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HouseWorth
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  1. Blog
  2. How long does it take to sell a house?
House selling tips
30 May 2023

How long does it take to sell a house?

Rosie Hamilton
Writer & Researcher

Table of contents

  1. 1. Selling a house - how long does it take?
  2. 2. Which month is best for homesellers?
  3. 3. How long do most houses stay on the market?
  4. 4. How long does it take to sell a house after an offer is accepted?
  5. 5. How can I sell my house quickly?

Having an idea of how long your home will take to sell is an important part of deciding when to put it on the market, particularly if you have a target move date in mind.

GetAgent has collated a huge database of information from property sales all over the UK. By analysing the sales patterns of properties like yours, we're able to estimate how long you should expect a sale to take.

Selling a house - how long does it take?

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. A range of factors influence the overall figure, from location and time of year, to the motivation of the buyer, and the skill and experience of your estate agent.

Despite the overall complexity of the issue, we can provide an estimate. It usually takes at least four to six months to sell a house. You'll typically wait two to three months for an offer you're happy with, then it may take another two or three months to complete the legal proceedings.

Every area is unique. To get a more accurate average of sales times in your neighbourhood, you can check out the statistics for your local area here.

Which month is best for homesellers?

A lot of variables affect the length of the selling process, but when you choose to begin your house sale is easily one of the most important. Like many other industries, there are peaks and troughs in the housing market throughout the year.

Spring is widely thought to be the best time to sell a house, with March and May specifically being the year's hot market. April is seen as slightly inferior, due to UK schools' Easter holidays, but this break also affords certain buyers more time for viewings.

Autumn is the second best season to sell your home, with October being the latest good month of the year for the property market. People tend to be back from their summer holidays by then, and haven't yet started looking forward to the festive season.

Summer and Winter are less favourable times to sell a house. Summertime will see many people heading off on their holidays, and parents will have their hands full with their children during the school break.

Winter on the other hand is dominated by saving for and spending on the festive season. The evenings are colder and darker so you’ll find fewer potential buyers coming for viewings. However, those that do still come for viewings in winter are likely to be the most motivated to buy.

Despite these general trends, people need to move house at every time of the year. So, if you’re not able to time your sale to coincide with one of these peaks, do not worry. The sales process may be a little harder, but in the long run, the best estate agents can help you sell quickly at any time of the year.

How long do most houses stay on the market?

There's no single answer to this - the average time a house takes to sell depends on a number of different variables. But, using data we’ve analysed from the Land Registry and online property portals, we’re able to provide you with some averages.

The average time to sell a house, after being listed, is two to three months.

It's important to note that this is the average time across the entire UK property market.

Estate agents offer different averages in terms of actual days, depending on their ability and experience. These vary hugely from 50 days through to 102 days, with the most experienced being able to sell homes much quicker than less experienced, online agents.

There's plenty of variation from region to region, and country to country too. Houses in London, for example, may be the most expensive in the UK, but they also take much longer to sell than those in the North West. Similarly, flats in Scotland tend to sell much quicker than big detached houses down South.

As there’s such variation across the country, it’s important to take this average as a rough guide. If you want a more accurate estimate for the average time properties usually spend on the market in your local area, check out the stats here.

If your home has been on the market longer than the average for your area, discuss with your estate agent the best way to boost its appeal. It may be time to lower the asking price, or to take new photos for your online adverts.

How long does it take to sell a house after an offer is accepted?

In the absolute best-case scenarios, the average time to sell a house after an offer is accepted is within 40-50 days of offer acceptance (around six weeks). It's much more likely, however, to require at least three months...and can often take five or six!

Selling your home is complicated and confusing - and sometimes it can seem never-ending. Even after going through the trouble of valuing, listing, and showcasing your home, then finally accepting an offer, there's still some work to be done.

What are the most important steps in a home sale?

Your time and effort should be allocated to the most important stages of the homeselling process. But what are the most important steps?

1) Choosing an estate agent that's right for your sale

Marketing your home and offer progression are two extremely important steps in getting your home sale off the ground. The best estate agent will do all the work for you.

They will accurately value your home and ensure it is advertised effectively. They’ll know what attracts buyers, and they might even have a database of people currently looking for properties similar to yours in the area.

There are lots of different types of agents available - high street estate agents, online and hybrid brands - what you need for your home sale is a reliable, local estate agent.

Compare the performance of local estate agents using free housing market data!

GetAgent's Estate Agent Comparison Tool gets you ahead of the curve. Simply enter your postcode to compare the best local estate agents on average percentage of asking price achieved, average homeselling speed, and experience in selling homes like yours.

2) Formally accept the offer

If you've received an offer you're happy with, you must formally accept it through your estate agent. Be aware however, that the sale is not yet legally binding. At this stage you're technically still able to accept a superior offer, or back out of the sale entirely.

3) Negotiate the contract

This is arguably the trickiest stage of all, but a good estate agent - and most importantly - a reliable solicitor - will offer you plenty of support throughout this part of the conveyancing process.

Having settled on a price, you must now agree with the buyer on the most important matters of sale, including the length of time before the completion (typically 7-28 days), and which fixtures and fitting will be left in the property as part of the sale.

4) Exchange contracts

This is the stage at which both you and the buyer legally agree to the sale. Backing out now will incur legal action and financial costs.

5) Move out

This can be done anytime before the day the sale is completed, as long as the house is in the agreed-upon state (including fixtures and fittings) by the time the new owners move in.

6) Complete the sale

Completion happens on the date and time agreed upon in your contract. The buyer’s solicitor will transfer the money to your lawyer. They will then pay your estate agent’s fees, any outstanding amount on your mortgage agreement, and their legal fees, before transferring the remaining amount to you. At this point, the legal ownership of your home is officially transferred to the buyer.

The speed of a successful sale is not dependent on any one person - it requires all the cogs to be moving together, including both you and the buyer, as well as the estate agent, solicitors, mortgage lenders, buyers further down the chain, and so on.

How can I sell my house quickly?

The first step in a quick sale is to attract as many potential buyers as possible, and there are four main ways to do this:

1. Prepare your home in advance

It goes without saying that properties which look clean and spacious are more appealing to buyers. Before you list your home, take the time to clear it out and thoroughly clean everything. This will ensure your property gives the best first impression to potential buyers.

2. Set the right price

This has the single biggest impact out of any factor. On average, your property listing will get the most views in the first two weeks, and setting the wrong price initially will mean you miss out on potential buyers.

Most buyers start their property search online by filtering by price. If your home is overpriced you won’t feature in these buyers’ searches because it will look poor value for money compared to the other properties on offer. Checking how much local houses similar to yours sold for is a great first step. In addition, be sure to check out our guide to setting a sales price here.

3. Make your listing stand out

Good quality photos and an engaging description can make a huge difference in encouraging potential buyers to come for a viewing. The photographs on your listing will be most people's first glimpse of your home.

If you’re unhappy with the pictures, make sure to tell your estate agent straight away. Many estate agents will know exactly what to change in order to show your property in its best light. For an extra boost, talk to your agent about getting a promoted listing on online property portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla.

Once you have interested buyers, your choices can influence the time it takes for the sale to progress. For a speedier process:

  • Favour cash buyers - Waiting for a buyer to receive a mortgage can add a lot of time and uncertainty to your sales timeline. You won't always have the choice, but if you’re looking to sell a home quickly, consider accepting a lower offer from a cash buyer.
  • Start the legal work early - Appoint a solicitor or conveyancer as soon as possible, and have them gather all the required paperwork. If you have a leasehold property, for example, you’ll need to get a report from the freeholder. This can take a long time, so the sooner you start, the less likely it is to hold things up.
  • Use the right legal professional - An experienced and proactive conveyancer will make sure that any hold-ups are quickly identified and overcome. Ensure you pick a communicative legal professional who is an expert in what it takes to sell a home.

Thinking about
selling your home?

Picking the right estate agent is vital for a successful sale. GetAgent makes choosing simple. Discover the best performing agents in your area.

  • Free
  • Data-driven
  • No obligation

Thinking about
selling your home?

Picking the right estate agent is vital for a successful sale. GetAgent makes choosing simple. Discover the best performing agents in your area.

  • Free
  • Data-driven
  • No obligation

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