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So you have a property that you need to sell fast but you also want to get a good price…you don’t want to giveaway your property. Is that possible or is it wanting to have your cake and eat it?

The good news is that you can sell fast without compromising unduly on price. 

However, the extent of your success will depend on selecting the right type of selling agent. Further, it will be greatly affected by the popularity of your property and the market conditions at the time of your sale.

Here are the ins and outs of maximising your price as you sell in a hurry in England & Wales. 

1. What do we mean by “sell fast”

The received wisdom is that at the present time a property takes around 10 weeks to sell on average. Here “sell” means receiving an acceptable offer from a buyer.

Of course averages can be very misleading. A small cheap terraced house in a popular area may sell in a few weeks; a multi-million pound property anywhere in the country could take several years before it sells.

For the purpose of this blog, “fast” means 6 to 8 weeks, a few weeks less than the 10 weeks average.

“Very fast” means sale by auction. How fast you sell depends on how far away the auction is.

If the auction is next week and you have enough time to get your property in the auction, you may be able to sell it (sign a binding contract) in a week. However if a property is placed in an auction at the last minute, potential buyers may fail to see it and accordingly it may not achieve the best possible price. 


2. What do we mean by “”good price”

People use the term “good price” all the time but in truth it is not a precise term.

One person’s good price may be another person’s average price or even poor price. A good price for a buyer is unlikely to be a good price for a seller.

To give some objectivity to things, this blog sees a “good price” as the value placed on a property by a professional valuer – who will of course be following established and accepted principles and practices when calculating the value.

The valuer’s price will typically be adjusted upwards to give the “asking price” – in recognition of the convention that buyers typically want a price reduction of at least 5% before agreeing to buy. 

The stronger the property market the less able a buyer will be able to push down the asking price; and vice versa.

Therefore, your chances of getting a good price as a seller will be best when property prices are on the up.


3. Selling by auction   

If you need to sell as fast as possible, or by a specific date, you will probably do best going for sale by auction.

With a regular sale, referred to as a “sale by private treaty”, not only may it take the average 10 weeks to get an acceptable offer, it will typically take another 6-10 weeks before contracts are “exchanged”, creating a binding contract.

On top of that, there may be another 1-3 weeks before the sale is legally completed and keys are handed over. 

With an auction, the contract is formed when the highest bid is accepted by the auctioneer and legal completion is usually 4 weeks later.

However, while great for speed, auctions are not ideal in terms of getting a good price for your property.   

Buyers buying on auction do so to get a bargain. Traditionally it was said that prices at auctions were 20-25% less than non-auction prices.  Whether that is still true is debatable.

You can ask the auctioneer to set a “reserve” – an amount below which your property will not be sold. However, if you set the reserve too high you run the risk that the highest bid will be below the reserve, leaving your property unsold (although you may be able to sell it immediately after the auction by negotiating with interested bidders).

Traditionally auctions catered for “problem properties”, properties with an issue or two which made them unmortgageable and unsuitable for sale by private treaty.  

However with some properties and at certain times in the market cycle, sellers can boost sale prices by auctioning properties which are mortgageable and could be sold by private treaty. 

As with most things with property, there is no hard and fast rule. However, if your property is mortgageable, you are usually unlikely to get a good price by placing it on auction.

You may get a better price by placing your property with an agent who specialises in quick sales and has a strong data base of cash buyers and investors who may bid up the price. 

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4. Using a regular estate agent.

If you are happy to sell “fast” rather than “very fast”, instructing a regular estate agent (rather than an auctioneer) is likely to be your most appropriate alternative.

You will want to instruct an agent who comes highly recommended by someone you know who has used them in the recent past.

Of course they should rate highly for professionalism, speed and efficiency.

If you are unable to secure a personal recommendation, carry out your own thorough due diligence checks online and offline, relying on ratings, media coverage and any other material information you can get your hands on.

If you know any, speak to highly skilled and experienced property people in your locality, such as:

  • Conveyancers
  • Architects
  • Developers
  • Builders
  • Property investors
  • Buy to let landlord
  • Property mentors/coaches
  • Property sourcers.

They may have in depth knowledge of the different types of agents locally; for instance, those that specialise in:

  • High value, period or exceptional properties
  • Mid-value properties
  • Properties in poor condition suitable for light or heavy refurbishment
  • Semi-commercial properties
  • Very large properties
  • Flats or apartments
  • Ex-council properties
  • Buy to let or investment properties
  • Low value terraced houses.

By identifying an agent who specialises in the specific type of property you are selling, you can get your property to the most suitable agent – which can only help you on speed and price.

Remember that there is an increasing variety of property sellers these days, offering different degrees of service and different commission structures.

Assess carefully the level of service on offer to see if it meets your objectives in terms of speed and price.

A key point to take into consideration is the popularity of your property.

If you are selling a highly popular property – for instance in a good road near to good schools and other facilities – your property is probably going to sell for a good price and fast, even if you don’t give it to the ideal agent for you.


5. Importance of market conditions

Pretty much everything said so far is subject to prevailing market conditions – especially extreme conditions.

If you are selling in the middle of an economic crisis such as in 2008 when house prices fell by 16.9% (according to Nationwide), probably you are not going to get a good price for your property and it is not going to sell fast.

In such and similar extreme circumstances, the prudent thing to do is to wait for more favourable market conditions – assuming of course you are in a position to do so.

If there is a secret to selling for a good price fast, it is to plan your property affairs with meticulous care so that you can always choose when to sell.

Have you ever had to sell in a hurry? How did it go? Please leave your comments below.

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Dalton Barrett
Rebel Property Coach

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  1. My husband and I had our own property. After we got married, we decided to live in my property because he was heavily mortgaged. After researching the property value, we put the property up for sale. Both being very naive about selling properties, we were given very negative advice. I asked my husband to pull the house off the market and began asking other agents and friends what to do. We were exasperated but did not want to sell at a loss. One estate agent told us that we would not sell above £65k. Another told us that no one would buy the property as we lived on a bend. I told this agent I would go to auction. My husband was a nervous wreck. The house had been on the market for six months by now and we were asked to drop the price even further. The auctioneer explained that the house would sell below market value if I went to auction. They advised me to put the property with multiple agents with a 10% fee to the one who sold first. That was done and eventually we got the asking price. The key point was we got a sale when we went with multiple agents.

    I wish I had the benefit of your information in your blog at that time. Thank you Rebel Property Coach.

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