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First, let’s clear up what this question means as it is often misunderstood. As experienced property experts, we get asked this very often.  


The time to “sell” a property can mean one of two things: 


How long between marketing a property and achieving an agreed sale?

This is from the moment you instruct you agent to sell your property to the moment you accept an offer from a buyer.

How long from agreeing a sale on a property to achieving legal completion?

This is from aceepting an offer from your buyer, all the way to moving day.

Let’s look at point number one. At the time of writing, the housing market is starting to slow down however a sale can still be agreed within two weeks but the local average is rising to 12 weeks at the moment.

Previously, certainly, since Covid, we have had the opposite of this – a “hot” market.  In a hot market, timescales will get lower – possibly even as low as a few days. So, whenever you decide to market your property for sale, check how the property market is performing in your area.  

No matter where you are, if you call us we can tell you how your area is performing – 01327 878926.

You can get an instant market update for your street here: 

Or, you can get a quick overview your  “Propcast” of your property market here: 

I think it is important to note that during any market, the question you need to be asking is how long are you prepared to give yourself to get the best price.

Sellers need to understand that it is important that you DO NOT look to sell your property as quickly as possible (unless of course you are in a situation where you need a buyer immediately).

In an ideal world, you need to allow for two weeks to get the best result possible. I have seen sellers and agents loose thousands because they rushed.

You need to allow time for every potential buyer to come and look at your property. It is not always clever to sell it to the first person through the door, or worse, before evening marketing the property.

However, you also don't want to find yourself sticking around on the market for too long. Any longer than 6-8 weeks and you need to consider a change either in the marketing of your property or your agent.

Either way, it works better for both sellers and buyers if you market a property for a fixed period of time and conduct viewings on the same day.

Jamie CampbellSenior Associate

There are several leading factors that can have an impact on how long it will take you to agree a sale on your property:  


Marketing price:

It is a given that if you market your property at a higher price than similar properties, it will take you longer. Not only to achieve an agreed sale but also to get people to view. If you are motivated to sell in a reasonable timeframe then engage an agent that advises a realistic, competitive “Guide Price”. Be wary of agents that will “over-value” your property in order to win your trust. It is likely that they recommend a significant reduction in price after a few weeks.

It is a common misconception that as Estate Agents we can put an exact valuation on your property, when in fact our job is to find the best the marketing price which will attract the most interest and therefore achieve the best price.


Quality and experience of your Estate Agent

Instructing a quality agent who is experienced in negotiating with potential buyers and weeding out unsuitable buyers will not only save time in achieving an agreed sale, but also save a lot of stress during the whole process.

It’s a good idea to read their online testimonials from previous clients and also look at how the agent has marketed similar properties in the past- would you be happy with their photographs and the property details?

Quality agents may require a little more financial investment, but in reality, a good, professional experienced agent is always much better value than the cheapest.


Condition of your property or a neighbouring property

Most vendors who are motivated to sell are conscious of how the presentation of their property can affect how well it is received by the market.

Again, a good agent will be able to advise if there is anything that you as the vendor need to attend to before marketing can take place. A clean, tidy, well-maintained property is always appealing and will attract more interest.

Whilst vendors can do something about their own property, if a close neighbouring property is in a bad state of repair, it could detract from the appeal of yours, so finding a buyer who is willing to ignore issues like this could take longer.

Once you have agreed a sale on your property, how long will it take to achieve legal completion?  

Again, there are several factors that can affect this process. It can range from 28 days to several months for completion (AKA moving day) to happen.

Experienced good Estate Agents will help to bring this number down but even so, it can still take 8-12 weeks on average. In the UK at the moment, the average is 16 weeks.


Quality of the Solicitors/Conveyancers Appointed

This is where the saying “You get what you pay for” really does apply. Never go for the cheapest solicitor or budget conveyancing company. Budget solicitors tend to employ a “tick-box” approach and employ inexperienced conveyancers.
If there are any issues that do not conform to their general practices or procedures, they are unlikely to be able to “think outside the box” or employ extra initiative to solve tricky problems.
This will obviously impact on the length of time it takes to get to exchange of contracts and then completion. Conveyancing solicitors should quote a no-completion, no-charge flat fee. NEVER agree to instruct a solicitor who charges an hourly rate.

It is also a good idea to engage with a solicitor BEFORE you agree a sale. A good solicitor will be able to arrange a “sales pack” for you, that can be sent to the buyer’s solicitors as soon as a sale is agreed. This could save up to three weeks in the conveyancing process.


Buying Position and length of chain

It stands to reason that if there are more than one or two properties in a sales chain, it will take longer for all the parties involved to be ready to even start talking about exchange and completion dates.

The more properties in the chain, the more back and forth there will be in communications between all the solicitors and of course, the quality of your solicitors in this scenario is important.

Ideally, vendor’s who wish to sell quickly need to get a cash buyer, who is not reliant on a mortgage. If a mortgage is required by the buyer, their lender will request a Mortgage Valuation to be carried out on the property, to ensure the value of the property is in excess of the value they are lending. This can add a few weeks to the conveyancing process.


Title, Search or Survey Problems

In most cases, properties that come to the market that have been bought and sold in recent years, will have been registered with Land Registry, this entry on the register is called the Title.

However, it could be that a property has been in the same family for decades, and/or may have been originally purchased before the requirement to register a title became law. In which case, depending on the circumstances i.e. the property boundaries are in dispute or there are other onerous covenants, the property will need to be registered BEFORE the sale can complete (or at the very least be in the process of being registered – every situation is different so if you are concerned, come and talk to us.

The buyer's solicitors will apply for three types of “searches” on your property at the start of the conveyancing process. These are: Drainage, Environmental and Local. Local searches, applied for to the local authority your property belongs to, and the time it takes for the local authority to respond can vary from one to four weeks.

If the property you are selling is more than a few years old, your buyer may request to have a full buildings survey carried out by an RICS qualified surveyor. If there are any major structural issues highlighted in the Survey Report, this could lead to delays whilst either the sale price of the property is renegotiated, or the necessary remedial work is carried out.

In summary, there are many factors that can extend the length of time it takes to get your property from the beginning of marketing to legal completion, some are in the vendor’s control, like choosing a good quality professional agent and solicitor, other elements are not under the vendor’s control, like local searches, any circumstances in the lower or upper chain properties.  

Selling a property can be a stressful rollercoaster-ride coaster-ride, so in order to limit this, choose your agent wisely – a professional experienced agent will advise you closely as to the best course of action for your particular circumstances, and engage with a quality solicitor, before you agree a sale so they can pre-empt and resolve any likely problems. 

If you would like to talk to one of our Associates for a recommendation then feel free to leave your details by CLICKING HERE or telephone 01327 878926 during normal office hours and we can deal with your enquiry quickly.


Jamie and Jane x

(Find out more about Jamie, Jane and the rest of the team here)