Hi James here, this article was kindly contributed for us by Jonathan Rolande, a property expert based in Worthing. Jonathan runs HouseBuyFast a property buying company who boldly claim “We buy any house, anywhere in the UK, in any condition!“. Jon has a lot of knowledge on the topic of buying and selling houses and I hope you enjoy the article. If you’re an expert in your field whether its financial services, property or any other money saving topic and would like to write for Money Saving Ninjas drop me an email on info [at] moneysavingninjas [dot] com. Here’s the article…
Planning to sell your house and need a quick sale? According to Hometrack the average time it takes to sell a house in the UK is six weeks. But this can vary greatly by region – from an average of four weeks in the South East to 10 weeks in the North East (our record is four hours!).
The length of time can also vary greatly by property. But the good news is that, while selling a house can seem frustratingly slow at times, especially if you’re in a hurry, there are several things you can do to help speed up the process.
11 ways you can help sell your house fast
To help you sell your house fast, here are 11 things you can do.
1) Deal with any structural issues
If you want to sell your house fast, then you need to make sure your home will breeze through any valuation. So don’t wait until an observant surveyor notices a leaky roof or signs of dampness – give your house a thorough once-over and identify any structural issues and deal with them first. If you do get any work done, keep hold of the documentation and any warranties.
2) Get your legal documents ready
Often it’s the conveyancing process that is responsible for slowing down a house sale. So again, make sure you’re prepared before starting it, and gather anything your (or your buyer’s) solicitor may ask for.
This can include title deeds, planning permission, guarantees for work carried out, Building Regulation completion certificates, electrical and gas installation certificates, and utility bills. And once the process is started, ensure you respond quickly to any requests from your solicitor.
3) Do your own local authority search
Many buyers will want the peace of mind of a local authority search (also known as local land charges search or local search) to check that a dual carriageway isn’t about to be built at the end of your garden, or the unused land next door isn’t contaminated.
These can take up to six weeks to come through, so you may want to consider ordering one once you’ve made the decision to sell, and passing on the cost (usually over £130) to your buyer.
4) Choose your conveyancer wisely
When choosing a solicitor to handle your house sale, look for a company that holds a Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) certificate (this is accredited by the Law Society) and other accreditations like Lexcel (the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and excellence in client care). Ensuring your house sale is in the best hands can help avoid any frustrating delays from incompetence.
5) Complete your documentation quickly
If you need a speedy house sale, YOU don’t want to be the one responsible for holding up the process. So make sure that you complete any forms your solicitor asks for quickly. These can include a property information form, fittings and contents form, and leasehold information form.
6) Choose your completion date
If you want to sell your house fast, your completion date may just be ASAP! But it’s important to let your solicitor know. So explain you want a fast sale, and when you’d like completion to be. If there are any dates you cannot do, make these clear upfront. This will save time later on negotiating dates that work for everyone.
7) Choose your estate agent carefully
The right estate agent can make a BIG difference to the speed at which you find a buyer (and the price you get for your home), so choose wisely. Start by asking for recommendations, then call the agents posing as a buyer to get a first impression (would you buy from them?).
Then make a shortlist of three and ask them for a valuation. Ask them how much they charge and what the tie-in period is – and how long they think it will take to sell your home.
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Other considerations include the quality of their photographs (most people search for homes online, and professional photos can help to encourage more viewings), where they advertise, and what type of buyers they tend to attract. For example, if your home is likely to appeal to someone local, then it’s worth considering a small, local firm with a good local network. But if your buyers are more likely to be from out of town, then it may be wise to go with a chain with offices and networks in other towns or cities.
8) Be present for viewings
If you’d like to hurry along with your house sale, make sure you’re present at viewings. Not only are you the most knowledgeable about your property, so you can answer any questions there and then, but actually meeting the vendor and getting a personal insight into the property can help clinch a sale. And finally, you can ask any serious buyers about their situation, and whether they would want (or be able to complete) a quick purchase.
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9) Make your house desirable
Once you’ve covered the obvious things (neat, attractive décor, clean and tidy rooms, and garden), it can be the little things that make your house irresistible and homely. Things like ensuring your drive are empty to give an unrestricted view of it, making sure your house is well aired and smells nice (flowers or baking cakes can help with this), polishing taps, and even laying up the table for dinner.
Other small (but important) finishing touches include making sure all curtains and blinds are pulled to let in as much light as possible and leaving the heating on a cold day, so your home feels warm and welcoming not cold and inhospitable!
10) Depersonalise and declutter
Sometimes when you live in a house you become used to all your ‘stuff’ and aren’t able to see it through a potential buyer’s eyes. So be ruthless. Declutter as much as possible, to help your home seem bigger (if it’s full of clutter buyers may assume there’s not enough space or it’s hard to keep clear). You can go as far as taking furniture out of rooms if they’re cramped too.
Also remove as many personal traces as possible, such as family photos or children’s artwork. This will make it easier for buyers to visualize their family living there.
11) Chase everyone
It’s unlikely your house sale isn’t the only one your solicitor or estate agent is handling. So it’s not always going to be front of mind for them – nor your buyer’s solicitor. This means that, if you want your house sale to proceed as quickly as possible, you need to stay on top of it.
So, at every stage of your house sale – from finding a buyer to conveyancing – call everyone regularly, especially if you’re expecting a call, email, document, or information on a particular day.
Ask to be blindly copied on all outgoing emails by everyone, too. This way you’ll be able to spot and deal with any potential issues early and keep your house sale on schedule and on track.