If you are thinking about putting your home on the market, then you may be wondering, ‘How long does it take to sell a house in the UK?’
If so, then this article will help – though the answer is not straightforward since there are a range of factors involved, including your geographic location and the type of property you are selling.
While some properties will linger on the market, other properties will sell immediately and there are no set criteria for delivering a quick sale but we will look into what a vendor can do to attract buyers quickly.
However, when it comes to selling a home in the UK, you should appreciate that this process takes between two to three months on average.
A study by Post Office Money Mortgages reveals that the average time to sell is 102 days which they calculated after looking at the statistics for 20 of the biggest cities last year.
The shortest time a property spent on sale was found in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where they sold in 39 and 48 days.
The longest period for buyers to snap up a home was in London, Newcastle and Liverpool where properties remained on the market, on average, for between 106 and 126 days.
Issues affecting the time it takes to sell your home
As mentioned, there are a number of issues that will affect the time it takes to sell your home and these include:
- Your geographic location
- Property size
- Property condition
- The price
All of these will influence purchasing decisions but it’s still the old mantra of, ‘Location, location, location’ that really plays a part.
And for those who have sold and bought property on a regular basis, then they will probably appreciate more the fact there is often no logical reason as to why a home sells or does not sell. In some cases, it’s purely down to luck that a buyer appears to be waiting for the property.
Another influence will be down to competition. This means the volume of demand and supply in your region will affect buyers with those in the South East waiting for 12 weeks and in Greater London sellers are looking at up to 16 weeks before sealing a deal.
For house sellers in the North West of England, then it could take anything up to eight weeks before selling.
For home sellers in Blackpool, then sadly, this town will take the longest time to sell – and that’s despite it being the country’s most affordable location for those who are first-time buyers.
How to sell your home quickly
While we mention that there is no precise science when it comes to selling a property, it is best to be prepared for the long haul when trying to find a buyer.
So, what are the variables that will affect a property selling? They include:
There is no doubt one of the biggest factors will be the price of your property; get this right from the outset and you’ll have buyers queueing up. Alternatively, you may be looking at making price reductions to attract interest.
Finding the correct price for your property can be a tricky process but it must reflect accurately the property’s market value. This is where the expertise of an estate agent really plays a part.
Location, location, location
One of the most influential factors when it comes to selling a home quickly is its location. It makes sense that if your home is in a desirable location or neighbourhood, then buyers will be more willing to buy.
It’s for this reason why there is such a huge variation in the selling time between towns and cities with buyers, particularly attracted by:
- A desirable neighbourhood
- Outstanding schools
- Low crime rates
- Green parks
There’s also an issue for those homes that are close to public transport, and you’ll need to appreciate that buyers will be less willing to move to an area with a pollution issue or high levels of crime.
One of the biggest influential factors when selling a home in the UK is down to the property’s condition.
Those homes that shine and sparkle will tend to sell much quicker because they attract buyers who are not interested in those homes that need work.
Most buyers will be attracted to those homes where they can visualise themselves living in and not in those homes that are cluttered and poorly maintained which makes them more difficult to sell.
Factors that may delay a house sale
The process to sell your home in the UK can be a tortuous one with setbacks and disappointment. There are a range of issues to contend with, including:
Contract falling through
As sad as it is, it is common for the sales contract to fall through, particularly if the buyer finds problems during their inspection or with a surveyor’s report. Also, their mortgage application may be rejected, which means putting your home back on the market.
Property chain collapses
Another issue when selling a property is that you are selling, usually, to someone else who is selling their home. They are, in turn, waiting for someone to buy theirs, which means you will get involved in property chains – if one link fails the whole chain will collapse, which forces you back to square one.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the Post Office Money research highlights that one in three sellers will experience their offer falling through within the first three weeks after receiving it.
Once you accept an offer from a buyer, then your home is ‘under contract’. This does not mean the sale is complete. Instead, there are various conditions to meet including the mortgage approval and final inspections which could delay the sale by between 30 and 45 days.
Some common questions when selling your house in the UK:
How long should you live in a house before selling in the UK?
There are no rules – though if you are selling a new house just a few months after moving in then be prepared to answer some tricky questions as to why you are leaving.
You will have to pay capital gains tax and moving fees and experts say that owners should live in a property for five years – but in a fast moving market, the temptation may be to cash in and move up.
How do I sell my house in the UK?
The best way is to register with an estate agent after you have researched which one will work best for you.
Can you sell a house within 6 months of buying it?
The answer is ‘Yes’ but you may not get a mortgage until you have owned your current home for at least six months (for some lenders this time limit will be 12 months).
What is the best month to sell a house?
There isn’t a best month as such but anytime between March and June will help. People want to move in warmer weather rather than, for example, in December when the days are short and cold and buyers are distracted by the festivities.
How long does conveyancing take with no chain?
You should prepare for conveyancing to take between six and eight weeks, though realistically this might be 12 weeks.
Is it hard to sell a leasehold property?
It is harder because most buyers want to buy freehold but depending on where the property is, there are buyers willing to buy.
How long does it take to sell a house after the offer is accepted?
After accepting the buyer’s offer, you will need searches and arrange a mortgage and to exchanging contracts this could take up to 58 days.
We overestimate how quickly our home will sell
There’s no doubt that home-sellers are always optimistic when putting their home on the market but when buyers do not materialise then disappointment quickly sets in. According to Zoopla, the property portal, around half of Brits overestimate how quickly their home will sell.
It also appears from their data that many homeowners are not valuing their property correctly as well.
More than half of those questioned said it would take more than two months to secure a sale when Zoopla found the average sale time is just 50 days.
Also, while most homeowners say they are confident knowing how much their home is worth, just 4% admitted to knowing its actual value.
Another 4 in 10 homeowners questioned said their valuation was based on what other properties sold for in their neighbourhood.
The research highlights that the quickest region for selling a property is Scotland with an impressive 39 days, followed by the West Midlands with 42 and then the East Midlands with 43 days.
The average across the country before a property is sold is 50 days, while in London it is 58 days and in the north of England, it is 57 days.
Tactics for a quick house sale
Zoopla makes clear that the tactics for a quick house sale, a seller needs to:
- Sell their property at the right price
- Use the right estate agent
The portal’s Annabel Dixon said: “When selling a property, hiring the right agent can make the all the difference. They will provide an accurate valuation before starting the selling process and this gives the best chance of receiving the best price and help speed the way for a quick transaction.”
Essentially, in answer to the question ‘How long does it take to sell a house in the UK?’, the answer is, ‘It depends’ – it depends on the price and location and demand but you will need the expertise and experience of an estate agent to help you find a buyer and sell quickly.