If you are thinking of selling your house, it is essential to have a realistic idea of how long the process is likely to take. The answer to the question ‘how long does a house sale take’ is not straightforward as many factors, including the type of property, the current state of the market, the property chain and even the time of year, influence the timescales.

how long to sell a house?

We look at the average times to sell a home and what you can do to speed up the process.

How long does it take to get an offer accepted?

Across the UK property market, the average time a property remains on the market after being listed is two to three months.

Properties listed with Robert Holmes & Co beat the national average, spending between three and four weeks on the market. In a seller’s market – where demand outstrips supply – the time spent on the market can fall to as little as one day. However, when a property is perfect for a particular buyer, it can spend longer on the market.

If your home has been on the market for a long time, discuss with your estate agent how you could boost its appeal. It may be time to consider switching to a more effective local estate agent.

How long does it take to sell a house once an offer has been accepted?

Expect the time from offer acceptance to completion to be around 12 weeks.

Offer acceptance to exchange of contracts

The most complex part of the process is getting from offer acceptance to exchange of contracts. How long this takes depends on many factors, including:

  • the response time of local authorities to the searches
  • how busy the conveyancing solicitors are
  • the speed of the mortgage lenders
  • the availability and proactiveness of the other buyers and sellers

Timescale: 9 weeks

Exchange of contracts to completion

It is sensible to allow around three weeks from the exchange of contracts to the completion date. This allows all parties sufficient time to prepare for moving.

Timescale: 3 weeks

exchange of contracts

What is the best month to sell a house quickly?

There isn’t really a ‘best’ month to sell a house as people need to move house at every time of the year for work, family or financial reasons.

To sell your property quickly and for the best possible price, it is beneficial to come to the market when there is the greatest number of buyers looking for a property like yours. We find that different types of property sell best a different times of the year according to the type of buyer you are targeting.

best time of year to sell a house

Traditionally, Spring is considered the best time to sell a house quickly, with March the best month to go to market. Late September and October often have many prospective buyers as people are back from their summer holidays but haven’t yet started planning for Christmas.

Winter and Summer typically have the fewest buyers. Many people head off on their summer holiday in July and August, and parents prefer to avoid viewing houses with their kids in tow. November and December are dominated by Christmas preparations resulting in fewer potential buyers coming for viewings. However, the buyers that are present are more serious about finding a new home.

What affects the length of time to sell a house?

There is often no logical reason why some houses sell quickly and others do not. In some cases, it is purely down to luck that a keen buyer was looking at the point in time your home went on the market.

Market conditions have a major impact on how quickly your home will sell. In a hot market, where there are more buyers than sellers, homes sell quickly and bidding wars are common. In a cold market with few buyers, expect to price your home very competitively if you want a quick sale.

length of time to sell a house

Getting stuck in a chain can add weeks or months to the speed of your sale. This can happen if your buyer is struggling to sell their property. Similarly, if you are buying a property, you may be struggling to find a new home, or your vendor may be stuck in an onward chain. Property chains can also fall through, putting everyone back at square one.

The main factor that affects the time it takes to sell is price. Price your property too high, and it won’t appear on buyers’ online searches, resulting in fewer viewings.

How can I speed up my house sale?

The secret to a quick sale is to attract as many potential buyers as possible. There are two main ways to do this.

1 Prepare your home for sale – Properties that appear clean and spacious attract the most buyers. Before you put your home on the market, have a clear-out and make sure everything is sparkling clean.

2 Hire an experienced local estate agent – Setting the right price is the single most significant factor in securing a quick sale. An experienced local estate agent will accurately value your home and ensure it is marketed effectively. They will also conduct viewings for you and help you negotiate when you receive an offer.

Once you have offers on the table, your decisions can influence the speed of your sale:

  • Favour chain free buyers who can buy your property without the need to sell one. Cash buyers can move even quicker as they won’t have to wait to receive a mortgage offer.
  • Choose an experienced and proactive conveyancer and start the legal work early.
  • Be proactive and responsive throughout.

Selling a house – how long does it take?

Hopefully this article goes some way to answering the tricky question of ‘how long will it take to sell my house?’. Many factors influence the process, from the type of property and number of motivated buyers to the skill of your estate agent and conveyancer. On average though, expect it to take around four months to sell your house with Robert Holmes. It will typically take one month to receive an offer you are happy with and around three months to complete the legal process.

If you have a property to sell in Wimbledon or the surrounding area, get in touch today.

About the author

Nicolas Holmes

Nick joined Robert Holmes to inject fresh ideas and help grow the New Homes department of Robert Holmes as well as helping to inject technology into the business and to grow its client base. Together with one of the Directors Nick is in charge of all Development opportunities that Robert Holmes deals with along with sales. Aged 40, he provides succession together with the two existing directors. Nick has always been focused on building client relationships and sales. He built up his own gallery in Chelsea, where he had a loyal following of customers and artists.

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