According to property portal Rightmove, in 2022 it takes 150 days – or around 5 months – on average, to reach completion date once a sale is agreed on your home. Or to put it another way, 50 days longer than it took for the same process in 2019. This is thanks to a backlog in the conveyancing process caused by the buying frenzy of the post lockdown, stamp duty holiday era, with delays set to continue until the end of the year.
Of course, this is just an estimate, and when you are trying to sell your home, top of the list of frustrations (although timewasters, AWOL conveyancers and pricey estate agent fees come close!) is the uncertainty as to how long each part of the sales process will actually take. This is particularly the case when the purchase of a new property is dependent on the timescales for your own home sale.
So that you can plan the timeframes for your move a little more clearly, in this article we consider the difference stages of the sale process and how long they are likely to take, the factors which have the most impact on how long it takes to sell your home and tips for selling your home as quickly as possible.
How long does each step take?
According to the data driven chain management tool, View My Chain, the average times for the various stages of buying and selling a home are as follows.
|Receiving a mortgage in principle||Generally, 24 hours|
|The average time from your property listing going live to an offer being accepted||Around 10 weeks|
|The time between accepting an offer on your property to initial searches being ordered by conveyancers||36 days|
|Arranging your mortgage (to take place during the conveyancing process)||Approximately 3-6 weeks|
|Searches being ordered by conveyancers to exchange of contracts||58 days|
|Exchanging contracts to completion||0 to 4 weeks (taking into account those sales where exchange and completion happen on the same day)
|Total time from listing your property to completing the sale||Around 6 months|
Which factors have the most impact on how long it takes to sell your home?
It probably goes without saying, but the more attractive your property and the more suitable it is for the target market in your area, the more likely it will be to sell quickly. If you have a smart, one or two-bedroom property with all the mod cons in a city, this will certainly appeal to young professionals taking their first step on the property ladder, and similarly, a larger three or four-bedroom home with spacious garden and living space in an area with good schools and local amenities will be very popular with families.
When a property is more bespoke – whether it is very large and will cost a lot to maintain or is architecturally unique in a particularly ‘marmite’ way – it may take longer to sell since there will be less buyers in the market for the type of home you are offering.
It also isn’t all about location, location, location for nothing. If you live in an area where properties are flying off the shelves to the extent that you can even get a bit cheeky with the asking price, you are always going to sell more quickly than you would in an area where supply outstrips demand. According to property portal Zoopla, the twenty UK locations where properties are selling most quickly in 2022 are as follows.
|Local authority||Region||Time on the market (full days)|
|Test Valley||South East||14|
|South Gloucestershire||South West||15|
|Basingstoke and Deane||South East||16|
|Nuneaton and Bedworth||West Midlands||16|
|Neath Port Talbot||Wales||17|
Tips for selling your home as quickly as possible
Whilst you cannot change the housing market, or the location of your property, if time is of the essence and you want or need to sell your home as quickly as possible and buy another, consider these suggestions below to really get the ball rolling.
- Make sure your finances are in order early on – Before you make a serious offer, have all your ducks in a row so the mortgage (or remortgage) process is as speedy and plain sailing as possible. Sign up to a credit score agency like Experian around 6-12 months before you plan to buy if possible, so you have chance to boost your credit rating if needed.
- Get a mortgage agreement in principle – Some estate agents require a mortgage in principle before they advise their sellers to accept an offer price to ensure you are a serious buyer and have the funds to proceed.
- Have a conveyancing solicitor in place – Do you research on the best local conveyancers when you start looking at new homes and/or first decide to put your home on the market so that you can instruct them as soon as any offers have been accepted.
- Apply for a mortgage – It can take 3-6 weeks to receive your mortgage offer once you have applied so don’t leave it too long to do so and have your paperwork ready and waiting. However, a mortgage offer will only be valid for a certain period (usually 3-6 months), so don’t submit an application until you have had an offer accepted on a property.
- Communicate with your buyer and seller in a timely manner – Make sure you keep in contact with your own conveyancer and those working for your buyer and/or vendor. Respond to any queries as soon as you can to keep delays to a minimum and encourage the same responsiveness from others.
- Don’t wait too long to arrange your survey – If you are buying a property, you will want to make sure that you arrange a survey for said property sooner rather than later so that an expert can confirm the condition of the property for you. Always make sure you have the results of the survey before you exchange contracts as this makes your offer legally binding. If there are any unexpected results, you may wish to renegotiate your offer, or in some cases, walk away from the sale entirely.
- Arrange your building insurance – This needs to be done before you exchange contracts and will usually be a condition of your mortgage loan too, so don’t let the mortgage and therefore the whole sale fall through because you don’t have insurance in time.
- Confirm your completion date – Once your mortgage is in place and the survey and search results are back, you can start to think about exchanging contracts. Before you do though, make sure you have a mutually convenient completion date in mind as this will be included in the contract. You may need to be flexible to get the sale over the line, so consider putting your belongings in storage or moving into a short-term rental property if needed.
- Be ready for moving day – Once you know the completion date, you should make sure you have a removals company in place and, if necessary, storage arranged. Removals companies can book up very quickly, so do some research about local companies even before contracts have been exchanged and ask about their availability for the coming months.