The Duration for Selling a House Once Offer is Accepted

Initiating the conveyancing process marks the inception of accepting an offer on your property. Once an offer has been accepted, it typically takes around 125 days to complete the sale of a house. The duration of the conveyancing process is contingent upon various factors, such as the complexity of the sale and whether you are part of a property chain. Selling a house after accepting an offer can span across several months.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the essential information regarding the time it takes to sell a house once an offer has been accepted. Moreover, we will address any potential delays that may arise during the conveyancing process.

Selling Timescale:

The following is a breakdown of the timescale for selling a house after the offer has been accepted:

Stages of the Conveyancing Process

Average Duration

- Buyer initiating a mortgage application: 17 days

- Buyer receiving a mortgage offer: 21 days

- Conveyancing searches: 34 days

- Pre-contract inquiries: 31 days

- Exchange of contracts: 15 days

- Completion: 7 days

Total Time: 125 days

Selling Timescale Across Different Regions

The average duration for selling a house varies across different regions, as demand fluctuates throughout the country.

The following is the selling timescale across different regions in England:

Region Time from offer accepted to completion

East of England 152 days

East Midlands 135 days

London 129 days

North East 142 days

North West 123 days

South East 119 days

South West 136 days

West Midlands 116 days

Yorkshire and the Humber 109 days

Data obtained from Land Registry and our internal database.

Post-Acceptance Measures for House Sellers

Once you have accepted an offer for your property, it is crucial to engage the services of a conveyancer promptly. Instructing your conveyancer immediately after accepting the offer will facilitate a smooth conveyancing process with minimal delays.

The conveyancing process entails the period between accepting an offer and completion. The buyer's conveyancer conducts thorough due diligence on the property, while the seller's conveyancer ensures that all queries are addressed satisfactorily. This is done to guarantee the contentment of both parties involved in the transaction.

The primary responsibility of your conveyancer is to guide you through the process and ensure that any legal jargon is explained clearly. They will compile all pertinent documents relating to the property and forward them to the buyer's conveyancer, who will then arrange for searches and raise pre-contract inquiries.

Commencing your search for a conveyancer as soon as you list your property on the market is highly recommended. This approach allows ample time to conduct thorough research and select the conveyancer that best suits your needs. Online reviews and recommendations from friends and family can significantly aid in making an informed decision.

The Process Between Accepting an Offer and Completion

Once you have accepted an offer, the conveyancing process will commence. This process typically takes an average of 125 days to complete. There are specific steps that need to be followed before the transaction can be finalized.

If you are the buyer, there are additional tasks to complete. You will need to apply for a mortgage and await the issuance of your mortgage offer. The same applies if you are purchasing a property with a mortgage.

After instructing your conveyancer, here are the main steps you will need to follow. Keep in mind that more steps may be necessary in complex sales.

Conducting Conveyancing Searches - A 34-Day Process

One of the crucial tasks carried out by the buyer's conveyancer is conducting conveyancing searches. These searches aim to identify any issues related to the property and its surrounding area, such as flood risks, subsidence, and radon gas levels. Negative search results can lead the buyer to renegotiate their offer or withdraw from the transaction. It is therefore advisable to conduct these searches as early as possible to identify any problems promptly.

Conducting conveyancing searches may take some time, approximately 34 days on average, for the results to be obtained by both the seller and the buyer.

Addressing Pre-Contract Enquiries - A 31-Day Stage

Once the buyer receives the search and survey results and reviews the property's title documents, the pre-contract enquiry stage begins. These enquiries are communicated through conveyancers. The buyer may adjust their offer based on the results they receive and might request specific features to remain in the property, such as light fixtures or furniture.

The duration of the pre-contract enquiry stage may vary depending on the circumstances of each case. On average, this stage takes around 31 days to complete.

Exchanging Contracts - A 15-Day Process

Once both parties agree to proceed, the exchange of contracts occurs. This stage legally binds the transaction, meaning that withdrawing from the sale would result in legal and financial penalties.

The exchange of contracts usually requires less time compared to the previous stages, as all the details should be finalized beforehand. On average, it takes approximately 15 days for the contracts to be exchanged.

Completion Day - A 7-Day Stage

The final stage of the process is completion day. On this day, the keys are handed over to the buyer, allowing them to move into the property. As the seller, it is crucial to ensure that you have vacated the premises by this date since the property will no longer be yours.

Completion day can sometimes coincide with the day of contract exchange, although this is not common. Typically, completion occurs approximately one week after the exchange of contracts. At this point, you will receive the proceeds from the sale, while the buyer is responsible for paying any stamp duty within 30 days, although your conveyancer usually arranges this for you.

Potential Causes of Sale Delays

Several factors can impede the progress of a sale, causing inconveniences for both parties. To prevent delays, it is advisable to engage the services of a solicitor as soon as you accept an offer.

Here are some common factors that may cause conveyancing delays:

Waiting for Buyer Search Results: Delays can arise when waiting for the buyer's conveyancing search results to be returned. It typically takes between 2 and 6 weeks to complete these searches. However, difficulties in obtaining certain property information can prolong the process.

Waiting for Buyer Survey Results: Another potential delay is waiting for the survey results. The type of survey conducted will determine the time required to complete it. For example, a Level 3 Building Survey will take longer than a Level 2 HomeBuyer Survey. Negative survey results can influence the buyer's decision to proceed with the transaction.

Buyer's Anticipation of a Mortgage Offer

Prior to proceeding with the transaction, it is highly likely that your buyer will need to arrange a mortgage. The process of receiving the mortgage offer typically takes around four weeks. However, it is important to be aware that delays can occur. If you are purchasing a property, it is crucial to monitor your own mortgage offer, as it will expire within a period of three to six months.

Impediments of a Lengthy Property Chain

If you are involved in a property chain, you may experience delays. This is due to the nature of simultaneously buying and selling a property. Property chains can be responsible for delays, as they rely on other individuals engaging in property transactions. In the event that one party's transaction falls through, the rest of the property chain may be negatively affected.

Entertaining Multiple Offers as a Seller

Sellers have the option to consider more than one offer. Once an offer is accepted, the property is marked as "Sold Subject to Contract" (SSTC). However, if you receive a higher offer before the transaction becomes legally binding, you can opt to accept the higher offer. This process is commonly known as "gazumping."

The Disadvantages of Gazumping

Gazumping is generally discouraged due to the inconvenience it causes for both the buyer and the seller. In such cases, both parties will lose the money they have invested in solicitor fees, conveyancing searches, and various other costs associated with the process.

Accepting Another Offer After Initial Acceptance

The transaction does not become legally binding until the exchange of contracts is finalized. Consequently, it is permissible to accept another offer prior to this exchange without facing any legal consequences.

However, if you do choose to accept another offer before exchanging contracts, you will forfeit the money you have already spent. The decision to accept the new offer must be weighed against the potential losses incurred at different stages of the process.

Finding a Qualified Conveyancer

At Compare My Move, our extensive network consists of licensed conveyancers who are readily available to assist you with the sale of your property. We can link you with up to six regulated conveyancers who are members of reputable organizations such as the SRA, CLC, LSS, LSNI, or CILEX.

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