Ways to sell

How long does it take to sell a house?

5 min read

From finding the right buyer to completing all the necessary paperwork, there are several factors that can influence how long it takes to sell a house. We look at which parts of the process take up time, and what you can do to help things run smoothly and as quick as possible.

  • Arti Dhamu, Move Specialist at My Home Move Conveyancing
    Arti Dhamu

    Move Specialist

    Published October 26th 2023

family in living room hoping for a quick house sale

Finding a buyer

Depending on how desirable your property is; putting it on the market, holding viewings and finding a buyer could be the lengthiest part of the process. Wherever your property is, make sure you’re realistic when it comes to your asking price. It’s a painful experience to have an overpriced property languishing on the market, and demanding an unrealistic price is a surefire way to add time onto your transaction.

If you want a quick sale, there may be certain buyers which are more advantageous. First-time buyers, those with no chain, or cash buyers may all be more appealing and may make the conveyancing process run quicker.

The conveyancing process

As soon as you accept an offer on your home, the conveyancing process can begin. This is where you’ll need the assistance of experts who’ll help you with the legal aspects of selling your property. The timescale for the process varies from sale to sale, however providing everything goes relatively smoothly, you can expect it to take around twelve to fourteen weeks to reach completion – per the national average. If you’re involved in a chain or you’re selling a leasehold property, this may take much longer.

Read our article to learn more about the conveyancing process when selling.

family enjoying breakfast in their new kitchen after selling old home and buying a new one

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• Pre-contract stage

You’re in the pre-contract stage as soon as you accept an offer, and this typically takes around twelve weeks. During this time your conveyancer will draft contracts and obtain documents such as the title deeds on your property, to prove that you’re legally allowed to sell it. They’ll also respond to any enquiries raised by the buyer’s lawyer, which usually arise from any searches and surveys they have done. Once everything’s been ironed out, you can arrange for contracts to be exchanged and confirm a completion date.

• Completion

Before you complete on your sale, your conveyancer will approve all the documents received from the buyer and draw up a financial statement that details the net proceeds you’ll receive from your sale. Typically, completion will occur a week or so after you exchange contracts. On your completion date, you must be completely moved out by around midday and hand in all sets of your keys for the buyer to pick up.

Costs when selling a house

Usually, the biggest costs you’ll face when selling your home is the conveyancing fee and the fee your estate agent charges. High street estate agents typically charge anything between 1% and 3% commission, so the amount you’ll pay will depend on the price you get for your house. This can quickly become a huge amount of money. Find out more about the cost of selling a house.

How to speed up your house sale

• Use an estate agent

Although estate agent fees are usually the biggest cost when selling your home, if you decide to go it alone it can take longer to find a buyer. It’s in an estate agent’s interests to sell your house as quickly as possible and for the highest price they can get, so having one on board usually means you’ll sell quicker and more profitably.

• Spruce up your home

Whether selling privately or through an estate agent, giving your house a quick makeover can work wonders when it comes to making an impression on potential buyers. Whether your efforts stretch to a lick of paint here and there or just a good clean and tidy, an attractive-looking home could find you a buyer much sooner than a tired looking home. Find ways you can add value to your home before putting it on the market.

• Be prompt and prepared

One of the biggest things you can do to help speed up your sale is to be prepared. If you’re prompt and ready to proceed at each stage of the process, you’ll stand the best chance of a swift sale. From providing prompt access for viewings and surveys the buyer’s having done to returning paperwork as quickly as possible, keeping on your toes counts for a lot.

• Choose a reliable conveyancer

As the legal process is often what takes the most time, it’s important you choose a reliable conveyancer that’s going to help you through the process as quickly and professionally as possible. When you have a conveyancer who knows what they’re doing, you’ll find that you’ll have to do minimal chasing during your sale as everything’s taken care of for you in good time. Check that your chosen firm is willing to use email or an online portal rather than having to wait for everything to come through the post – it sounds simple but can shave weeks off the transaction.

Read our guides for more information on how to sell your house and the cost of selling a house, or read our complete guide to conveyancing for sellers.

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