With tons of conflicting information out there about the property market, it’s very tricky for homeowners to get a good grip on the status of the market. Recently, the Halifax released data that showed that house prices have increased by 5% since last quarter. However, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors reported that house prices have taken a turn for the worse.

The stats are equally confusing when you’re looking at how long it takes to sell a house in the UK. Many articles just consider the time it takes to find a buyer. According to this article by Accelerate Homes, the time a property stays on the market widely varies across the UK and London currently has an average of 126 days on the market.

However, when selling a house, it’s a little more complicated than that and it’s not just about finding a buyer/accepting an offer. There are several stages of the selling process and they will often involve other people, thereby increasing the possibility of delays. We’ve put together this little guide of the steps involved in the selling process and the average amount of time expected at each stage:

  1. Getting a mortgage approved – 24 hours, in principle. But from application to approval, it can take around a month (18-40 days according to the Home Owners Alliance)
  2. From listing your home to offer being accepted – 10 weeks
  3. Property/conveyance searches stage – 36 days
  4. Arranging the mortgage – 3-6 weeks
  5. From property searches to the exchange of contracts – 58 days
  6. Exchange of contracts to completion – 4-6 weeks

TOTAL TIME: 6 months

(Data above taken from www.viewmychain.com)

How to minimise delays when selling your house

It’s very easy for delays to occur when you’re selling your house – especially when other people are involved. However, there are ways to be smart and keep on top of things to avoid delays. Here are a few tips you could follow:

Prepare all your finances well in advance

Check your credit score as early as possible and look at all the suggestions to improve it, if necessary. Sometimes there may be errors on your credit rating, which could negatively impact you getting a loan.

Prepare all the documentation you will need to apply for a mortgage and have all the evidence ready to back anything up.

Use a mortgage broker

Mortgage brokers have the experience and expertise to get things done quicker. They can arrange for an Agreement in Principle so you can get a good indication from a lender as to what you can borrow. This figure will be based on the details you’ve given them about your income and spending, and they won’t be checked. Therefore, this will just be tentative, but it will also not affect your credit rating. It will give the seller the impression that you are serious about the offer and that a bank is willing to back you.

Research your conveyancer

You should do a lot of research in advance about which conveyancing solicitor you want to use and be ready for them to start work as soon as the offer is accepted. You want to pick a conveyancer who is most experienced in the particular type of home you’re selling. For example, if your buyer is using a government scheme such as Help To Buy, then the process is a bit more complicated.

Be responsive

There will be lots of questions going back and forth between yourself and your conveyancer and your mortgage lender. Some of these queries will naturally cause delays, but you can do your bit by being as responsive as possible.