined schedule – how long it takes can differ for each sale, and will depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • The state of the housing market
    While we have little control over the wider housing market, it is something that’s important to consider. For example, you may want to hold off on selling your property in a “buyers’ market” where buyers have the power to be more selective.
  • Asking price for the property
    If potential buyers think your property is overpriced, they may be hesitant to make an offer. Consider getting a professional valuation from an estate agent or take a look at property sites like Rightmove to see what houses are selling for in your area.
  • Your estate agent
    Whoever you choose to act as your estate agent will be responsible for marketing your property, booking viewings and negotiating with potential buyers. If they are not doing this properly, it could slow down the process.

When you’ve found a buyer, it will be time to start the conveyancing process. This refers to the legal paperwork involved when transferring your property to its new owner.

An experienced conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor can help you with this. So you can be confident knowing all the legal requirements are met during the sale of your property.

How quickly can a house sale go through?

After you’ve accepted an offer on your property, there will usually be a period of around 12 weeks until the sale is completed. But as with getting an offer, the amount of time it takes for your sale to go through will ultimately depend on your own circumstances.

Some factors that could affect the timeline for selling a house include:

  • Delays arranging a mortgage
    This will usually happen if your buyer has difficulty arranging a mortgage valuation, or if incorrect information has been given on mortgage application forms. There is also the risk that a mortgage offer will expire before contracts are exchanged.
  • Issues revealed by a survey
    Your buyer’s survey could reveal issues with your property that lead them to renegotiate on their offer, or pull out of the process entirely. This can significantly slow things down during a house sale.
  • Length of chain
    A property chain refers to a group of buyers and sellers whose property transactions are all inter-connected. This means that each purchase is dependent on a sale going through, and vice versa. Generally speaking, the longer a property chain is, the longer it will take to complete a sale.
  • Property search delays
    Property searches will provide you with more information about the house or apartment you intend to buy. They are arranged by your conveyancer or solicitor and carried out by the local authority. This stage can take longer depending on which authority the property falls under.

During a house sale, there will be a lot of things that are out of your control. But there are some steps you can take to speed up the process.

Our tips for speeding up the sale of a property

If you’re trying to sell your property and it’s taking longer than you’d like, you could try:

  • Taking new photos
    As most people now look for properties online, it’s vital that you have eye-catching photos or videos that will encourage people to click on your listing. Your estate agent should know this, and they should be doing all they can to make your listing as attractive as possible. If they’re not, it may be worth considering another agency.
  • Using a different estate agent
    If you feel that your estate agent is not marketing your property as effectively as they could be, you may need to think about switching to another agency. Just make sure to check the terms of your contract before you do this.
  • Reviewing your asking price
    As we’ve mentioned, asking price can have a significant effect on how long it takes for your property to sell – especially in a buyers’ market. Your estate agent should provide advice and guidance on whether your asking price needs to be re-evaluated.
  • Carrying out home improvements
    When you’ve lived somewhere for a long time, it’s easy to ignore small cracks in the paintwork or a leaky tap. But these are things a potential buyer will notice. We’d suggest having a walkthrough of your home, taking note of anything that needs fixing or improving.

You’ll also want to make sure that you have the support of an experienced conveyancer or solicitor who can efficiently handle the legal paperwork involved and liaise with the buyer’s solicitors.

I’m selling my home – how can a solicitor help?

Selling a home can feel like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. But having a legal expert on your side can help to make the conveyancing process less stressful.

Your solicitor will provide you with expert advice at each stage, and will always be on hand if you have any questions. They will also resolve any legal issues that crop up, minimising delays wherever possible.

To find out how we could match you with a reputable conveyancing solicitor, give us a call or start your enquiry online today.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


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