Exploring the average time to sell a house, the timeline for selling a house and what to do when your house is stuck on the market...

When selling a house, most people have two main priorities – price and speed. In an ideal world, all houses would sell at a high price at a FAST speed, but this isn’t a reality…

So, how long does a house take to sell? What’s the average time to sell a house? Is there a way you can speed this up, whilst also not selling at a really low price?

Well, look no further as we’re here to answer these questions for you! We’re going to talk you through the current average time to sell a house, when the best month to sell a house is and also what to do when your house just isn’t selling.

Ready to dive straight in and find out the answers? Use the menu below as a guide:
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Average time to sell a house

The average time to sell a house or flat will vary depending on location, property type and market conditions. According to The Advisory, the average time to sell a house across all market conditions is 129 days.

Whilst the current average time to sell a house is around 129 days, this could be about to get longer. The Stamp Duty holiday ending will make buying a house more expensive again. On top of this, there was a ‘mini boom’ within the housing market when the Stamp Duty holiday was initially introduced in July 2020.

By mini boom we mean, the introduction of the Stamp Duty holiday enabled anyone who was considering moving, to move, as buying a house now became more affordable. As a result of this, anyone who would have wanted to move, has already moved, meaning there’s now less demand for houses, lengthening the average time to sell a house.

Is 3 months a long time for a house to be on the market?

According to the average time to sell a house of 129 days, 3 months would not be a long time for your house to be on the market before it sells. However, whether it’s a long time or not is subjective to market conditions.

If similar houses in your area are selling within weeks, but yours has been on the market for 3 months with little to no interest, then we would say this is a long time and you should investigate why it’s taking so long.

If you’ve been on the market longer than the average time to sell a house and want to investigate why, then make sure you keep reading – we’ve got a section on why houses don’t sell coming up soon…

Timeline for selling a house

The timeline for selling a house will vary depending on your situation and chosen selling method but as a general average if you’re selling on the open market, then it can take between 16 weeks to 34 weeks.

We know this is a big range so let’s break down the timeline for selling a house for you to help you see why it could take so long…

The timeline for selling a house:

Choosing an estate agent – a few weeks

So, to start the process off, you want to find an estate agent who’s going to present your property in the best light and get it selling FAST, or at least in line with the average time to sell a house.

A lot of people tend to have an estate agent in mind, but we do recommend always asking a few different estate agents for their valuation. Once you’ve spoken to different agents and decided on your favourite one, it’s time to sign the estate agent contract and get all your photos, floorplans and an EPC done.

Viewings – 1-14 weeks

Now you’re up and running with an estate agent, it’s time to get interested parties in on viewings. The length of time and the number of viewings it will take to sell your house will vary, and so we can’t give a specific date your house will sell by.

The Advisory has stated it COULD take up to 14 weeks to sell your property, but in hot market conditions you may see your house sell in a matter of days. In cold market conditions, it could take even longer than 14 weeks (ugh, annoying we know!)

Accepting an offer to property searches – 5 weeks

So, eventually someone has come along with a great offer, and you’ve accepted it! Big sigh of relief, your house has finally sold! But the process doesn’t end there…

Once you’ve accepted the offer, the conveyancing process will begin. The main part of the process which you will be waiting for is your buyer’s solicitor organising searches on your property.

Once the searches are done you can move towards exchange, providing your buyer and their solicitor are happy with the outcome.

Searches to exchange – 8 weeks

Once the searches have been ordered it can take around 8 weeks for them to be completed and all the paperwork to be put in order, ready for exchange.

Exchange of contracts is the part of the process where the deal becomes legally binding, so you will want to get to exchange as soon as possible to avoid any buyer pulling out of the deal, leaving you with no buyer and needing to go back onto the open market.

Exchange to completion – Average of 2 weeks, could take up to 4

Once you’ve exchanged, all there’s really left to do is pack up and get ready for completion (also known as your move out date).

We’ve put up to 4 weeks, but we know it could be way less between your exchange and completion. It’s completely up to you and your buyer how long you put between exchange and completion, some even like to exchange and complete on the same day.

Once your completion day arrives, you will get the money from selling your property transferred into your bank (minus estate agent fees, conveyancing fees, etc) and you can hand in your keys and move out – yay!

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What is the best month to sell a house?

If you ask your local estate agent, they will tell you ‘Now is the best time to sell’ regardless of what time of year you’re asking this question. However, according to research by The Advisory, based on data from Rightmove, the best month to sell a house is March.

March, according to the data, took an average of 57 days for a house to go under offer. This time of year will be good for selling as few people will be away on a summer holiday, meaning people can focus on moving.

This time of year is also when the sun starts to come out for longer, helping to show your house in a better light, with your garden and plants starting to bloom.

Does an empty house sell faster?

A great question, one which you will need the answer to when wanting to sell your house faster than the average time to sell a house!

Whilst you may think that selling a house empty may be good to help a potential buyer visualise themselves in your house, as there’s none of your belongings so no personalisation from you, an empty house is also one which will struggle to hide any flaws.

An empty house can also very quickly look uncared for and start to feel cold and unloved, making it look less desirable to live in.

A furnished house allows potential buyers to get ideas for what they could do with the house, which is great for making them want to buy it. Having said this, an empty house shows viewers a blank canvas, meaning they can see all the space which they would have to work with.

Ultimately, whether your house will sell faster empty, will rely a lot upon who the target audience is for your property. Establishing who the target audience is will help you to decide what their mindset is when looking for a property and will therefore help you decide whether they may be looking for a ‘project’, making an empty house more appealing, or a ‘finished product’, making a furnished house more appealing.

Why do houses not sell?

We told you we’d come back to this!

So, your house is taking longer than the average time to sell a house and you’re scratching your head as to why this may be happening. Well, that’s why we’re here to help!

We’ve got a list of all the reasons your house may not be selling, to help you decide how this may be impacting your sale…

  1. Price too high – One thing an estate agent tends to do is overvalue your house, just so you choose to sell your house with them. This will then mean the asking price for your house is way too high, leading to minimal interest from potential buyers. As a result of the price being way too high, your house will likely take longer to sell than the average time to sell a house

  2. Poor condition – A house in a poor condition is one which looks uncared for and will not give off a good impression to a buyer. Even if you’ve taken into account your house needing a new kitchen or bathrooms in your pricing, a lot of buyers still don’t want to have to go through the stress of this work, making your house less appealing, meaning it takes longer to sell than the average time to sell a house

  3. Poor market conditions – In a hot market, houses can seem like they’re selling in seconds. But in poor market conditions, the average time to sell a house becomes a lot longer, with there not being enough potential buyers on the market. Whilst you can’t change the market conditions, a good estate agent should be able to get you over the line, it may just take a little longer than you want…

  4. Poor marketing – When it comes to looking for a house, most people have an initial browse on the internet. This increases the importance of good photos and being on multiple property portals. It’s very possible that your house may take longer than the average time to sell a house if your estate agent hasn’t marketed it very well – something you should look to improve ASAP!

  5. Wrong time of year – This sort of links in with poor market conditions, but there are certain times of year which are going to be worse for selling your property. For example, if you’re trying to sell your property during the summer or Christmas holidays, you may find your property sticks on the market, as everyone’s mind will be in ‘holiday zone’

  6. Property is ‘quirky’ – If your property doesn’t have a ‘typical’ look and could be described as a little ‘different’, then this may be a reason your house isn’t selling. Due to your property’s quirky nature, it will be harder to find someone who’s looking for your exact property type, meaning it will likely take longer to sell than the average time to sell a house

  7. Bad estate agent – You know the ones who they over promise and under deliver? That’s what we’re referring to by bad estate agent. There’s nothing worse than an estate agent who promises you they can get your house sold in a matter of days or weeks and months down the line you’re still waiting for a successful viewing. You then put pressure on your estate agent, only for them to suggest maybe the price is too high, making you reduce the asking price, despite the fact they were the ones who suggested this price in the first place.

If you’re selling a house, this is probably a story you’re all too familiar with. In fact, maybe you’re reading this article because your house is taking longer than the average time to sell a house and you need to find out why and what you can do to make it sell faster.

Well, you’re in the right place! Instead of getting frustrated with your estate agent for not doing their job properly, you can cut the stress and just sell your house to us!

What do we mean by this?

Well, here at The Property Buying Company we’re a cash buyer of houses, specialising in fast sales. By fast sale, we mean WAY faster than the average time to sell a house – with our average completion time being 2 to 3 weeks.

Also, unlike your estate agent, we will cover all the fees associated with selling a house, including the legal fees! This means the cash offer we give you is the amount you will receive in FULL.

Fed up with your house taking longer than the average time to sell a house? Ready to start on your journey to sell your house ASAP? Give us a call or fill in our online form for a no-obligation cash offer, which we can have in your bank as soon as next week...

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Tom Condon

Tom Condon, one of our content writers, has fascinating expertise in sustainability in the property industry. Tom thoroughly understands the market and has experience in both residential and commercial property. He enjoys attending conferences and staying current with the most recent property trends.