Posted by Vivo_Team on August 18th, 2021

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When it comes to selling your house, you’ll likely be wondering how long it will take for the sale to go through. Whilst the average time to sell a home is two to three months according to the Post Office, there is no set timeline as it can be impacted by several things. For example, whether your house is marketed at the right price, how long the buyers take to complete the various stages such as getting a mortgage or how long the chain is. We look at the different stages of selling your home, how long they each take, and what factors could disrupt or add time to the process.

How long does it take to get an offer for your home?

Unfortunately, there is no set timescale for getting an offer on your house – it could be snapped up in a few days or take months. This is because it's dependent on many factors, such as:

Where your house is

the average time to get an offer varies across the country; houses in London tend to take longer to sell compared to those in Scotland. Since COVID-19, areas on the outskirts on London have been in high demand, selling much quicker than inner city properties.


Similar properties for sale in the area

simply put the more houses on the market in your area, the greater the competition. If there are more houses than buyers, unless your property stands out, it may take longer to sell


Which estate agent you choose

selecting a poor agent can have a detrimental impact on how long it takes to get an offer. Do your research and make sure you select a reputable one with good reviews and a good track record of selling homes promptly.



ensure your property is competitively priced to avoid deterring your target buyers. Listen to your agent’s advice – they know the market best and what asking price is realistic.



make sure you are happy with how your estate agent is marketing your home. If the pictures don’t show your home in the best light, it could also be putting off potential buyers.

How long do property searches take?

Once you have received an offer and you’ve accepted it, the buyer will instruct their solicitors who will undertake several searches, including:

Local authority searches

they will review all available information about the property including whether it is listed or in a conservation area.


Land registry searches

these confirm that the seller is the legal owner and is legally required before the sale can go ahead.


Environmental searches

these searches look at whether the house is built on or close to land that was used for landfill or industry, such as mining, in the past.

These property searches can take 2-3 weeks to complete, but this isn’t set in stone as the solicitors are reliant on external bodies, such as councils, to provide the information. Additionally, if anything untoward is revealed in the surveys, the solicitors are going to want to make further enquiries, extending this process. Also, it demands on the time of year you’re selling. With the recent Stamp Duty holiday causing a boom in sales, the demand has resulted in searches in some areas taking longer due to a backlog.

How long does a mortgage application take?

At the same time as instructing solicitors to start the property searches, a buyer will be applying for a mortgage. Before someone puts an offer in on your home, they should already have a mortgage in principle based on basic financial information and a credit check. However, this does not mean your buyer will be granted a full mortgage from that lender so it could extend the mortgage approval process if not accepted.

When it comes to the full mortgage application, this can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks as long as there are no issues with the application and they receive all the required information on time (e.g. pay slips, bank statements, proof of address, proof of deposit etc).

Once they have all the information, the lender will carry out a valuation survey to determine if the asking price is in line with what you want to borrow. The valuation survey itself can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks, impacting the mortgage approval process. If the lender is happy with the outcome of this survey (i.e. the house isn’t worth less than you’re asking to borrow) and that the buyer can afford the mortgage based on the financial information provided, they will offer a mortgage.

How long does a house survey take?

A house survey is different to the survey your mortgage provider will do and the property searches your solicitor will do. A house survey looks at the condition of the property to flag any issues to the buyer. It is not a compulsory survey, but one that buyers are likely to do to ensure they don’t buy a house with problems.

There are three levels of house survey:
Level one: basic overview of the condition of the property to highlight significant issues but doesn’t go into detail.
Level two: covers everything in level one as well as highlighting problems such as damp or subsidence. This is the most popular type of survey.
Level three: this is a full structural survey of the house and its condition, so is recommended for older properties.

The level selected will have an impact on how long it takes to complete the survey; for example, level one generally takes less than an hour to complete, level two 2-4 hours and level three will take around a day. Once the survey is completed the report will need to be drawn up which can be between 5 and 10 days, again depending on the level you opt for.

If the survey raises any issues, before the contracts are provided, you may need to fix them which may take a few days or weeks depending on the complexity of the issues.

How long does it take to exchange contracts?

Once all surveys are completed and your buyer has a mortgage offer and buildings insurance, it is time for exchange! This is where the buyer and seller sign contracts agreeing to proceed, and the deposit is paid. This is legally binding so neither party can back out unless they’re willing to take a financial hit.

Whilst it takes a while to get to this point, exchanging contracts is very quick and involves the solicitors for the buyers and sellers having a phone call (once the contracts are signed!).

How long does it take to complete following exchange?

You’ve reached the final stage, but how long will it take to complete? Upon exchanging contracts, the solicitors will agree on a completion date which they are legally obliged to stick with. This date will depend on what the buyer and seller want, as well as anyone else along the chain. You can complete on the same day as exchange or be a few months in the future, however, the most common timeline from exchange to completion is two to four weeks.

How can Vivo help you sell your house faster?

If you are struggling to sell your home in the timeline you need, Vivo can buy your property on a timescale that suits you (which can be in as little as 7 days!). Not only that, but we also cover all of the costs including surveys and legal fees. Get in touch today by completing our online form for a no-obligation offer on your home.

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