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How Long Does a House Sale Take? An Overview of the House Sale Process in the UK

Selling your house for the first time can be a confusing process. There are many instances which you can help to speed the process along, but there can be elements of the transaction that is out of your control. In this guide, we will look at the potential delays that a house sale process can experience and we will discuss ways in which you can experience a smooth house sale to the best of your ability.

If you need bridging finance to bridge the gap between properties or are at risk of repossession, contact TIC Finance; we can help you.

An Overview of the House Sale Process in the UK

The house sale process in the UK involves several steps that must be taken to ensure a successful transaction. Generally, the typical process will include: obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), instructing solicitors, surveyors and estate agents, marketing and viewings, ensuring property funding is in place, negotiating offers, exchanging contracts, and completing the transaction.

Important First Steps in the House Sale Process

The first steps in the house sale process are often the most important. The property must be correctly valued for sale, and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be obtained. It is also important to gather relevant documents, such as title deeds, guarantees, and planning permission information. These steps should be completed as soon as possible; however, they can take up to a few weeks, depending on the complexity of the situation.

EPC and Other Documentation

Obtaining an EPC is one of the first steps in the house sale process. In recent years, it has become more important to provide buyers with proof of how your property is performing and how energy efficient it is. Your estate agent may be able to get a hold of your EPC if you do not have one.

In addition to the EPC, you will be asked to provide certificates and guarantees of any work that you have carried out and any planning permission you have applied for previously. Selling your house is a strenuous process that scrutinises every aspect of your property, so it is important to file away any necessary paperwork, contractor details, credentials, boiler servicing records, etc. so you have a copy.

Marketing and Viewings

You may decide to market your house yourself, but further down the line, during the negotiations, you may want an estate agent to handle this for you. Many estate agents will also handle viewings of your property for you. It may be best to shop around, get a range of realistic asking prices for your house, and decide which estate agents will work best to suit your needs.

Solicitors, Surveyors and Mortgage Brokers

You may choose a mortgage broker to handle your mortgage application for you. You may also need a reputable property finance company for short-term property finance between properties.

Solicitors and surveyors are vital when your property finance is approved and the house sale starts.

Conveyancing solicitors handle the legal side of the sale, such as making contracts and changing property ownership. This is important to protect you from any possible problems during the house sale.

What is the Standard Timeline For a House Sale Process in the UK?

The duration of a house sale in the UK will vary depending on a few key factors, including the property type and location, market conditions, buyer/seller cooperation, mortgage approval and financing, legal compliance, and conveyancing processes. On average, most house sales can take anywhere from 12 to 25 weeks to reach legal completion; however, some can take longer.

If you need bridging finance to bridge the gap between properties or are at risk of repossession, contact TIC Finance; we can help you.

What Are the Influencing Factors During the House Sale Process?

If you’re looking to sell a house fast, both sellers and buyers need to be prepared. Both parties should ensure they have the necessary documents and information ready, such as mortgage documentation, proof of property funding, property surveys, legal compliance paperwork, etc.

Sellers can also hire a reputable conveyancing solicitor to help them with the legal aspects of the sale. An experienced solicitor can guide how to speed up the process and handle any possible complications that may arise.

The house sale process can be influenced by various factors, each of which can have a significant impact on the timeline. These include: 

Current Market Conditions and Economic Uncertainty

The legal process of selling your house can be influenced by various factors, such as conveyancing processes, legal compliance, market conditions, mortgage approval and property funding, and buyer/seller cooperation. Sellers should prepare well for the sale process and prevent any common delays or issues. For example, it may be harder to find a buyer for your property in a slow market.

Competitive Pricing

By pricing your property fairly and competitively, you can draw more potential buyers and improve your odds of selling it.

Responsive Communication

By being responsive, all the parties in the house sale process can help to expedite the sale. This involves responding to emails and phone calls without delay.

Accurate Property Listings

An accurate property listing can help with the speed of your house sale by attracting more potential buyers, reducing the need for price adjustments, and avoiding legal issues. By creating a precise property listing, the seller can avoid overpricing or under-pricing the property, which may scare off buyers or lower the profit. The listing can also help the seller determine a fair and competitive price, considering the current market and similar properties.

Flexibility in Negotiation

Sellers who are flexible and willing to negotiate on certain terms, such as price or closing dates, may attract more buyers and close deals faster.

Pre-Approved Buyers 

Having pre-approved buyers can make the house sale process much smoother and faster. A pre-approved buyer indicates that they are ready to purchase the property, as their mortgage has been approved already. This can help speed up the sales process.

What Are Some Common Delays in the House Sale Process?

A house sale process can be delayed for various reasons. Some of the most common delays include:

Property Finance Issues and Mortgage Approvals

It can take a long time to apply for a mortgage. Most of your cash inflows and outflows are scrutinised and your spending affects how much you can borrow. If you need quick finance solutions to bridge the gap between properties, please contact us for expert advice.

Legal and Conveyancing Delays

Legal and conveyancing delays are another common occurrence in the house sale process. This is because an experienced solicitor will need to review all of the documents associated with the property, including title deeds, mortgage documents, planning permission, contracts of sale, etc. These checks are essential for ensuring that all of the paperwork is accurate and that the sale can go ahead without any complications. 

Survey Complications

Discovering the need for significant repairs or renovations during the inspection phase can delay the sale as parties negotiate repairs or reconsider the terms of the deal. You may need to offer a price reduction to speed up the process.

House Chain-Related Issues

If the buyer of your property is also a seller of their property, a chain is created. This can result in major delays if their current sale faces any difficulties or issues. Your sale may have to be postponed until their sale is completed, which may take years or months.

Slow Responses or Lack of Communication

Again, a lack of quick communication can also delay the house sale process. If any of the parties involved in the sale are slow to respond or unresponsive, it can cause delays and potential issues.

Issues with Property Title

A property title gives you the legal authority to use, change, or sell a property. But sometimes, the title can have problems that can make the buying or selling process difficult. Here are some usual title problems:

  • Land registry issues: The register may not reflect the current owner, the property boundaries, or the rights of way. This would need to be amended before the sale could continue.

  • Boundary issues: The correct boundaries of a property may be disputed. This can affect the sale or value of a property. 
  • Fraud and forgery: The title of a property can be affected by fraud and forgery, which create false or invalid claims, transfers, or registrations.
  • Unregistered land: Physical title deeds and documents are needed to prove ownership of unregistered land. Some properties are unregistered with the Land Registry, often because they have been owned by the same people for a long time. These documents can be damaged, lost, or incomplete, which makes the confirmation of the title harder.
  • Liens and encumbrances: The title of a property can be impacted by liens and encumbrances, which can lower its value, stop its sale, or slow down its transfer.

Unforeseen Legal or Regulatory Changes

When the law or rules change in a way that impacts the process or outcome of a house sale, and the parties involved did not expect or foresee it, these are unforeseen legal or regulatory changes. Some examples of these changes are:

  • Changes in the use or value of the property due to changes in planning or environmental regulations.
  • Changes in the rights or obligations of the buyer or seller due to changes in consumer protection or contract law.
  • Changes in the availability or affordability of financing for the buyer due to changes in mortgage or lending rules.

If you need bridging finance to bridge the gap between properties or are at risk of repossession, contact TIC Finance; we can help you.

Property Finance Experts in the UK

Whatever type of property finance you need to suit your circumstances, we can help you. With our industry knowledge and expertise, this places you in the best care.

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