How Long Does It Take to Sell a House?

When you’re selling your property, you’re focusing on the future and are eager to sell quickly and find your next dream property.

You want to find your ideal buyer, achieve your property’s asking price and for the process to be as straightforward as possible. This is especially the case if you have a family to take care of, you’re relocating to the Bath, Bradford-on-Avon or Somerset area or simply want to change your pace of life.

For this reason, one of the most common questions our clients ask is “How long does it take to sell a house?”

Although most homes will be listed and the sale completed within six months, the average time to sell a house can vary, depending on a variety of factors including seasonal trends, location, condition, whether or not there’s a chain and how long the conveyancing process takes once you’ve accepted an offer.

In this article, we will explain the average time it takes to sell a home and look in further detail at the factors that can influence this.

What’s the average time to sell a house in the UK?

The average home in the UK takes around six months to sell between the moment it’s listed until the date of completion.

However, given the fact that each home is unique and there are a variety of factors involved, the time it will take to sell your house could be significantly longer or even shorter.

For example, the recent stamp duty holiday meant that buyers were rushing to complete the sale before the deadline so sales were completed much faster than the average.

Additionally, during COVID, the housing market accelerated as more buyers looked to move from hectic cities such as London to the peace and calm of locations like Bath, Somerset and Bradford-on-Avon and many homeowners sold faster than they otherwise would.

How fast you will sell your home also depends on how efficient and proactive your estate agents are in selling your property, chasing buyers and conducting the necessary conveyancing before the sale goes through, in addition to the following:

  • Local housing market– How hot or cold the market is in the area you’re selling will affect how quickly your sale goes through.
  • Seasonal trends– At certain times of the year, it is more likely that people will be away on holiday or prefer to wait to buy their dream property. This could lead to delays in selling your home.
  • Size and condition of the property– If your home is smaller or larger than average or in a poor condition, it could take longer to sell.
  • The price of your home– Overpriced homes attract less interest and fewer viewings.
  • Whether the buyer needs a mortgage– It can take several weeks to apply for and be granted a mortgage. This can cause further delays.
  • How quickly the buyer wants to move-  Sometimes, buyers drag their feet when making an offer on a house or don’t proceed as quickly as you might like.
  • Buyer selling a house too– If your buyer needs to find a buyer for their own property, there could be delays.
  • The length of the chain– The longer the chain, the longer it’s likely to take to sell.
  • Condition of neighbouring properties– When neighbouring properties are in a poor condition, your property is less likely to attract interest from prospective buyers.

What are the stages of the house-selling process and how long do they take?

When you’re considering how long it takes to sell a house, you need to bear in mind that there are four stages you’ll need to proceed through, from listing your property with Cobb Farr to exchanging contracts and completing the sale.

Listing your property

Average time: 1-3 days

After you decide to sell your property with our friendly, trusted estate agents at Cobb Farr, we will discuss and then agree upon your bespoke commission structure, depending on your unique property and the circumstances of the sale.

Once complete, we will visit your property to take professional photographs to show your property in its best light and create your detailed property listing. We also offer a bespoke brochure creation service that provides potential buyers with a true insight into the character of your home and can help sell your home faster.

Receiving an offer

Average time: 5 -14 weeks

Once your home is listed, we will be working hard behind the scenes to ensure you find a buyer. We’ll use our property sales expertise alongside our local property market insight to answer any questions the prospective buyer might have and encourage them to make an offer.

Again, this can take anywhere between a few weeks or a few months, depending on how hot or cold the local market is, the price and condition of your home and the time of year.

The conveyancing and mortgage application process

Average 12 – 16 weeks

If you choose to accept an offer, the conveyancing process starts- the legal transfer of your property to the buyers. This is often the longest stage as the buyers’ solicitor needs to conduct searches on your property including local authority, environmental, water and drainage and Land Registry Searches.

These check whether there are any potential issues with your property or the surrounding area including planned works or those already underway on roads, nearby buildings and railways, potential hazards such as flooding, landslide and subsidence risks, where the public sewer and drains are and any other potential problems.

They will also conduct a Land Registry that proves that you do indeed legally own the property you’re selling.

The cost of this is usually covered by your buyer, although you will also need to have a dependable solicitor who can help answer questions and move the sale forward. At the same time, the buyer is likely to be arranging their mortgage on your property, unless they already applied beforehand. This usually takes around four weeks.

Exchange to completion

Average time 1-28 days

This is the point when the exchange of contracts happens and the sale of your property becomes legally binding. If your buyer backs out now, they will lose 10% of the purchase price.

Once the sale is completed, the buyer becomes the legal owner and can move in whenever they wish. This usually happens quickly as most of the work has been done, but can take longer if there is a long property chain.

What can delay a house sale?

Even after the offer has been accepted, there’s no guarantee that your home will sell. As we mentioned earlier, the process can be long and frustrating, so it’s a good idea to remain patient and allow plenty of time.

Some potential delays can include:

  • A broken chain– If your buyer is part of a chain and there are problems or delays, the sale could take longer to proceed or the buyer could even withdraw their offer.
  • The buyer withdraws their offer– Unfortunately, potential buyers can and sometimes do change their minds about a property or their circumstances change and they withdraw their offer.
  • Delays with conveyancer or solicitor- This can be frustrating, which is why it pays to choose your professionals carefully.
  • Search delays– The buyer’s solicitor needs to wait for the Land Registry and local authority search results. This can take time, especially if the local authority has a heavy workload or additional problems.
  • Survey problems– Your buyer may have a survey conducted to check that everything is as it should be. If they do identify any problems, they may ask that they be fixed or that you reduce your asking price before proceeding with the sale. This will affect how long it takes to sell your home.
  • Mortgage delays– if your buyer has arranged their mortgage in principle beforehand, the sale shouldn’t be delayed. Otherwise, the process can take around four weeks.

Summary- How long does it take to sell a house in the UK?

Although there is no definitive answer, it usually takes around six months to sell a house. This can vary according to a variety of factors including how hot the property market is, the size and condition of your property, the location, how quickly your buyer acts and how quickly the relevant searches, paperwork and mortgage application process is completed.

If you’d like to sell your home in Bath, Bradford-on-Avon with a team of trusted experts with over 25 years of local experience and professional insight, contact us today.

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