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How Long Does it Take to Sell a House?

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8th Jul 2019 (Last updated on 18th Mar 2020) 8 minute read

On average, it can take between 4-7 months to sell a house depending on your personal circumstances.  

Every experience is different and can be affected in a variety of ways. However, there are factors to consider that can delay the process; such as survey results, the property’s condition and the length of the property chain. There is no definitive answer for how long it takes to sell a house as your personal experience may differ from the majority due to these unexpected issues.   

However, Compare My Move have created this guide to outline the steps involved with selling a house to provide you with a basic timeline of the process. It can often seem like a long and difficult affair and that’s why every bit of help and research can be vital. Don’t forget to compare conveyancing solicitors so that they can professionally aid you with the legal process, potentially cutting down the overall length of time.

The Process of Selling a House
  1. 1. Putting Your Property on the Market
  2. 2. Receiving and Accepting an Offer
  3. 3. The Conveyancing Process
  4. 4. Exchanging Contracts
  5. 5. Completion
  6. How Long Does it Take to Sell a House?
  7. Factors That Could Delay the Process
  8. How Long Does it Take to Sell a House with No Chain?
  9. Saving Time and Money with Compare My Move

1. Putting Your Property on the Market

It can take anywhere from 24-72 hours to put your property on the market. 

The first step to take when selling a house is putting it on the market, often by using a professional estate agent to help. They will advertise the property, arrange viewings and put a ‘For Sale’ sign up on the premises. This can take as little as 24 hours if you go online but you should be aware that different factors can increase this time. 

If the estate agents are particularly busy, then your property may be low down of their list. It may also be delayed depending on how long it takes the Energy Performance Certificate and other paperwork to be completed. This is also when you should start considering the asking price and how much you'll want to sell the property for. 

2. Receiving and Accepting an Offer

It can take around 8-12 weeks to receive and accept an offer on the house. 

The next stage of selling a house is receiving and accepting an offer. This can take around 12 weeks after you’ve put the property on the market. You may have an offer sooner than this but the reason it can take so long is that you’re under no obligation to accept the offers you receive. You can either negotiate the price until you reach a decision all parties agree upon or you can wait for another offer from a different buyer. There is also the issue of gazumping which can affect the length of the process. 

3. The Conveyancing Process

The conveyancing process can take anywhere between 3-8 weeks.

Now is the time to start working on any necessary paperwork with your conveyancing solicitor. Don't forget to compare quotes to ensure you find a conveyancer who is professional and within your personal budget. It’s important to find someone like our Compare My Move partners who are regulated, fully-insured and with the correct qualifications. This is due to the legal aspects to selling a house being crucial for a successful transaction.  

During the conveyancing process, the contract will be drawn up and altered until all parties are at an agreement. The buyer’s solicitor will conduct the appropriate conveyancing searches to ensure the property is in good condition and that the information passed on is correct. It would also be wise to sort out your mortgage at this stage. This process will take longer if you’re in a property chain and is where most of the delays can be expected.

4. Exchanging Contracts

Moving from the conveyancing process to the exchange of contracts can take between 2-5 weeks.

Once the contracts are completed and all parties are at an agreement, it’s time to exchange contracts and end the conveyancing process. Before this step, the buyer and seller must agree upon a completion date to end the transaction. The length of this step depends on how long it takes to come to a universal agreement. 

The buyer should now have conducted the necessary surveys, legal work and inspections as well as arranged their mortgage. Once the contracts have been exchanged, the buyer is the legal owner of the property.

5. Completion

On average, completion takes up to 4 weeks. 

Once the contracts have been signed, exchanged and the payment made in full, the sale is complete. The transaction is now legally binding and the ownership of the property has been changed. The day of completion can either be the same day the contracts are exchanged or up to 4 weeks later. It all depends on the paperwork and how fast the money is transferred. 

Completion day will be the deadline for the seller to move out and the start of the buyer moving in. It’s always wise to compare removal companies and find the best one suited to you and your budget. Whether you’re moving in or out, Compare My Move’s got you covered, saving you both time and money on moving day.

How Long Does it Take to Sell a House?

The process of selling a house can depend on a variety of factors. But, assuming there are no delays, it can take an average of up to 7 months to sell a house. With a couple of days spent on putting your property on the market, 12 weeks to go through viewings and accept an offer, 8 weeks for the conveyancing process, 5 weeks to agree on and exchange contracts and then finally, up to 4 weeks for completion. 

It’s also important to consider that a no-chain property will have a quicker process due to the unlikeliness of delays occurring. Everyone’s experience is different and so it’s important to note that your personal circumstances will often alter the time taken.

Factors That Could Delay the Process

From the asking price to the condition of the property, there are a variety of factors that could delay the process of selling a house. To help you prepare in advance, here are a few things to consider that could potentially delay the sale of your property:

  • The Asking Price - Whether it’s over or under-priced, the asking price can always be something to discourage potential buyers. It doesn’t take much research to compare your house to other properties in the area. Whether it’s suspiciously cheap or far too expensive, even just a few hundred pounds can make a huge difference. 
  • If the Property is in Poor Condition - It’s always recommended to clean and spruce up your property before viewings commence. It needs to look homely for buyers to consider it. If there are obvious issues with the structure or interior, then this will delay the process even further until the right buyer comes along. 
  • Area - It's out of your control but an area with poor public transport, poor schools or high crime rates can be a negative factor. 
  • Property Chain - Unless you’re dealing with a first-time buyer, it’s likely that your buyer will also be selling their previous property. You may also be waiting to purchase a house and move in before selling which can also cause delays. The longer the property chain, the more difficult it can be to have a quick sale. 
  • Buyer Issues - Whether it’s because of bad survey results, an issue with the price, or something else, whilst you’re under contract there's still a chance the buyer can pull out of the sale. They could also have issues with their mortgage or conveyancing process which can also cause delays. 
  • The Contract Falling Through - It’s very common for there to be issues with the first draft of the contract. It takes time to compromise and come to a clear agreement.

How Long Does it Take to Sell a House with No Chain?

Every sale is different, but selling a no chain property can increase the speed of the process and possibly cut the length down to around 12 weeks. A ‘property chain’ is the number of property purchases linked together with each one being dependent on the other transactions. First-time buyers, for example, will only be buying a property and not selling, so the chain would begin with them. 

Properties considered as having ‘no chain’ or are ‘chain-free’ are when the seller does not need to buy a house before selling the current one. New-build properties are ‘chain-free’ as they have no current occupants. If you're lucky enough to be selling a house with no chain, then it could be a quicker process for you. This is especially so if there’s no chain from the buyer’s side of the transaction either.

The reason it’s a more efficient process is that, even though the steps for selling a house with no chain are the same, there's a lower chance of encountering delays. The purchase will not be dependent on the seller first buying or organising a separate property or the buyer selling a previous one.

Saving Time and Money with Compare My Move

Time is precious, especially when selling a house. To help you save both time and money, Compare My Move can connect you with up to 5 accredited and fully regulated conveyancing solicitors in your local area. All you have to do is fill out our quick and easy form to begin your conveyancing process today.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.