David Andrews Blog

How long will it take? - Jan 14

“How Long Will It Take?”


If I could have a pound for every time I have been asked this question, I would be a very rich man!! 

In addition, if I could have another pound for the number of times I have heard of another estate agent, or property professional, being far too optimistic with their answer, I would be even richer! 

Several times in my 25 years of helping people to sell their homes, I have analysed the average length of time it takes from a property being placed on the market to an offer being accepted, and then the length of time to completion day, when the money and the keys are handed over. 

Whichever way I have looked at this question, if you place a property on the market at a realistic price for the market at the time, it takes an average of 6 months before you get your money from the sale. Analysing things a bit further, it tends to take an average of about 3 months from agreeing a sale with a buyer, to completion and the money. 

You would think that a correctly priced property might achieve an acceptable offer within a few weeks, and a buyer could get their mortgage, and a solicitor carry out the checks, in another few weeks, and all could be done and dusted in a couple of months – and it could!! In fact, I have seen several situations where a buyer with cash in the bank, and motivated solicitors and surveyors on all sides, complete a deal, from offer to handing over the money, in a week!! I have also seen situations where a buyer who has needed a mortgage has completed a deal in only a few weeks from offer. 

But in the real world of property sales between ordinary people, these speedy occurrences are few and far between. 

These days, when I am asked, “How Long Will It Take?”, I take a deep breath, and start by suggesting we ask “How Long Is A Piece Of String? I then go on to add that, on average, and with a fair wind, 6 months is a reasonable estimate from the start of marketing to completion and moving out. Once a buyer is found, and a price agreed, 3 months becomes a reasonable estimate. I also stress that this is an average, and it can be much quicker in some cases, and much longer in others. 

So….. if an estate agent tells you that they will sell your house very quickly, for lots of money, I would suggest that you take it with a bit of a pinch of salt – They “might”, but it’s a bit of a sales pitch to suggest that they “will” 

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