30 June 2022

How long does it take to sell a house?

How long does it take to sell a house?

When you’re ready to move, you’re ready to move. But selling a house isn’t always a speedy process. In fact, many homeowners can be shocked by how long it takes. In this article, we’ll be breaking down the timings involved and offer some expert tips on how you might speed up the process.

So if you’re looking for advice on…

  • Timelines
  • What affects timings
  • How to sell your home fast
  • Potential delays
  • Tips for selling a house quickly

Then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dig into those numbers!

How long does it take to sell a house? Average timings

Our data shows on average it takes 5-7 months to sell a house.

However, this isn’t a hard and fast figure. There are, in fact, two timelines to bear in mind when it comes to selling a property. These are…

  • The length of time to find a buyer
  • The conveyancing process after a sale has been agreed

These two timelines can each be hindered by their own unique delays and can have a massive impact on the time it takes to sell. 

Time it takes to find a buyer

How quickly you’re able to find potential buyers will depend on whether the market is hot or cold. 

As a rule of thumb, time of year will play a big part in this, with spring and early autumn being the hotness / peak time to sell a property. While time around the summer holidays or Christmas tends to see the market in a slump. However, the heat of the market can also be affected by how much demand there is, as seen in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.

selling house in spring
Spring is statistically the best season for selling a house.

 When your property goes on the market, it experiences what is known as a ‘golden window’. The first 6-8 weeks is when you’re statistically most likely to see competitive bids. The more buyers on the market, the more fruitful your golden window will be. Should you fail to find a buyer in this time, and the longer your home sits on the open market, the more suspicious buyers can be and the more disinterested your estate agent might become. 

Therefore, if you want to find a quick sale, you’ll want to sell while the market is hot.  According to The Advisory, on average it takes just 34 days for a homeowner to accept an offer on their house when the market is hot. In contrast, those who sell during cold periods have to wait 101 days for an offer to be finalised.

How long does it take from offer to completion?

When people ask ‘how long does it take to sell a house’, what they’re really asking is how long does it take to go from getting an offer to reaching completion.

On average, it takes around 14-18 weeks to go from an offer to finally completing the sale. More accurately, this can be broken down into…

  • 12 weeks for the conveyancing process
  • Up to 4 weeks for an exchange of contracts

However, as with all the timings listed here, these are very liable to change.

Factors that might affect how long it takes to sell a house

If finding a buyer is primarily dictated by how hot the markets are, then the conveyancing process is mainly influenced by how competent the professionals involved are and the demands of the buyer. 

These are the main factors that affect exchange and completion…

  • Whether or not you’re dealing with a cash-buyer
  • Surveys required and access issues to the involved properties 
  • The quality of yours and their solicitor
  • Whether the buyer is also selling a house
  • The length of this chain, as longer chains run the risk of delays
  • Time of year, whether or not people are going on holiday
  • Condition of the property
  • Contract disputes and whether cash retainers are required

How the property chain affects timings

One of the biggest factors in timings can be whether or not you’re in a chain. 

A chain is the link between buyers and is usually applicable if more than 3 properties are involved in the process. You’ll have one person who is only buying and another who is only selling, with everyone in between linking the transactions. For all these sales to go ahead, all sales need to be coordinated and go through. 

A chain of houses
You want to try to make the property chain as short as possible to avoid delays.

On the whole, you want to try to either avoid a chain or opt for the smallest one possible. The more property sales involved, the more at risk you are of being hit with delays. All it takes is for just one sale to fall through for every transaction to be put in danger. 

However, make sure you don’t hold out too long for a chain-free buyer. They can be rare and you want to get your property off the market as soon as possible. Another alternative to explore might be cash buyers – more on this below.

What happens if the chain breaks?

A chain can break due to a number of factors. Someone might discover the property they are buying has serious structural issues; another person might not be able to secure the necessary finance; someone’s relationship may have even broken down. Whatever the reason, if you do encounter a broken chain, there are things you can do.

  • If your property has fallen through, get back on the property market and try to find a replacement while your solicitor tries to buy you more time with the others in the chain.
  • If your buyer hasn’t been able to secure the needed finance, you could reduce your home’s asking price.
  • You can try to find a cash buyer who can buy your property quickly. An iBuying service (such as UPSTIX) can purchase a property in as little as 7 days with a cash offer.
  • Look into chain resolution services. At UPSTIX, our ChainBreak service can step in to make a purchase and repair the financial gaps with group funding from all the parties involved.

How to make selling your home quicker 

How long does it take to sell a house? If these answers have got you feeling concerned, there are ways you can speed up your house sale, such as…

  • Try to list your property while the market is hot, so there are enough buyers out there to impress.
  • Get your home ready for viewings, such as giving your walls a fresh lick of paint, hiding the at-home work-out equipment, and doing up the façade of the property.
  • Be realistic with the price; you may want to get the best deal but set the asking price too high and buyers will be put off.
  • Get your paperwork in order ahead of time, this includes sorting out your mortgage and getting together your management information pack.
  • Look out for cash buyers as they’ll be able to move at the greatest speed, have the least paperwork to contend with, and likely be chain-free.

Want a guaranteed cash buyer? If you’re really looking to move at speed, then it might be worth considering an iBuyer – literally translates to instant buyer.

For an 11% discount on the market value, an iBuyer could purchase your property in as little as 7 days with an instant cash offer. This provides speed, flexibility, and certainty. 

Get a free, no-obligation iBuying offer with UPSTIX here. 

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Value and associated costs used for illustrative purposes