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How long does it take to sell a house through each sales method?

We explain each process to help you choose...

Here at The Property Buying Company, we mainly have one core offering, our Sell House Fast service. This service differs from the typical house sale process through an estate agent or auction.

The question is though, how long does it take to sell a house on the open market, through auction or through part exchange compared to our sell house fast service? In this article, you will find out how long it will take to sell a house through each method, as well as what our sell house fast service is and whether it’s the right option for you.

How long does it take to sell a house?

The length of time taken for you to sell your house will be different depending on the sales method you have chosen to use. It will also differ depending on the market conditions, the number of people in the chain and how busy your chosen conveyancer is.

However, on average, on the open market it takes around 129 days which is just under 5 months. This is a long time to be sat around waiting, especially if you’ve found your onward purchase.

You can cut down the amount of time it takes to sell a house by exploring different selling methods beyond the open market, which we will help you explore now…

We can provide you with a no obligation cash offer in 24 hours!

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Selling on the open market

Although selling on the open market is the most common method of sale, it’s still something that not everyone is familiar with. Let’s break down selling on the open market, including how long you can expect each stage to take.

  • Choosing an estate agent

    To start the process off, you will need to decide which estate agent you would like to market your property with. Generally, you will invite two or three estate agents to look around your property and come up with a valuation.

    After that, you will need to choose which estate agent you feel you want to sell with. Whilst it’s tempting to go for the estate agent who has given you the highest valuation, it’s important to pick the agent you feel will offer the most for your property, in terms of finding buyers and marketing.

    This stage can take up to a few weeks.

  • Preparing your property

    Next, you will need to prepare your property for the market. This includes organising photographs, an EPC and allowing the estate agents to create a floorplan. This will then mean a listing for your property can be created on the best property selling websites, which will attract buyers to want to view your property.

    This part of the process can take a few weeks to a month.

  • Viewings

    After your house has been put officially ‘on the market’, it’s time for interested parties to get in touch with your estate agent to arrange viewings. Your estate agent may offer to handle the viewings for you, or you can do them yourself, it’s completely up to you.

    It’s very rare that the first person to view your house will put an offer in and buy your house, and it generally takes up to 14 weeks, with the chance that it could take longer.

    Also, generally, people who are serious about putting an offer in will have more than one viewing, with some having up to 4 viewings before submitting their offer.

  • Accepting an offer to property searches

    Once someone has submitted an offer that you have accepted, the conveyancing process can begin. This is the legal procedure that gets your property from under offer to sold and completed and is normally the longest part of the whole selling house process.

    The property searches will be conducted to check there are no serious issues with your house which may lead to the process falling through, or the buyer wanting to renegotiate on price. This stage can take around 5 weeks.

  • Searches to exchange

    Once the searches have been ordered it can take around 8 weeks from them being completed to the paperwork being put in order ready for exchange. The exchange of contracts is the part of the process where the deal becomes legally binding, so it’s a good idea to exchange as soon as you can to stop the sale from falling through.

    Although the sale can still fall through after exchange, it’s very rare as there are financial consequences for whichever party decides to pull out.

  • Exchange to completion

    Once contracts have been exchanged, the only thing left for you to do is arrange removals, pack up and complete. Completion day is the day where you will drop off the keys and move out of the property, once the money for the sale, minus the fees, has been transferred into your bank.

    The length of time taken from exchange and completion will be up to you but it’s normally no more than 4 weeks unless you’ve decided to have a delayed completion, which can lead to completion being delayed from anywhere between a few months to a year.


Whilst on the open market you may be able to get more for your property when compared to other methods, it is the most time-consuming and lengthy way to sell your property, with some people having to wait on the open market for well over a year.

You will also have to trust your estate agent to get you the best possible price and for them to push both your and your buyers’ conveyancers along, to try to make the process run as smooth as possible.

As well as the long process, you’re also hit with lots of fees to pay, such as estate agent fees or legal fees, which will be a large chunk of money out of the sold price, leaving you with a lot less than you originally thought.

Selling through auction

Selling a house through auction is a less popular sales method, which means you may overlook it, when in reality it may be the correct option for you.

Generally speaking, a sale through auction should be faster than selling on the open market, but you will have to be prepared to get a lower price.

  • Picking you auctioneer

    Similar to picking an estate agent when selling on the open market, the first stage of the process when selling at auction is to pick which auctioneer/auction house you want to sell with.

    Picking a more well-known auction house will be more expensive but will mean they will do most of the work for you and will have a good reputation, meaning they’re more likely to attract good, serious buyers.

  • Setting the price

    Once you’ve picked your auctioneer, you will need to agree on a price with them. You will normally set a reserve price, which is the price that must be met at the auction for your property to sell but won’t be the price your property starts at.

    Generally, the starting price for your property will be fairly low in order to drum up interest and cause a potential bidding war.

  • Before the auction – preparation

    Before the auction takes place, you will need to prepare your property for photos and your open house. You will also need to appoint a solicitor who will take control of the conveyancing process, as once the auction begins, the process moves very quickly, with completion normally coming 28 days after the auction.

    You will also need to make sure you register your house for marketing, to make sure it’s included in the auction house’s brochure and on relevant property websites.

  • Before the auction – open house

    Also before the auction, you will have to host at least one open house. This gives the potential buyers who will be at the auction the chance to view your property to decide whether it’s something they would like to bid on.

    This step is very important, as no buyer will want to spend a big sum of money on a house that they have never seen themselves ‘in person’.

  • Auction day

    On the day of the auction, bidders will place bids on your property, with the hope that there will be a bidding war, pushing the sold price up. The property will then be sold to the highest bidder, who will put their deposit down, allowing for exchange of contracts to happen on the auction day.

  • After the auction

    After the auction, the buyer has 28 days to complete on the sale. If they don’t complete within the time frame, they will incur a financial penalty. If your house didn’t sell at the auction, you may get post-auction offers, or you have the opportunity to negotiate with the last bidder who didn’t quite meet the reserve price.


Although auction will be a quicker method than selling on the open market, it still won’t be the fastest method. It can still take 3 to 4 months to sell your property at auction, and you will get a much lower price for your property than you may have wanted.

You will also have a big chunk of the money taken away for fees, such as paying the auctioneer, room hire and marketing costs. There are also no guarantees you will be able to sell your house at auction – as you have to set a reserve price, if it’s not met then your property won’t be sold.

Selling through part exchange

If you’re wanting to get a new build property for your onward purchase, then part exchange could be your way to get you a quick house sale. With part exchange, you remove the worries about being in a long chain, but you will have to be willing to accept that your property will be valued at lower than the market value.

  • Eligibility assessment

    The first step in the part exchange process is for the developer to decide whether your property is eligible to take part in the scheme. You will have to fill out a form and answer some questions to help the developer to decide whether it’s something they would be interested in.

    You will also be asked to state which of the developments that you’re interested in, as not every property will be eligible for part exchange, meaning there are two criteria points you will need to meet before you are passed as eligible for the scheme.

  • House valuation 

    Next, the developer will ask two or three independent estate agents to view your property to check its condition and also to provide the developer with a rough valuation as to what the property is worth. This valuation will be lower than what you would expect to market the property at on the open market, as it’s based on a ‘sold price’ rather than an ‘asking price’.

  • Provisional offer

    You will then receive an offer from the developer, which will be based on a survey. It’s normally quite hard to negotiate on this price and once you have accepted the offer, you’re able to move forward with the process.

  • Reservation fee

    Once you have accepted the provisional offer, you will be asked to put down a reservation fee, to show your commitment to the property. This amount will normally get taken off the total price of the property once you complete. It may also not be refundable, should you pull out the sale, so it’s worth questioning this with your developer.

  • Survey of your property

    The next step will be the developer organising for a survey to be taken out on your property. This survey will check that your property is structurally sound and there are no major faults that may put the developer off buying your property.

    Once this survey has been completed, the developer will confirm their offer with you and, if you accept, the conveyancing process can begin.

  • Conveyancing process

    Just like selling on the open market, the conveyancing process will take place once you and your developer have agreed on an offer. This part of the process will take around 6 to 8 weeks and you will be responsible for paying for the legal fees incurred.

  • Exchange

    Once conveyancing comes to the final stages, you will exchange contracts and place a deposit. It will then be a matter of time before completion, with some cases leading you to have a ‘delayed completion’ as the house will need to be built.

  • Completion and property handover

    Once the completion day comes, it’s time to collect the keys to your new property and also hand over the keys from the property you have just moved out of. You will have to leave your property in a suitable condition to the developer’s satisfaction.


Whilst part exchange is a great way to get a ‘discount’ off a new build, using your current property as part payment, it’s only suitable for those who are wanting to get a new build property. Also, in some cases, not all new builds on the development are eligible for part exchange, as well as the chance that the developer decides your current property isn’t eligible either.

Your current property must also be worth less than 70% of the value of the new build and you will be offered a lot less than the market value for your property. You will also still have legal fees to pay, leaving you with even less than you may have initially wanted.

Also, whilst on the face of it part exchange seems like a quick way to sell your property, there may be issues with the build of your new build property, causing a delayed completion – with some completions being delayed by up to a year, if not longer.

Selling to a sell house fast company

Selling using our sell house fast service is going to be the quickest and most stress-free way to sell your property, as we will handle the whole process for you, all whilst covering your fees.

Using our sell house fast service may not be the right option for everyone, but it will help you to get a quick sale for your property, with no fees to pay and cash in your bank.

The service boils down to 5 easy to follow steps…

How the sell house fast service works

  • Eligibility check

    Enter your postcode into our get an offer page and answer a few simple questions about your property – how many bedrooms you’ve got, your property type, nothing too difficult! After that, we will let you know if your property has been approved.

  • Receive your offer

    Once we’ve approved your property, one of our experienced property consultants will give you a call after doing some research on your property. They will discuss your property in more detail with you, with the main focus on its condition, allowing them to provide you with a conditional initial offer.

  • Property visit & formalise the offer

    If you’re happy with the initial offer, we’ll arrange for one of our regional managers to come and visit your property in person. Our regional managers have expert local knowledge and are able to inspect the condition of your property in more detail in order to finalise an offer.

  • Solicitors are instructed and all fees are paid

    Should you accept the finalised offer, then it’s time for us to instruct our solicitors. Our progressions team will get in touch with you to talk about instructing one of our recommended solicitors, and we will remind you that we will cover all the costs of this. We also pay for the searches and RICS on your property.

  • Exchange & completion

    Once the RICS report is back, providing everything lines up, we will finalise all the legal work, allowing us to exchange contracts and complete on a date that suits you!

Is the service right for me?

As we’ve mentioned, we’re very open about the fact we know our sell house fast service isn’t for everyone, making it important you decide that it’s the right service for you.

The main purpose of our service is speed – if you have the time (and patience) to wait on the open market for a sale, you may be able to achieve a higher value, but there are no guarantees.

Our particular service may be the best option for you if:

Lifestyle changes

There sometimes comes a time when people decide they want to downsize and move into a property more suited to their needs. The need to downsize may be as a result of age or health, making it important to get a fast, stress-free sale.

Going through a divorce

A divorce is a difficult time for all parties, so often couples will look for a quick sale to get the property sold fast, leaving one less thing to worry about.

Inherited property

Inheriting a property and having to deal with probate comes at a time when you have other stresses, meaning you don’t want to be weighed down with further worries of paying bills for the inherited property. In this situation, a lot of people tend to search for a quick sale.

Relocation

Relocation can be something that happens very quickly, whether you’re moving for a job or family, meaning you will need to get a quick house sale, with our sell house fast service being an ideal route.

Financial difficulty

Often people run into financial difficulty and feel they need to release some equity from their house ASAP, especially in those situations where you’re looking to avoid repossession. In these circumstances, time is of the essence, making a fast sale a top priority.

Why you should trust us

We’re more than just a standard cash buying company. The Property Buying Company is owned and run by property professionals, founded in 2012, and with over 50 years combined experience in the industry, you can be sure you’re in safe hands.

We’re also members of The Property Ombudsman and the National Association of Property Buyers. In addition to this, we understand that selling a property can be stressful and daunting, so if you’re in need of a quick sale, we can take all the stresses away from you, handle everything, whilst always being up for a chat to listen to your concerns, to help as much as we can.

We’re rated excellent on Trustpilot, with over 1,000 reviews.

We will always be open and honest about our process and service – we will tell you upfront what we can offer for your property, and we will always keep you updated throughout the whole process, including any issues we face and how we will do our best to overcome them.

  • No stress, no hassle, no fees
  • As property cash buyers we can complete on purchasing your home in as little as 7 days!
  • Get a completely no-obligation offer in 24 hours!
  • Open and transparent throughout - we'll let you know what we can offer you straight away
  • We'll buy any type of property
  • All costs covered, including the legal fees
  • We handle everything for you - stress-free method
  • Part of the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) & The Property Ombudsman (TPO) - We're a legitimate sell my house for cash company
  • Highly rated on all major review platforms

Want to find out how much your property is worth & sell your house fast? It's best to give us a call on:

0800 024 8444
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How much can you get from our we buy any house service?

Complete a few details to see if your property qualifies and get a cash offer – remember we buy any property, in any condition, in any location!

5 simple steps to having your property sold!

Our quick (but thorough) 5 step sale process means we can buy your house fast and at a great price

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  • 01.

    Check to see if your property is eligible check now

  • 02.

    Receive an offer from us within 24 hours

  • 03.

    We’ll visit your property & formalise our offer

  • 04.

    We’ll instruct solicitors and pay all fees

  • 05.

    Exchange contracts & complete as usual

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Independent reviews of our service from Trustpilot

Why choose us as your cash house buyers?

We’re one of the leading we buy any house UK companies for residential/commercial property and land in England and Wales. We buy using our own cash house buying facility meaning we can offer the best prices in our industry and complete the sale quicker than anyone else.

Your options Average sale length Typical cost to you
The Property Buying Company 2-3 weeks £0.00
Other House Buying Companies 2-10 weeks £1000
Property Auction 6-10 weeks £2500-£5000
Online Estate Agents 16-52 weeks £1000(upfront)-£5000
Estate Agents 16-52 weeks £5000

Unlike most of the other options available to you, we are not a broker or middle man, meaning you skip the fees and get a sale quickly and easily.

The Property Buying Company is registered with the Property Ombudsman and is a member of the National Association of Property Buyers

National Association of Property Buyers The Property Ombudsman
900+

Properties bought by us
for cash

£124,614,944

Of our own money spent buying
property for cash

2-3 weeks

Average time taken from initial offer
to completion