How long does it take to complete a house sale after an accepted offer?
Whether you’re buying or selling, the length of time it can take to finalise a sale can vary wildly no matter who you are. So, what are the key influences for speed in the house-buying process?
Often, when you’re looking to buy or sell a house, it can feel as if you are out in the wilderness waiting for updates from conveyancers, estate agents and solicitors. We often hear about nightmare scenarios where buyers are waiting months for the paperwork to be finalised, but it’s important not to get discouraged – these things can take a while.
In reality, there are several factors that can influence the speed with which a sale can be completed, and we shall go into more detail regarding these below.
As simple as it sounds, if you’re trying to find out how long it takes to complete a house sale, then it may be worth looking at customer reviews for the services you’re using. The success of many solicitors and estate agents is thanks to their ability to communicate with one another regularly. For every agent or legal mind who is on the ball and makes it their focus to complete as soon as possible, there is another who is only interested in ‘making the sale’, and not necessarily aiding the buyer or seller thereafter.
Thanks to sites such as Trustpilot as well as local word-of-mouth, it can be very easy to compare customer experiences with different professionals and you should factor this into your decision.
Know your enemy
It is also a great idea to learn, where possible, as much as you can about the other party who you are either selling to, or buying from. There are many people who enter the sales process who end up withdrawing due to various reasons – leaving the other party at a financial disadvantage. There are also many sellers who are well known for messing others around in the past, and these people tend to be known to local estate agents for their lack of reliability – if this is the case, avoid the property like the plague.
Waiting on the mortgage
It is important to note that while you are in the midst of a house sale, different stages of the process take different amounts of time. Waiting for a mortgage approval can in some cases take up to eight weeks – but once approved, the rest of the sale can be a mad scramble and be completed in a little over a fortnight.
Chain and restrained?
Whether or not the house you’re looking to buy is in a chain is a key dynamic in determining how long it takes to complete a house sale. If you are in a desperate need to sell your house fast and move to a new abode in a shorter time-frame, then the term ‘no chain’ should be your primary focus when viewing listings. No chain means that the person whose property you wish to buy has either already moved out, or is ready to move house upon completion – and this is a sure-fire way to ensure a quick move.
When there is a chain, it is less simple to determine the timeframe for the completion. Some house sales can have a chain of 11-12 homes, and these have been known to take between 3-4 months to sort out as a dozen different agents and solicitors wait for the relevant paperwork to be exchanged.
In a perfect scenario, how long would it take to complete a house sale?
In a flawless transfer of ownership, where all parties provide one another with consistent updates and there is no chain of which to be mindful, a sale can take as little as six weeks for keys to change hands.
To give yourself the best chance of a fast house sale, learn from those who have been through the process before:
- Ensure you have valid proof of earnings available for lenders when the mortgage application is on the horizon.
- Ensure that the legal minds and agents you hire to help you complete the sale are well known for their customer service.
- Try to learn as much as possible about the people you are selling to, or buying from.
- Most importantly, learn to accept that things never go exactly to plan, and that you shouldn’t blame yourself or lose hope.