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How Quickly Can a House Sale Go Through in the UK?

Sam Kinloch

Property sales in the UK naturally vary in timescales. Some homes that come onto the market are snapped up almost immediately, whereas others languish in the listings for months or fail to sell at all without a reduction in price. House sales can go through in as little as 20 days (if you decide to auction your property) whilst private treaty sales traditionally take longer. 

Timing can be all-important for sellers, particularly when they plan to use the proceeds to buy their next property. We find that this isn’t just a matter of moving house - when there is a delay in proceedings, it can feel like your life is on hold.

Understanding how long it will take for your home to sell can be a bit of a guessing game, but knowing how the property market works – and which sales methods are the speediest – may influence your decision-making.

Has your house chain fallen through? Need to sell your property quickly? Then please call us on 0345 8500333 or complete the online form below for a free independent appraisal to find out how long it’ll take for the sale to complete. 

How Quickly Can a House Sale Go Through in the UK?

Average Times Taken to Sell a UK Property by Private Treaty



In very general terms, residential properties sold through private treaty in between 42 - 61 days.

However, those figures only indicate the time between the property first being advertised for sale and an offer being accepted. The complexity of the process – from negotiations and waiting to exchange contracts, having surveys conducted before exchange, and potentially dealing with gazumping – mean the true averages are longer.

Most private treaty property sales require an additional few weeks for the legal and administrative work to be finalised, with an overall average period of between four to six months from listing to completing the transaction.

Below we've broken this down to give further clarification about what this might look like in practice.

















































Aspect of a Property Sale





Average Time Required



From listing a property to accepting an offerSix to 12 weeks
Conveyancing and surveysRoughly 12 weeks
From the exchange of contracts to completionUp to four weeks, usually one week
From listing the property to concluding the saleFour to six months

How to Sell a House Quickly



If these timeframes are not suited to your plans, or you need to sell a property quickly, there are alternative solutions which may be more appropriate. There are many situations where a speedy property sale may be essential, such as:

  • Selling a home to raise funds to buy another property.
  • Using sale proceeds to consolidate debts or make an investment.
  • Needing to sell a home following a separation or divorce.
  • Looking to organise a quick sale of an inherited house.
Sellers who are part of a property chain may also look for expedited options where they have the potential to lose their dream home and want to secure the transaction as soon as they can to avoid another offer being accepted or losing out to another buyer who can move faster.

The key is to choose selling methods that do not involve a chain since the reliance on other parts of the chain means you cannot exert much control and may be left waiting for other homes within the chain to sell, regardless of whether you have already confirmed offers on the properties you wish to sell and buy.

Selling a Property Through an Auction



Auction sales offer one of the speediest ways to sell any home and a high degree of certainty that the property will sell within the first auction it is entered into. The auction environment is somewhat different from that of a private treaty sale because buyers are engaged and have pre-registered to be able to participate as active bidders who will usually already have properties in mind.

Those buyers we mentioned above may be rare, but in property auctions are the norm, where any successful bidder needs to remit the full value within 20 working days, paying a deposit of 10% there and then on the day as contracts are exchanged immediately.

Related reading: how to sell a property quickly via auctions

Selling a House to an Auction Buyer



Auction buyers are ideal for a seller since they are not part of a chain, will normally have arranged funding, and can remit the full balance straight away to complete the transaction.

The issue is that auction-ready buyers are rare in the open market, and the vast majority of homeowners upgrading to a bigger property will be involved in a chain or need to pause the purchase until funds are released from their mortgage provider.

Auction buyers tend to be investors and developers who are prepared, motivated and organised and less reliant on searches and surveys since they will have either already conducted due diligence and research before making an offer or are buying a property where they know there is great potential to add value.

Most cash sales are completed within two weeks to one month after the agreement has been made. However, this can stall depending on how quickly the respective solicitors can move ahead or confirm the transfer of the title deeds.

For example, some look for renovation projects they can complete at a profit, others want rental properties within proximity of a university or commuter region, and others look for homes with development potential or plots where they may be able to build further houses. While others are looking for their home for the future.

The auctioneer manages the sale from start to end, agreeing to a reserve price with the seller. That means you cannot sell a property at auction for less than your reserve and still have the assurance that you will receive your funds usually within a month.

Bidders enter into a legal contract via the auctioneer, so don't back out of the sale, reducing any risks of delays such as in gazumping or when one party to a property sale decides to back out at the last minute before exchanging contracts.

Related reading: which properties are best suited for auctions?

Selling a Property Through a Quick Sale Company



A final option is to sell directly to a quick sale company, although this option takes around a similar time as an auction and may only be suitable where you are happy to accept a vastly lower value in return for a faster transaction.

Quick sale companies make offers against properties, usually claiming up to 70% of the market value, buying homes at below what you might consider a reasonable saleable price to ensure they stand to make a profit.

In contrast, auctions often return higher than expected sale values since the competitive bidding between interested parties pushes the sale value higher – without compromising on timeframes or adding any delays to the process.

The Auctioneer always works for you to ensure a fair market value.

sell your house at auction with Clive Emson

Find out how long it’ll take to sell your property with Clive Emson



If you are thinking of selling your property at auction or have any questions about the process, then please call us on 0345 8500333 or complete the online form below for a free independent appraisal to find out how long it’ll take for the sale to complete. 

About the Author

Sam Kinloch

Sam Kinloch

Director & Senior Auction Appraiser
MNAEA MNAVA

Sam’s career in the dizzy world of property auctions began when he hung up his chainsaw and headed in from the forest. Joining the team in 2003 Sam now sits on the Board of Directors and has been instrumental in the adoption of online auction services.
Out of the office you can find him flying around the velodrome or sipping coffee at a local café.


01273 504232

07968 780714

sam@cliveemson.co.uk

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