When we consider the time to sell, there are two parts – the time the property is likely to be listed on property portals and getting viewings, and the time it takes to get from agreeing an offer to completion.
There are different elements that affect these two timelines, and we’ll cover them both. Even whilst the property market often has a mind of its own, there are small things you can do to make the process quicker and easier.
How long does it take to sell in the UK?
How long properties take to get an offer is dependent on the market, and the type of property you have. Rightmove and other property portals are suggesting that whilst there’s a subtle slowdown and prices are gradually dropping, properties are still moving quite quickly. The demand for properties still outstrips availability, so you’ll find prices are still fairly high, and there may be quite a few viewings.
In terms of the speed of the process, our data for 2022 suggests that from agreeing a sale through to completion takes around 66 days. That includes hiring a conveyancer, getting surveys, searches being returned and all the back and forth between solicitors, buyers and sellers.
What impacts the time to sell?
Hanging around on portals
The number one thing that keeps properties listed on portals for too long is the price. Pricing too highly can not only mean you don’t get any interest but that potential buyers don’t even see your property listing. If they’ve put their budget in at £450,000 and you’re listed at £475,000, they’ll never see your property, even if you were willing to accept £450,000. Talk to your estate agent about pricing and do your own research too.
The type of property you have may also not be what people are going for right now. After the pandemic we found people moving towards more outside space, houses over flats and the potential for a garden office. But if your property isn’t in vogue right now, there are still things you can do.
What makes the process slow?
The process of selling your home can often depend on a few things, not only the market and interest, but how busy conveyancers, surveyors, mortgage lenders and the Land Registry are. During the Stamp Duty exemption in 2020, the number of people moving went through the roof, and conveyancers were snowed under with work. The Land Registry, who process searches on properties were then hugely behind and this slowed down sales.
The time of year can have an impact, for example people rushing to be in their new home before Christmas often puts extra pressure on the conveyancing process. If you’re selling in a busy market, there isn’t a huge amount to be done apart from keeping in touch with your conveyancer and trying to be one step ahead with all the admin tasks required of you.
How can I speed up my sale?
Whether it’s about getting that offer or getting to the finish line, we’ve got tips to help.
Getting an offer more quickly
Price appropriately. Look at similar properties in your area and match them. If they’ve been on the portal for a long time, they’re priced too highly, and you should go lower. Your estate agent will be able to advise.
Have a clear out and a freshen up before the photos are taken. Clearing your items will make moving easier down the line, and make rooms look bigger. Fresh paint, fixing broken items and just generally tidying will make a better impression on viewings.
Is your property energy efficient? Rightmove’s Green Homes Report found that properties with an EPC rating of B (the second highest score) were sold in an average of 30 days. Making some energy efficiency changes to your property and getting a new EPC could have an impact. Everyone wants a more affordable home when it comes to energy costs.
Getting through to completion more quickly
The best thing you can do is hire a conveyancing solicitor immediately, if not before you’ve accepted an offer. Getting the ball rolling with your conveyancing means you can get searches started as soon as possible (one of the main delays) and get all your admin and identity checks done.
Making sure you have the appropriate paperwork ready (proof of address, in date passport etc) as well as access to money in the accounts you may need can also speed up the process. If you’re just selling you won’t have to worry so much about readying a deposit, but if you’re in a chain, it’s worth being prepared way ahead of time.
If you’re not sure what to do during the process of selling your home, you can check out our moving home timeline, or our home selling checklist. Whether you’re selling and buying, selling to move into rented accommodation or selling an inherited or buy to let property, there are ways to make sure the process is smooth and swift.
Updated September 2022 by Andi Forsythe