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How Long to Sell a House After Offer is Accepted?

Estimated reading time 7 minutes

Selling a property can be a slow process. The average time to sell a house in the UK is currently around six months. Certain parts of the process move quickly, but some can drag and make it seem like the day will never come. It will. It just takes time.

The longest period when selling a house is when it moves from accepted offer to completion.  This can take around 3 to 4 months time for the process to be worked through. However, if problems arise with mortgage applications or surveys, you could see this time greatly increased.

Much faster alternatives are available and appeal to many. Cash house buyers, for example, slash those wait times and can have people selling up in as little as seven days.

In this blog, we look at what happens after an offer is accepted, and how long it takes for a sale to be completed.

What happens between offer acceptance and completion?

Once you have accepted an offer on your home, you’ll be hopeful of the quickest sale possible. Nobody likes the process to drag. Unfortunately, speed isn’t something property sales are known for. There will be a lot to work through before you can hand the keys over from one property and obtain the keys to another.

With an offer in place, conveyancing begins. This is where things can seem like not much is happening, but behind the scenes, there is lots of work going on. Estimates show that conveyancing can take around three months to be completed.

Conveyancing searches

The most time-consuming part of this process is when the buyer's solicitor conducts their searches on the property. Conveyancing searches are in-depth and can take considerable time. They will assess the property and the area for any issues that are detrimental to the transaction. This would include assessing the flood risk, any signs of subsidence, and whether there are planning permission issues, for example. It could take over a month to have searches completed, and much depends on the types of searches required.

Check out our guide, How Much Does Subsidence Devalue a Property, for more information on subsidence.

A seller should remain aware that if search results come back, and show faults or non-compliance, the buyer may look to lower the price or walk away altogether. With that in mind, both parties should have searches carried out as soon as possible. That way, any issues can hopefully be rectified quickly.

Pre-contract enquiries

The survey and searches may or may not have uncovered some specific issues with the property or the area. The pre-contract enquiries give the buyer's solicitor the chance to highlight concerns that the buyer has. This could see a reduced offer or particular requests made for fixtures and fittings of the property. The results of the searches will determine how long this process takes. Some buyers will be happy with the survey and search results, while others may find several faults. As a result, you should allow this process to take around one month to complete.

Contract exchange

With both the buyer and seller now happy, and any contractual queries resolved or amended, the exchange can happen. Once an exchange of contracts takes place the sale/purchase becomes legally binding. To renege on this deal now would see severe cost implications for the party that pulls out. For this process to complete, you can put a 2-week estimate on it. However, should there be any issues relating to the contract that require intense investigation, it may take a little longer.


With completion now here, you can hand over your keys and receive yours. Just make sure that if you are the seller, you are fully moved out and if you are the buyer, there are no loose ends to tie up at your former home. Whilst you may be hoping to grab the keys the day you exchange contracts, this isn’t always possible, in fact, it’s quite rare. Instead, around seven days after your contracts have been exchanged, you’ll complete. The money from your sale will be sent to you and the relevant funds are then sent on to those who you are buying from.

Why does it take so long to sell a house?

There are a variety of processes involved in selling a house. From finding an estate agent to hosting viewings, and from accepting offers to search results, plenty is going on. Factor in that you will likely be selling and buying a property at the same time and you’ll also have to account for the time it takes for all aspects of your purchase to be worked through too.

Things like property searches for example can take as long as two months to be completed depending on the complexity of them. The contracts aren’t a quick and easy process either. Solicitors will go back and forth, sometimes for weeks, to finalise all the information, and make sure that everything is above board and compliant.

Consider that the nature of a property chain can vastly alter the speed that a transaction goes through too. Where there is a long chain, you have potentially more stumbling blocks to deal with. More people to pull out, raise conveyancing concerns, or simply failing to meet deadlines can all see your property plans grind to a halt no matter how far along the chain you are.

You could also see delays with mortgage offers. If you have accepted an offer from the potential buyer, they should get their mortgage offer finalised. However, despite being armed with an agreement in principle, there is always a chance a mortgage may not be approved. There can be delays while checks are carried out, or the lender may just be slow to act upon instructions. Typically, a mortgage offer comes through in around 4-5 weeks, but delays can see this time more than doubled. This is where you should also keep an eye on your own mortgage situation. If you are using a mortgage to purchase your next property, remain aware that your mortgage offer will expire after 3-6 months. A delay in the sale of your property could significantly harm your purchase of another.

Can you accept multiple offers on a home?

Yes. Nothing is legally binding until contracts are exchanged. However, should you accept an offer after already accepting one, you will lose any money spent on the initial property transaction. This could mean that despite being offered more money for the home by someone else, you could actually end up worse off as more has had to be paid out to start the process again.

If these timelines sound like they will hinder your property plans, you could speak to Bettemove. We ensure a home sells fast. In as little as seven days in some cases. We put our focus on three aspects of a sale. Speed, value, and convenience.  With no fees to pay either, we remove all the stress typically associated with a property sale. With us, you have two routes to sale. Both ensure you sell your house fast. One option is to allow us to purchase the home from you with our own cash. With no risk of a chain breaking, this can be a great way to sell if you’ve struggled to get a sale before. Alternatively, we can present your home to a team of pre-approved buyers who are all ready to make offers on all types of property. Find out more with Bettermove and see your home sold fast without the six-month delays common on the traditional market.