When putting a house up on the market, the question of “how long will it take to sell?” will probably be at the forefront of your mind.
Although things can vary, there are certain rules of thumb.
This can be a difficult question to answer as every house sale is unique and has its own characteristics.
Nonetheless, to get a better grip on the overall picture, every month Property Solvers analyse the average time to sell houses in England, Wales and Scotland.
We extract data from the UK’s leading property portal, Rightmove as well as the HM Land Registry.
The idea is to assess the dates when an estate agent lists the property on the portal to the point at which it is officially marked as sold.
It’s during this time that a house sale goes through a range of processes, including:
Note you can see this data in your own area by heading to Resources > Market Insights on this website.
We started recording the data in April 2019 and analyse approximately 80,000 home sales in England, Wales and Scotland every month.
From putting your house up for sale to closing, our most recent annual research shows that property transactions are taking 18 weeks on average.
Observing the regional differences, the graph below shows how the data has evolved over the 12 months to May 2020:
Using data also from Rightmove, the average length of time sellers spend waiting for an offer is around 7 weeks.
This is essentially the time from which a property is listed on the portal to the point the estate agency changes it to ‘Sold STC’ or ‘Under Offer’.
Please note that this is not a guarantee that the house sale will complete. It’s the first step to getting the house sale finished.
There are a number of factors that may either slow down or speed up a house sale.
Let’s explore each of these points in greater detail…
The term “chain” refers to the series of other transactions that need to occur before your property sale can happen.
For example, you may have made all the necessary preparations to sell your house, including accepting an offer – but your buyer may need to wait to sell their house to free up the funds to put down a deposit.
Not only that, but the buyer of the house that your seller has on the market may also have their own house to sell before that transaction can be completed.
This situation can be repeated over and over again, forming “links” in a chain.
Here are a few elements that may speed up or slow down a chain:
How fast you sell the property will depend on your estate agency’s ability to deliver on its promises.
Here are some of the key signs of a good estate agent:
Remember that there are a lot of estate agents out there that deliberately over-value your property to win your business.
For example, it’s common practice for sellers to get three estate agents around for a valuation.
As they often know they’ll be competing with each other, they start to play a game of ‘oneupmanship’ to get the instruction – despite it not being in your best interests.
We would suggest that you undertake your own research and see if it corroborates.
These days you can check historical house price data via the HM Land Registry for FREE.
Even in a simple transaction where there is no chain, the actions of the individuals involved can cause a sale to be quicker or slower.
Possibilities may include:
In the UK, a property buyer usually needs to pay – as a minimum – a 10% deposit in order to secure the purchase of a house.
Some lenders will allow for a 5% deposit, usually because the buyers are using the Help to Buy scheme.
Most buyers these days would be paying a deposit of between 25% and 30%.
There may be certain aspects that prevent the buyer from having this money immediately to hand, including:
Getting mortgage finance in place is the most common issues we see in our day-to-day activities and can be caused by:
Often, it’s an individual or organisation that ends up dragging their feet or running into trouble and slowing things down.
Problems may arise if:
Under the “property market” umbrella, there are two matters that can positively or negatively affect the speed of a transaction.
These are the overall state of the market and the current stage of the “property cycle”.
The property market can be affected by matters such as the health of the country’s economy.
Matters of social, health or political uncertainty can also come into play.
These factors can drive property prices up or down and affect mortgage lending and interest rates.
If both property prices and interest rates are high, and lending is down, it will usually take longer to sell houses.
There are also other “micro” effects that can affect how quickly you sell.
For example, if there’s an oversupply of properties similar to your own, you mind find it a bit more of a struggle to find a buyer.
Here, you may need to bring down the price to start attracting interest.
In most countries, a repetitive process known as the “property cycle” allows people to roughly estimate the booms and slow periods within the market.
The property cycle usually follows these steps:
This cycle is known to take around 18 years to complete – and the speed of your sale will, in part, depend on the point in the cycle at which you plan to sell.
Note that the theory behind house cycles is certainly not foolproof.
Here are a few ways in which you as a seller can help to speed up a transaction…
Having the right paperwork to hand and following instructions quickly and to the letter will take the pressure off you and encourage other parties to work swiftly and efficiently too.
You should also make sure that all major decisions regarding the transaction are set in stone before you list your home.
Somewhat obvious, but make sure you create a great first impression.
A lick of paint, simple decoration, removing clutter and a good clean can work wonders.
It can be a bitter pill to swallow… But when people reduce their prices, the chances of finding a buyer increase.
How much of a reduction is open to debate. We always suggest looking at HM Land registry data on what homes in your area have actually been selling for.
A proactive and experienced estate agent should be able to lead you in the right direction.
Try not to settle for just any buyer.
If a buyer seems organised and has the funds to hand to put down a deposit immediately, the sale is less likely to run into problems.
You should also look for suggestions from your conveyancing solicitors.
Through their own legal checks, they’ll be able to let you know how legitimate the buyer appears to be.
Instead of using an estate agent, it’s possible to sell your house for cash up-front.
Property Solvers is a specialist home buying company that can help you to complete a sale quickly, removing any chain and allowing you greater freedom as a result.
By following this route as a seller, you’ll be able to benefit from:
When selling your house for cash, you won’t need to rely on a buyer, solicitor or estate agent, which means you have far greater control over the speed of the transaction.
In order to complete a transaction with a quick home-buying company, you just need to request a no-obligation cash offer from your chosen service provider.
With Property Solvers, the amount you’re offered will remain the same throughout the process, with no risks of price drops before completion. What we say is what we pay.
You’ll usually receive up to 75% of the market value of your property.
If you plan to use an estate agent to sell your property, you should first consider the current state of the market.
If you can afford to wait until a better time, this is a good idea, as selling when the market is strong is likely to result in a quicker transaction.
Otherwise, if you’re interested in using a quick home-buying service, make contact with Property Solvers today and we’ll be very happy to help you.