8 Things You Must Do For A Quick House Sale

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  • A typical sale takes around 19 weeks to complete from start to finish
  • Plenty of time for things to go wrong and the sale to abort
  • There are simple steps you can take to speed up the process 

Achieving a quick sale is not simply desirable in itself. A sale that goes through smoothly and quickly is less likely to be terminated or aborted – causing wasted fees, lost time and frustration for all concerned.

Up to one in three sales fail to go through.

According to the government, aborted sales cost consumers £270 million each year.

Last month (January 2019) Housing & Homelessness Minister Heather Wheeler announced plans to speed up the house buying process and reduce failed sales.

According to RICS, it normally takes 19 weeks to complete a sale from placing a property on the market to moving out – plenty of time in which something can go wrong.

However there are 8 steps you can take to help your sale go through as quickly as possible.

By doing these things you can speed up your sale by weeks and reduce the risk of it failing to complete.

This blogs considers the position when selling in England & Wales.

1. Know where you are moving to

A large proportion of sales fall through because sellers can’t find somewhere suitable to move to after having agreed to sell.

Odd as it seems, many sellers place their property on the market without thoroughly working out their move – not only in terms of where they are moving to, but also the practical and financial side of things. 

If you are buying after selling, as opposed to renting, your challenges are likely to be greater. You will need to know how much money you will have after your sale and a clear idea of what you can afford to buy and where.

At the outset, obtain a redemption statement for each mortgage on your property, so that you can do the necessary financial calculations. 

Some people like to find a buyer before looking in earnest for a property to purchase. However, it probably makes more sense to know the property you would like to buy, or at least the type of property and location, when you place your property on the market.

You should know your position if things don’t go according to plan. For instance, if you cannot find a suitable property to buy, are you prepared to move into temporary rental accommodation or stay with family or friends? If so, you should make prior plans. 

2. Get your property ready for sale

Take the practical steps necessary to put your property on the market with it looking at its very best.

This could involve throwing out unwanted furniture and possessions or putting items in storage.

Decluttering will enable buyers to appreciate the size and potential of your property and may help you to find a buyer quicker.

Decorate, style or stage your property to maximise its appeal to the widest range of buyers.

You should ensure that your property looks its absolute best, focussing on the external part of the building and the garden/outside space, as well as the interior.


3. Line up the professionals who will help you

Whilst you are preparing your property to be placed on the market,  line up the professionals to help you with your sale.

Identify the estate agent most likely to sell your property the fastest – choose an agent that specialises in selling your type of property. 

Decide the conveyancer you are going to use once a buyer is found.

You may also need to engage with a mortgage broker if you are buying as well as selling, and need a mortgage to finance your purchase.

5 smart steps to sell your home fast (simple practical steps to speed up selling)
Selling fast for a good price (how to get the best price when you need to sell fast)
How to speed up your sale (effective things you can do to find a buyer fast)

4. Be present during viewings

You will know more about your property and locality than your estate agent and therefore it is highly desirable to be in attendance during viewings.

You can answer questions then and there, without time being lost due to the agent having to seek answers from you at a later time. 

5. Respond to a lack of interest in your property 

If there is limited interest in your property whilst it is on the market, that could mean it is over-priced.

Insisting on a price which is too high for the market is likely to slow your sale, if you find a buyer at all.

If the price is holding back your sale, discuss the position with your agent and be realistic if you are advised to reduce the price.

When is the best time to sell? (timing your sale for maximum advantage)
Which is the best season to sell? (deciding on the time of year to sell)
Selling before a crash (should you hold or sell if you fear big house price falls?)

6. Go for the shortest chain where appropriate 

A “chain” is where you are selling a property and there is more than one sale-purchase transaction.

For instance, in addition to your sale to the buyer… you could be buying and your buyer could be selling.

The longer the chain, the slower your sale, the more likely things are to go wrong somewhere down the chain.

Where possible and appropriate, you will want to avoid a chain or go with the buyer who will cause the shortest chain. 


7. Respond promptly to your conveyancer

As part of the legal procedure in selling your property, your conveyancer will ask you to provide answers to “pre-contract enquiries”, being questions about your property and its contents raised by the buyer’s conveyancer.

You should provide replies to these and any other enquiries or questions as soon as possible.

If say you take two weeks to respond, that could delay your sale by up to two weeks.

Where you are unable to answer all the enquiries, let your conveyancer know and forward the answers you are able to provide at that stage.

8. Don’t go away in the middle of your sale

Ideally you should avoid going away – such as taking a vacation – during the sale process.

Email and the phone can take care of a lot of things – but there may be times when you are required in person, for example to sign a legal document.


Even if you do everything you can to speed up your sale, it can still proceed slowly because of your conveyancer, the buyer or any number of other factors.

However by following the 8 steps set out above, you will destroy or reduce the risk of delay on your part. 

You will significantly reduce the chance of your sale failing – with the consequential disappointment, inconvenience and financial losses that can entail. 

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Have you ever been involved in a sale which was aborted? What was the impact on you?  Please leave your observations or comments below.

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Dalton Barrett
Rebel Property Coach

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