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How Long Does It Take to Sell a Home?

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

Have you wondered about how long it really takes to sell a home? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together information on what to watch out for, factors that impact the time it takes to make a sale, and more.

Beware Misleading Information 

Most of the articles you see on how long it takes to sell a home are written from the buyer’s perspective. There’s not much information based on being a seller and the time needed to sell your home.

Here’s a quick list of how long it can take to sell a home (from the seller’s perspective):

A successful sale, from 1st day of marketing to completion, is about 15-25 weeks. This includes:

  • Viewings
  • Accepting the offer
  • Searches/legal inquiries/buyer’s survey
  • Negotiating the contract with the buyer
  • Exchange of contracts (receive deposit)
  • Completion (receive balance)

However, if the deal falls through, then the process starts all over again. That means it could take even longer than 15-25 weeks to sell, depending on the market.

Remember, these are average times. The real amount of time it takes to sell your home depends on whether the market is “hot” or “cold.”

Average UK Home Selling Times 

Here are some average figures on how long it takes to sell a home in the UK:

  • Average (cold & hot): 12 days, 18 weeks, 4.2 months
  • Cold: 176 days, 25 weeks, and 5.8 months
  • Hot: 114 days, 16 weeks, and 3.7 months

Main Factors That Impact a Sale

There are three main factors that determine when and if a home will sell:

1. Asking Price

The asking price can play into how soon a home may sell. The price must be in accordance with similar properties in the area. This is a factor the home seller has some control over. However, it’s not possible to ask more than the competition. Properties don’t work like that.

Overpriced properties may get viewings; however, they rarely result in a buyer willing to pay the asking price.

On the other hand, asking less than others in the same location may garner more attention from buyers and result in a faster sale.

2. Market Heat

The real estate market can be described as “hot” or “cold.” A “hot” market means homes are selling quickly, while a “cold” market means not many people are buying. This is a factor the homeowner does not have control over, except taking the home off the market and trying again when the market improves.

3. Quality of Solicitors

Not all solicitors are of the same quality, even if they come from a high street agency. When a solicitor takes a long time to respond to even a simple query, the buyer’s home won’t sell quickly. However, the home seller does have control over this factor. If the solicitor isn’t working out, it’s possible to choose another solicitor.

In addition, it’s best not to use the conveyancer suggested by your estate agent. The conveyancers and estate agents sometimes work together to get more customers. For instance, the estate agent may make some money by referring you to a specific conveyancer. So, it’s always best for the homeowner to choose their own conveyancer.

Reasons a House May Not Sell

Depending on the housing market, there are several reasons your home may not be selling:

Asking price is too high: this is the top reason a house doesn’t sell. In addition, a homeowner that sets the asking price too high and then later reduces it may add to the time (months) it takes to sell the home. An overpriced property also sees fewer viewings.

Poor marketing: many potential home buyers start their search online. If the ad doesn’t include images, or the images are poor quality, then potential buyers will pass on by. Another problem is ads that don’t include enough detail about the property, or the copy is not well-written. These can cause a failure to attract buyers. Another problem is home sellers who don’t want to put a for-sale sign in their yard. This can also slow sales.

Market heat: homes are much easier to sell when the market’s “hot.” Sale prices are also usually higher at these times.

Ineffective estate agent: not all agents are of the same quality. Some may not be proactive enough, meaning there may not be many viewings. This may mean the property doesn’t sell quickly.

Poor presentation: messy, cluttered, or not cared for properties don’t appeal to potential buyers. In addition, poorly presented homes (inside and out) don’t bring in buyers. They may also give the impression the home has serious problems or damage that must be fixed.

Three Tips to Speed Up Your Home Sale

Here are some tips you can use that may help speed up your home sale:

1. Be Proactive

This means don’t go away on holiday. Instead, stay home and keep in touch with the estate agent. Call with questions, see if they’re busy promoting your home, and more. Remember, you must also be present to sign and return all paperwork quickly; otherwise the process could take even longer.

Be sure to check in with your solicitor and estate agent weekly.

2. Use a Quality Solicitor

You want to avoid cheap, overworked solicitors, so choose a solicitor who:

  • Works quickly
  • Works on a no move no fee basis
  • Solves problems, rather than just (recently) finding them
  • Is happy to cooperate with the estate agents

3. Use a Quality Estate Agent

It can be difficult to find a quality estate agent; however, here are some tips you can use to find the right one for your property sale:

  • Choose the most successful agent in the business (could be the one with the highest sales, but should also be the one with recent successful sales)
  • Look for one that helps price your home to generate interest right away
  • Qualifies buyers, checks the entire transaction chain, assesses offers, and gives expert guidance on which buyer to choose
  • Holds deals together, even when problems come up
  • Chases chains, keeps gentle (steady) pressure on solicitors, and keeps the transaction moving forward

Summing It Up

Remember that you have no control over the market. However, as a seller, you have control over your property's condition, choosing the right solicitor & estate agent, and setting a great asking price.

Your home will sell faster, even in a cold market, if it’s in good shape and you have the right team in place to help bring in the right potential buyer for your property!