The average time is somewhere between two to three months, but some sales can be done in a matter of a couple of weeks, while others drag on for a year or two. The annoying thing is that there may be no discernible reason why a home isn’t selling – or why a home that doesn’t particularly ‘look anything special’ sells quickly and smoothly.
According to a recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the average UK property takes 91 days to sell. However, this diverges wildly across the country – in Bristol and Edinburgh the average is just over 50 days, while in Swansea and Liverpool the length of time it takes to sell was more than 100 days.
Estate agents will tell you that timing is often the pivotal factor for some homes selling quickly; perhaps a home that arrives on the market at the exact time that someone is looking at a property of that type. Perhaps it has a certain feature or quirk that is ‘trendy’, or maybe it’s in an area that is attracting an influx of people. A combination of luck and knowing the market will be beneficial.
One other factor that should be taken into account is the time of year. Spring and autumn are usually better for sellers than in winter or summer. People have Christmas shopping or summer holidays on their mind, rather than looking for homes. Add in the uncertainty of the current financial environment and one can see that some buyers/investors may be cautious when buying.
Some other reasons why your home might not sell include:
Too expensive – very simply, you’ve overpriced it. It’s only too easy for a potential buyer to research comparable properties and decide if you’re asking for too much. Even a few hundred pounds could make all the difference. There are also other relevant financial factors, such as the average wage of people who may be interested – here’s an example.
Too cheap – The alternative to this is a valuation that seems suspiciously low; for example, if a street was selling homes at around the £100,000 mark but one was on sale at £70,000, people might assume that something is wrong with the property – and leave it alone without enquiring further.
Poor presentation – home staging (the skill of preparing a home for photographs to appear on property websites for sale) is big business. Pictures that show a bright, vibrant home with big rooms are more likely to do well than a poorly lit, cramped room. Experts also say that your pictures should attempt to be ‘depersonalised’; a person moving into a home wants to imagine themselves living there, so remove photographs showing family portraits and certificates.
Narrowed options – we live in a digital world. Search the term ‘property for sale’ on Google and it brings up more than 350 million responses. Therefore, restricting the sale to just a few sites, or high street estate agents, is not giving the property the best chance of success.
Poor state of repair – if the rooms need extensive renovation or repairs buyers will not be impressed. Even if you drop the value of the home to reflect this, it still translates to work that needs to be completed once the home is purchased. Cracks in windows, dripping taps, peeling wallpaper and broken tiles all fit into the category of little aspects people will remember.
Area – A lack of public transport routes, retail facilities, green spaces, schools and local amenities nearby will be a negative factor for many buyers. High crime rates and exposure to loud traffic (or worse, near an airport) could also be detrimental.
The stages of selling your home are broadly similar no matter whether you’ve chosen to sell online or via a high street estate agent. You decide on a price; prepare the home; hire a solicitor or conveyancer to sell; receive and eventually accept an offer; exchange contracts; and move out. The mortgage company will give a redemption figure, and a settlement will occur.
Each of these stages can be of varying length; for example, even the initial process of deciding whether to sell might take weeks, months or years. At each point, there are ways to streamline the process and cutting down on time, and sometimes money. Much depends on the next stage after the sale – for example, moving into rental property should be a smoother process than buying another home.
For example, using sites such as Rightmove’s price comparison tool, which uses its own data as well as Land Registry information, will instantly give you an indication of the asking prices and sales history of nearby/similar properties – thereby allowing you to form a realistic appraisal of your own home’s price. However, there are ways of getting a valuation/recommendation for a cheaper price than traditional methods, if selling online – see below. Making repairs to a home and/or renovating it, and preparing it for photographs, are all jobs that can be done before the home is placed on the market. The latter could be achieved with the help of any friends who are photographers.
The process of buying a home online is also simple; searching for a home allows you to cut out plenty of time and perhaps even take a video tour; discover more about the area; and calculate what mortgage you can afford. You can also be notified of any relevant or interesting homes via email or text.
There are a number of advantages to using an online estate agent. The process can sometimes be much quicker since around 95% of all house searches start online. Properties can be listed on several hundred local and national portals, massively increasing the number of eyeballs seeing them. Since there are fewer administration costs such as renting out commercial premises, the costs of running an online estate agent are reduced, and this gets passed onto sellers.
Most charge a clear fee structure which includes selling the home at a fixed fee and include expert price recommendations, valuation visits, and access to an online portal that keeps people informed at all stages. Typically, the fees are thousands of pounds cheaper than a high street sale, which will charge around 1.5% of the asking price as a minimum. Many will also provide evidence of how quickly they can sell a home on average on their own sites – and will almost certainly tell customers if they enquire. However, some traditionalists still like to actually see an agent in front of them in the same room, rather than across the internet.
If you need or want to sell your home very quickly then We Buy any Home will buy your home from you and provide a guaranteed quick sale, a process that can take only 7 days to complete – far quicker than the average.
Circumstances where you might wish to sell quickly include if you have exhausted all other options; if you have received the home through inheritance; if you need money quickly; if you are divorcing or separating; or perhaps – although less common – if you need to move quickly for some reason. You will almost certainly have to drop the asking price, but this might be a lesser concern than actually looking after the sale yourself – worth considering, depending on your financial situation.