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How Long Does it Take to Sell a House Once Offer Accepted

Nicola Ryan

Written by

8th Nov 2022 (Last updated on 8th Apr 2024) 7 minute read

Accepting an offer on your property is the beginning of the conveyancing process. It takes approximately 125 days to sell a house once the offer has been accepted. The total length of time the conveyancing process will take is dependent on various factors. These include the complexity of the sale and whether you are part of a property chain. Selling a house once an offer has been accepted can take months.

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about how long it takes when selling a house once you have accepted an offer. We'll also discuss what delays you may encounter during the conveyancing process.

  1. Timescale of Selling in Different Regions
  2. What to do Once I’ve Accepted an Offer on My House?
  3. What Happens Between Accepting Offer and Completion?
  4. What Can Slow a Sale Down?
  5. Can a Seller Entertain Multiple Offers?
  6. Can I Accept Another Offer After Already Accepting One?
  7. Finding a Conveyancer
Timescale of Selling

Here is a timescale for selling a house once the offer is accepted:

Stages of the Conveyancing ProcessAverage Time Taken
Buyer applying for a mortgage17 days
Buyer receiving a mortgage offer
21 days
Conveyancing searches
34 days
Pre-contract enquiries
31 days
Exchange of contracts
15 days
7 days
125 days

Timescale of Selling in Different Regions

The average timescale of selling a house varies depending on the region. This is because the demand differs across the country.

Here is the timescale of selling in different regions in England:

RegionTime from offer accepted to completion
East of England152 days
East Midlands135 days
London129 days
North East142 days
North West123 days
South East119 days
South West136 days
West Midlands116 days
Yorkshire and the Humber109 days

Taken from Land Registry data and our own data

What to do Once I’ve Accepted an Offer on My House?

Once you have accepted an offer on your property, you’ll need to hire a conveyancer. It’s best to instruct your conveyancer as soon as the offer is accepted. This will ensure that the conveyancing process goes smoothly on your end with minimal delay.

The conveyancing process is used to describe the period of time between an offer being accepted and completion. The buyer's conveyancer undertakes due diligence on the property for the buyer and the seller's conveyancer makes sure all their questions are answered. This is to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the transaction.

Your conveyancer’s main responsibility is guiding you through the process and ensuring that all legal jargon is explained in a clear way. They'll put together all the important documents about the property and send them over to the buyer's conveyancer so that they can order searches and raise their pre-contract enquiries.

It’s best to start your conveyancer research as soon as you put your property on the market. This means that you aren’t in a rush to do your initial research and instruct your conveyancer in a short period of time. Look at reviews online and ask family and friends for recommendations. This can be hugely helpful and assist you in choosing the right conveyancer for you.

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What Happens Between Accepting Offer and Completion?

When you have accepted an offer, the conveyancing process will begin. The conveyancing process takes an average of 125 days to complete. There are certain steps that will have to be followed before you can complete the transaction and complete.

The buyer will have additional steps to complete as they will need to apply for a mortgage and then wait to receive their mortgage offer. You will also have to follow this step if you are buying a property and plan on taking out a mortgage.

Here are the main steps that you will need to follow once you have instructed your conveyancer. Bear in mind that there may be additional steps when dealing with a difficult sale.

Conveyancing searches - 34 days

One of the main tasks that the buyer's conveyancer will carry out is the conveyancing searches. These searches will highlight any problems concerning the surrounding area and the property. This includes flood risks, subsidence, and radon gas levels. If the searches come back with negative results, your buyer may renegotiate their offer or pull out of the transaction. Therefore, it’s best to have the conveyancing searches conducted as early as possible in the process so that issues are identified early on.

Conveyancing searches can take a while to conduct. On average, it takes around 34 days for the searches to be completed and the results to be returned to the seller and buyer.

Pre-contract enquiries - 31 days

The pre-contract enquiries begin once the buyer has received their search and survey results and they've reviewed the property's title documents. Pre-contract enquiries are communicated via the conveyancers. The buyer may alter their offer depending on the results they have received. They may also request for certain features to remain in the house such as light fixings or furniture.

The pre-contract enquiry stage can vary as it differs on a case-by-case basis. However, this step takes an average of 31 days to complete.

Exchange of contracts - 15 days

Once both parties are happy to proceed, the exchange of contracts will take place. When the contracts have been exchanged, the transaction becomes legally binding. This means that if either party withdraws from the sale, there will be legal and financial penalties to face.

Exchanging contracts tends to take less time than the previous stages because all the finer details should be ironed out prior to this. Therefore, it takes around 15 days for contracts to be exchanged.

Completion - 7 days

The final stage of the process is completion day. This is when you hand over the keys to the buyer and they are able to move into the property. As a seller, you need to make sure that you have moved out by this date as the property is no longer yours.

Completion day can sometimes occur on the same day that the contracts have been exchanged. However, this isn’t a common occurrence. Completion tends to happen around a week after the exchange of contracts. You will then receive the money from the sale and your buyer will be expected to pay any stamp duty within 30 days of the sale, but usually your conveyancer arranges this for you.

Read more on:
What Happens on Completion Day?

What Can Slow a Sale Down?

There are various factors that can slow a sale down. These delays can be extremely inconvenient for both parties. Therefore, it’s best to make sure that you instruct your solicitor as soon as you accept an offer to prevent delays from happening.

Here are some of the most common causes of conveyancing delays:

Waiting for buyer search results

The first cause for delays is waiting for the buyer’s conveyancing search results to return. Conveyancing searches should take between 2 and 6 weeks to complete. However, your conveyancer may struggle to locate certain information on the property which in turn causes delays.

Waiting for buyer survey results

Another buyer delay that can occur is when waiting for the survey results. Depending on what type of survey you get, the survey will reveal potential defects and issues in the property. A Level 3 Building Survey will take longer to conduct than a Level 2 HomeBuyer Survey. However, negative survey results can impact a buyer’s decision on whether to proceed with the transaction.

Buyer waiting for a mortgage offer

Your buyer will most likely have to arrange a mortgage before they can proceed with the transaction. It takes approximately 4 weeks for buyers to receive their mortgage offer. However, there may be instances where there are delays. Bear in mind that you will have to keep an eye on your own mortgage offer if you are buying a property. This is because your mortgage offer will expire after 3 to 6 months.

Long property chain

Lastly, if you are part of a property chain, you may find that there are delays. This is because you will be buying and selling a property at the same time. Property chains can cause delays as it is dependent on other people buying and selling a property as well. If one party’s transaction falls through, this can have a negative effect on the rest of the property chain.

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Can a Seller Entertain Multiple Offers?

Sellers can consider more than one offer. When an offer is accepted, the property is placed as Sold Subject to Contract (known as SSTC). If you have accepted an offer and received a higher offer before the transaction is legally binding, you can choose to accept the higher offer. This process is known as gazumping.

Gazumping is frowned upon due to the inconvenience for both the buyer and the seller. Both parties will lose out on any money they have spent in the process on solicitor fees and conveyancing searches among other costs.

Can I Accept Another Offer After Already Accepting One?

The transaction is not legally binding until the exchange of contracts has been completed. This means that you are able to accept another offer beforehand without facing any legal action.

If you do accept another offer before the exchange of contracts, you will lose any money that you have already spent. The further along in the process you are, the more money you will have likely spent. Therefore, weigh up whether accepting the new offer is worth the loss or not.

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Finding a Conveyancer

At Compare My Move, we have a network of licensed conveyancers who are ready to assist you with the sale of your property. We can connect you with up to 6 conveyancers who are regulated by either the SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI, or CILEX.

Nicola Ryan

Written by Nicola Ryan

Nicola focusses on all things moving house at Compare My Move where she writes articles for the advice centre, guiding users through everything they need to know about moving house.