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How Long Does It Take to Sell a House in the UK?

Calendar with sell house written


Selling a house on the open market can be a frustrating and lengthy process. According to The Advisory’s “Time to Sell” benchmark study, the average time to sell a house in the UK, from the first day of marketing to completion, was 18 weeks in 2019. Some homeowners can be left waiting for much longer if their property is in an unpopular location, needs extensive work or is an unusual building. Almost half of all house sales fail before completion, leaving the sellers to start the process all over again. 


So what factors affect how quickly a house sells and how can you speed up the process?


Reasons Your House Is Not Selling


The asking price is too high. The Advisory’s study found that overvaluing a property is the top reason a house does not sell. Furthermore, if the asking price is too high and subsequently reduced, this may add months to the time it takes to sell. An overpriced property will attract fewer viewings, which means fewer chances to sell.


Poor marketing. Many people start their property search online. If an advert does not include images or the photographs used are of poor quality, there’s a good chance potential buyers will swipe on by. Equally, ads that lack sufficient detail or are not well-written will fail to attract attention. Homeowners who choose not to erect a “for sale” board could also miss out on passing trade. 


Market heat. Properties are easier to sell in a “hot” market and sale prices are typically higher than those achieved in a “cold” market. Recent political turmoil and uncertainty over Brexit resulted in some industry professionals predicting a decidedly “cooler” property market in 2019. However, house prices did, in fact, increase slightly and there is optimism that the market will heat up after Britain leaves the EU.


Ineffective estate agent. There is a wide range of estate agents to choose from on the high-street and online. However, not all agents work to the same standards. If your agent is not sufficiently pro-active, this will impact the number of viewings booked and consequently, the time your property takes to sell. 


Poor presentation. Properties that are untidy, cluttered and uncared for will lack the necessary curb appeal to attract offers. Externally and internally poorly presented houses are off-putting to buyers and can give the impression a lot of work is required to make the property habitable.


How to Sell Your House Quickly


If your home is taking a long time to sell, there are some steps you can take to increase the chances of a sale. If your house is not yet on the market, consider these factors before you start to advertise.


Set a fair asking price. Obtain several valuations from a few estate agents. Don’t simply go with the highest offer — some agents are inclined to overvalue a property in a bid to get your business. Research the recent sale prices of similar properties and look at those that have been on the market for a long time to gauge what is a realistic asking price. 


Take the time to market the property well. Consider who is most likely to be interested in buying your home — families, young professionals, retired couples? Highlight the features and local amenities that will appeal to the target audience. Make sure your estate agent takes high-quality photographs that show the property in its best light. If you’re selling without an agent, consider hiring a professional photographer. 


Time it right. There is little you can do to control market heat. However, if properties are moving slowly and not attracting high prices, you might consider waiting until the market improves before advertising your home. If a speedy sale is needed, a house buying service such as the House Buyer Bureau can provide a guaranteed fast sale in any market. Once a firm offer has been made and accepted, the funds can be in your account in as little as seven days.


Choose an estate agent with care. Ask friends and family for recommendations and check out the types of property the agency sells. If you have an estate agent and they don’t seem to be pulling their weight, consider switching to a different agency. Alternatively, manage the sale yourself. No rule says a seller must use an estate agent.


Declutter, tidy and repair. Take the time to complete any minor repairs that make the property look untidy, such as broken door handles and peeling paint. Make sure the house is tidy and free of clutter for viewings. Spending a little time and money sprucing up a property will pay off when potential buyers view your home.


Consider selling to a house buying service. This is the fastest way to sell a property. There are no estate agent fees to pay and completion can occur in as little as a week after a firm offer is accepted. The sale price will be less than the property’s market value, but when the price achieved through a traditional sale is compared to that of a cash sale, the difference is less than you might think


House Buyer Bureau is the UK’s favourite house buying service. We buy all types of property in any condition or location. Complete our 60-second cash enquiry form and we’ll be in touch with a cash offer in principle.