How Long Does It Take to Sell A House?

How long does it take to sell a house?  Here at Property Saviour, we get asked this a lot. 

It depends on pricing of your property, whether you have selected a competent estate agent, your property’s condition as properties in poor condition can be unmortgageable, does your buyer needs to sell their property and are in a property chain?  It could take at least three months if your buyer is chain free, has finance in place, mortgage lender’s survey comes back all okay and both of your solicitors are efficient.  But what happens if you need to sell your property now?

Ideally you need a genuine cash buyer who does not have a property to sell and not nervous first time buyers whose solicitor will tell them not to buy your property because of a hairline crack spotted by surveyor on their RICS valuation report.

In this blog we will look at what does selling a house process involve helping you better understand how long it might take to sell your house.  So let’s cover what does selling a house process involve?

Let’s talk about a scenario that is based on true events but we have changed the name of the agent.  Tom is our fictitious estate agent, happy go lucky, a hustler or a trier. We’d bet that you know an estate agent just like Tom with a good heart, somewhat naive, disorganised and too busy hustling to think about what’s best for his clients.

Before we talk about Tom’s method of selling a house, do you know the reasons that prevent sale of any property?

1. Time on the market

So, you have decided to sell, you contact 3 estate agents who have give you their opinion.  You choose an agent call Tom.  Tom is a fictional character of course.  Tom was very well presented with pointy shoes and a sharp suit.

You want to instruct Tom, but his fee seems high at 2% and you start to negotiate.  Tom immediately drops his fee to 0.75%.  WOW! You feel you have won.

You instruct Tom, and he put your house on the market.  Later, you realise that you didn’t ask how long it might take to get an offer?  You call Tom after 5pm but his phone goes to voicemail.

You call his estate agency next day, and a woman in the office tells you Tom only works Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  She puts you through and Tom asks you how long is a piece of string?  You feel confused and end the call.  You are stuck with Tom now as you signed a 12-week contract with him.

You get request for viewings from potential buyers.  They all work during the day and can only view on evenings or weekends.  Tom asks you to show them around as he does not work evenings or weekends.

If you aren’t so lucky with viewings, you might want to watch our video on why is my house not selling?

On one viewing, you get asked ‘what is lowest price you’d take for this house?’ and you felt in an awkward position of being put in a spot.  You aren’t a negotiator.  You’d hope your estate agent would be doing this, but he’s left you on your own.

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2. Receive an offer

You’ve now received an offer on your property after several viewings.  But it is not quite what you hoped for, and the buyer needs to get a mortgage.  If your property needs work, the buyer might not qualify for the mortgage.  At this stage, Tom should have checked that buyers have their deposit in place and a mortgage offer in principle.

3. Mortgage offer

You’ve waited for several weeks now for this moment. Your buyer has been accepted for the mortgage and now the bank has instructed a surveyor to check that property is suitable for lending. This is when most sales collapse because of something a surveyor may flag up in their report and suddenly your property has got a problem. Or your buyer now wants to lower their offer because the house needs a new kitchen?

You recall when Tom discussed his fee, you negotiated him down and felt that it was easy.

Tom is a poor negotiator, and you know it. You buyer now wants to knock tens of thousands of pounds off the asking price. Tom was a push over during your fee negotiation so why would he negotiate now?

You are now on your own once again. You reluctantly negotiate a new price with your buyer and move on to next stage.

All Tom has did is forwarded you an offer. He doesn’t bother with checking proof of deposit. To be honest, most agents don’t. What if they are first time buyers and must borrow money from their mum and dad?

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Sarah sold her rural tenanted property

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4. Property Chain

Tom never checked if buyer had a property to sell.  It seems that they have a one-bedroom flat that must be sold to buy your 3-bed house.  Tom is excited to sell their flat.  You now must wait for their property to go under offer and hope that someone buys it.  If nobody buys their property, you won’t be to sells yours.  It is frustrating wait and not knowing what to do.  You’ve paid for your solicitors’ fees, and risk end up losing this money if buyers change their mind, can’t get a mortgage, or can’t sell their home – all possibilities that are outside of your control.

If you need certainty of a quick sale, then Property Saviour can make you a genuine cash offer.

5. Searches

Buyer was told by his solicitor not to order searches until mortgage survey was completed. He paid for searches and the local authority search took 8 weeks to come through as council uses Covid-19 as an excuse do the bare minimum.

His solicitor should have been raising enquiries but since your solicitor never sent him the Property Information Pack, it never crossed his mind. Solicitors often require constantly reminding and even then, they take their time and send enquiries by post when they have access to emails at work!

You are relieved to learn that searches have come back all OK and most important the flood risk report is all clear.

Tom tells you that your buyer has accepted an offer, but it will be another couple of months before they can buy your house.

6. Enquiries

Buyers’ solicitor constantly raises enquiry after enquiry.  This confuses your solicitor, and some enquiries remain unanswered.  They are asking for building regulation certificate for the conservatory that was installed by your previous owners, and you do not have this certificate.  A couple more weeks go by, and your solicitor tells you that buyer wants you to buy insurance which covers the missing certificate.  You agree to pay for it as you are fed up and want to get the sale completed as soon as possible.


7. Completion date

After several months of agonising delay, frustration and dealing with what appears to be incompetent estate agent and solicitors, a date has been agreed for completion date.  You have done it.  You note that it at 3pm on a Friday.  But you could never get hold of your solicitor on a Friday.  You suspect he never returns after a long lunch or perhaps buried under all due completions on a Friday!

You get a call from Tom telling you that completion has taken place and you can now handover keys to your new buyers!

If you can’t wait to sell and need certainty, then call us on 0113 320 6700 or fill in enquiry form on our website.  We indemnify searches and use efficient solicitors who value that timing is of essence.  We will make you a cash offer, pay your legal fees of up to £1,500 and complete within 10 days or at a timescale that suits your needs.  Don’t suffer on your own, call us now.

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