How Long Does It Take To Sell A House After Offer Accepted?

Written by Mathew McCorry

If you read my property blog now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will make you read it.

You’ve put your property on the market, hosted several viewings and finally got the offer you’ve wanted (hopefully!). You’ve done the leg work, but it’s not over yet, you’ve still got a lot of hurdles to jump through before finally completing the sale.

What we will go through in this article is how long you can typically expect it to take from accepting an offer to actually completing the sale, the stages in between and what you can do in order to try and speed the process up.

How Long Does It Take?

You might not like this answer, but it’s not simple to give you a straight time frame of what to expect as there are so many variables. If everything went absolutely perfectly, through a traditional sale you could expect to complete in as little as 4 to 6 weeks, however that’s not always likely.

Here are the few things that factor into the time taken:

  • The buyer
  • Estate Agent
  • Solicitors / Conveyancers
  • Local Searches
  • RICs Survey
  • Mortgage
  • Property Chains


We’ll dig into each of these now and explain what to expect and how to avoid common pitfalls:

The Buyer

There isn’t too much you can control in regards to this, but your buyer needs to be just as motivated to push the sale along as you, you also depend on them making good choices when it comes to solicitors or conveyancers and getting their mortgage approved.

A slow buyer means a slow sale. They might be slightly slower than you at returning documents, there mortgage company could be a little slow at processing their application or their solicitors could have a significant backlog.

Unfortunately, this is luck of the draw. You can’t really tell from a viewing whether the buyer is going to be slow throughout the process.

Estate Agent

Estate agents are one of the key ingredients if you are going through a traditional sale process of course. They are the ones who gather the initial documents from yourself and the buyer, check that you’ve instructed solicitors and often provide things like mortgage advice.

The Estate Agents are also the only go between for the communication between you and the buyer, you can use them as a way of speeding up a slow buyer as mentioned above.

If you have Estate Agents that are particularly slow at answering emails, never easy to reach on the phone or are far too busy selling the next property on their books, then it can cause a lot of issues in the process.

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Solicitors / Conveyancers

This is another big piece to the puzzle, picking the right conveyancer is vital. It’s probably the longest part of the process, and you need to try and ensure it goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

It’s all about picking the right solicitor / conveyancer.

The best thing to do is to speak to people you know who have been through the process if you can, and go with a solicitor they recommend based on how quickly they have sold. Alternatively, you can read as many reviews as possible about the solicitors, although this might not give you the full picture. Even if you do these things however, there’s no real way to know, you’ll likely be assigned a different solicitor or conveyancer than that of your friend or the reviews you’re reading anyway, unless of course it’s a small independent.

Local Searches

Part of the process is for the local searches to come back, which typically takes around two to three weeks, but some areas respond much quicker than others. This is one of the first things your solicitors should try and get when you instruct them.

This stage can cause delays for two main reasons, one is of course the local authority being slower and the buyer not paying the solicitor quick enough. Solicitors wait to request the local searches until payment has cleared as it costs them. Any delay can have an obvious knock on effect, but both of these things are out of your hands, all you can do is keep getting in touch with your estate agent to ensure that the buyer has done all they can to push things along.

RICs Survey

It’s not required to have a RICs survey, but it’s advised. The actual survey doesn’t take that long, around 2-4 hours depending on the property, the results usually come back pretty quick as well.

The delay here can be due to the buyer not arranging the survey quick enough, or the seller (yourself) not having the availability to allow the surveyor visit the property.

It also is a point in which the buyer could try and negotiate to bring the price down which can delay or even cause the process to break down if neither party is willing to shift.

Mortgage

If your buyer needs a mortgage this can also add time to the sale duration. Mortgage applications can take a little while and for the most part its out of your buyers’ hands. They take a long time and require a fair number of documents from the buyer, some of which might have to be through the post, which can of course cause more delays.

This adds further complications if they get rejected and have to start the whole process again, but fingers crossed that doesn’t happen!

Property Chains

If you can and have the luxury of a bidding war, pick a buyer who doesn’t depend on selling their house to have the funds for yours. If the buyer relies on someone buying theirs it means it’s more likely to fall through or have delays.

The longer the chain, the increased likelihood. Avoiding a property chain can save you a lot of grief and hassle.

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How You Can Speed It Up

There are a few ways in which you can speed up the process, it’s not fool proof, but making sure you’re on top of things can really help.

Communicate

The first thing you need to be completely on top of is communication. Make sure you’re constantly talking to estate agents and solicitors, whoever is involved. Know where they are at each stage of the process.

This is one of the ways in which we ensure a quick sale, we have an inhouse progression team that are there with the purpose of pushing sales through as quickly as possible. They constantly keep on at solicitors ensuring certain aspects of the purchase are complete at certain times.

You need to do the same, become a thorn in their side so they want to get your sale done and dusted. It’s a nuisance but it does speed the process up a lot.

Do Your Research Before Jumping In

Research, research, research. We can’t say it enough. It’s so important to get your “property sales” team right, picking the right solicitor, estate agent & whomever else is involved is so important to get a quick sale.

Read reviews, talk to friends, and just generally ask around. It only takes a single part of the property sale puzzle to take a bit too long and it can have a big knock on effect.

Alternative Sale Methods – Sell House Fast

If you are really in need of a quick sale and are willing to drop in asking price a bit, then we may be able to help. Our service isn’t for everyone, but can provide a great alternative to the traditional. As we are ready cash buyers with solicitors, we know who can act quick we are able to buy your home in as little as 7 days, no stress, no hassle.

Need a quick sale? Get an offer with no obligation

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A Successful Offer Can Speed Things Up

Rightmove have claimed that January was their busiest month ever recorded in terms of visits to their website, with over 150 million visits.

Compared to January 2019, agents saw a 12% increase in sales agreed, in London this was higher at 26%. This is the largest year on year increase since July 2017.

Now that the UK property market is clearly more competitive, how can you ensure your offer on your dream home is successful without paying over the odds?

Of course, one way of securing a dream home is to put in a high asking price, but realistically this isn't usually needed and you may well regret it down the line.

You'll want to install confidence into the seller that you will be able to successfully go through the purchase process without dropping out. If the sale fell through, the seller could lose their onward property too.

Therefore, you want to stand out from the crowd when making an offer. A way to do this is to send an email to the agents and ask them to forward this to the sellers. There is particular information you can include in the email in order to stand out and show the vendor that you are a serious buyer. It will mean that you're reaching out to them on a personal level and even if your offer isn't the highest, they may choose you.

Here's what information you can provide to make a successful offer without paying over the odds.

Your name

Often the first thing you find out about someone is their name - it starts that emotional connection. The seller may even look you up on social media, so ensure nothing you wouldn't want them to see is on your channels!

Your purchasing position

Let the seller know if you have your own home to sell, or if you don't have a chain. If you don't have a chain, it's always a positive as there is less that could go wrong. However, if you do have a chain, explain to the seller the status of each of the transactions relevant to your purchase.

Mortgage in principle

Before making an offer on a property, it's always a good idea to have a mortgage in principle ready as this shows that you can afford it. This is only applicable if you are purchasing with a mortgage of course.

Proof of funds

It's a good idea to prove to the estate agent that you have the full deposit amount ready, because then you can confirm this in the email to the seller.

Offer price

In writing, confirm the amount you are offering to the seller for their home.

Timescales

Are you in a position where you can move house fast, or do you have a timescale in mind like 3 months' time? If you're flexible, let the seller know that you'll move at their pace.

Solicitor

Let them know that you are ready to provide them with your solicitor details should they wish to see them, as this shows that you're all ready to move.

Survey

Let them know which surveyor you will be using, as this again shows that you're all prepared.

Other

If you've seen anything in the house that you'd like to be left behind, such as curtains or a shed, let the seller know that you're interested in keeping them if they're happy to leave them behind.

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Of our own money spent buying
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2-3 weeks

Average time taken from initial offer
to completion