Can I Speed Up A Property Sale?

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Buying and selling property isn’t generally a quick affair.

According to Rightmove, the average period of time between having an offer accepted and completion is currently 150 days (21.5 weeks) in 2023, and all kinds of factors can slow the process down. But what if you want or need to move faster than that? Is there a way of speeding things up?

Of course, the first thing is to show your home to best advantage in order to attract some good offers from the start, and perhaps arm yourself with our advice on what puts buyers off. If you’re in the lucky position of having several serious offers to choose from and speed is of the essence, then it’s wise to go with the buyer who’s most ready to go – ideally a cash buyer with no related sale and therefore no chain. In this dream situation, you could be completing within six weeks – if everything goes according to plan.

However, many things can happen to slow down a property transaction, and as the vendor you won’t have control over all of them. Property chains can be long and complex, and anything affecting any involved parties can threaten the entire chain – and some of this just comes down to luck. But happily there some things you do have control over, and one of them is the people around you. Your estate agent and your solicitor will probably be the most important people in your life during this slightly fraught period, and it’s important to choose people with experience and skill. A good agent will be communicating with solicitors daily to help sales along and keep all balls in the air: solicitors may be busy and you and your agent will want to keep your deal on top of their pile.

It’s also important to be upfront with your agent and solicitor about anything you suspect might hold up your sale. Is there anything unusual about your lease? Are you uncertain about building regulations records for your kitchen extension? Is your roof in poor condition? Don’t just hope these things won’t arise: they will. It’s always best to be prepared and provide your solicitor with any relevant information and paperwork in advance so that they will be able to answer any questions that come to them. Every phone call, email and letter adds to the time the deal takes and days can be lost in waiting for people to come back with necessary information.

And lastly there’s finance. Having money in place at the start of the procedure will ensure that your deal isn’t derailed by an unexpected response from a mortgage company. Make sure that your mortgage is agreed and that all forms are filled in correctly (we have heard of contracts not being exchanged due to an error in a single postcode digit on the mortgage application). Check, and double check, and ideally go with a financial advisor who knows exactly what to look for.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do is to enlist savvy professionals and check in with them daily. It doesn’t have to take 150 days if you’re prepared to keep close tabs on every stage – as long as you also have a little luck.

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Winkworth are members of Laurel Leaf Networking.

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