How Soon Can You Sell a House after Buying It in the UK?

No law in the UK sets a minimum period of ownership before someone is permitted to sell a property. However, unless you can find a cash house buyer for your property, problems could arise when your buyer applies for a mortgage if you try to sell within six months of obtaining ownership.

Potential Delays When Trying to Sell a House Fast

If you buy a house and need to sell it soon after, you could encounter any of the following delays:

  • The six-month “rule” — many mortgage companies will not approve an application to purchase a property if the current owner bought it less than six months ago. This makes selling difficult unless you find a cash buyer. The six-month clock typically starts ticking once the property is registered in your name with the Land Registry, not on the day of completion.
  • Wary estate agents and buyers — if you market the property in a short period after buying it, this can act as a red flag for estate agents and buyers, both of whom will need reassuring there is no reason for this that could make a house sale problematic, such as the discovery of major structural defects on the property. If there is a negative reason associated with the property for why you want to sell, this could cause delays.
  • Setting an unrealistic asking price — unless there has been a sudden and significant change in the property market, setting a much higher asking price than you paid for the property just months ago will slow the sale down. Setting a realistic price from the first day of marketing can double your chances of finding a buyer.
  • Poor marketing — if you decide to sell via an estate agent, they should handle all the marketing. However, if they do a poor job, this will impact how visible your property is, how many viewings you get, and, therefore, how many opportunities to sell. If you’re not happy with the listings your estate agent creates, ask them to up their game or sell without an estate agent and manage the marketing yourself. 
  • Property chains — if your mortgage provider does not have a clause that requires you to stay in the property for at least six months before selling, or if you’re past the six-month mark, you can accept any offer you choose. However, if your buyer is in a property chain — their purchase of your house relies on multiple house sales — this can cause significant delays to the sales process.
  • Major structural issues — if you want to sell your house fast because there are serious issues with the property, this could make it harder to find a buyer. Perhaps you bought the property intending to renovate it and underestimated the work involved? Or maybe your circumstances have changed, and completing these works is no longer financially viable? Whatever your situation, if you know that a survey will show major structural issues, it will take longer to find a buyer. 
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Why Might Someone Want to Sell a House Straight after Buying It?

For most people, buying a house is a huge financial and emotional commitment, one that they do not enter into lightly. The process of an on-market house sale can be stressful and time-consuming. So, why would anyone want to sell a house as soon as ownership has been transferred to them?

There are many reasons why a homeowner might need a quick house sale as soon after buying as possible:

  • They have inherited a property they do not want or cannot keep.
  • They are an investor who has “flipped” a property for profit.
  • A sudden change in personal circumstances, such as a death, ill-health or the breakdown of a relationship.
  • Something about the property is revealed after purchase that was unexpected, for example, problem neighbours or difficulties obtaining planning permission.
Need to sell your house fast? Talk to us today to find out more about a quick cash sale to House Buyer Bureau.

 

The Costs of Selling Your House Soon after Buying It

You may incur extra selling costs if you decide to move on soon after buying. 

Early repayment fees. Many mortgage lenders impose an early repayment charge (ERC) if you switch to a different provider before the end of your fixed term. The ERC is usually a percentage of the overall mortgage amount and decreases each year of the fixed-rate deal. For example, you may be liable to pay 3% of the total loan amount if you leave with three years left on the deal and 1% if you end the loan with just a year left to run. Check your mortgage agreement to find out if an ERC is applicable.

Buyer wariness. If a buyer knows that you have only recently bought the property, they may be wary about your reasons for selling — is there something wrong with the house that is not immediately apparent? Are the neighbours a nightmare? As a result, buyers may be more prone to negotiating the price down or looking for any small reason to do so for fear of hidden expenses they will have to cover later.

Moving costs. According to a recent survey by MoneySuperMarket, the average cost of moving house in Britain increased by 12% in 2021, from £671 to £748. If you move twice within a year, that’s quite a hit to your bank balance. 

Capital gains tax. If the property you want to sell is not your primary residence or was purchased as a buy-to-let, capital gains tax may be due on any increase in value since you purchased it. Read our blog, “What Are the Taxes on Selling a House?” to learn more.

How Soon Can I Sell My House FAQs

A. There is no legal reason why you cannot sell your house immediately after becoming the registered owner. However, if you bought your house with a mortgage, there may be a clause in your loan agreement prohibiting you from selling within six months of buying.
A. Spring (February to June) is considered the best time to sell, while the pre-Christmas period (November to December) is typically one of the hardest times to sell a house fast.
A. Recent research shows that, on average, British homeowners stay in the same property for 23 years before moving on.
A. If you need to move soon after buying, there’s no reason why this has to be problematic. However, you may need to convince potential buyers that there is nothing seriously wrong with the property or the area, and if there is a “six-month” clause in your mortgage loan agreement, selling fast may not be straightforward.
If you need to sell your house fast, contact us to discuss your options. We have the funds to buy your property for cash in as little as seven days.

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