New data released by Zoopla shows that the time taken to buy or sell a property has increased quite dramatically over the last couple of years.

For example, the research revealed that:

  • Properties in England are taking almost two weeks (12 days) longer to sell compared to the same time period in 2022
  • On average, homes are on the market for over a month before a sale is agreed.

Such delays can be frustrating for you, regardless of whether you are buying or selling.

To help avoid these frustrations, and to give yourself every chance of completing promptly, discover seven simple ideas as to how you can speed up any sale you are involved in, either personally or as part of a buy-to-let investment portfolio.

1. Be prepared and ready to go

In the same way that you know you would be asking for trouble if you went into a match under-prepared, so it can be with buying or selling a property.

As a result, it can pay dividends to get some advice about the information and paperwork you will need to provide as part of the sales process.

For example, you will need to give evidence of the source of your purchase deposit, such as bank statements confirming where the money is and how it got there.

Furthermore, if you are being gifted money towards your deposit, the donor will need to provide the same details as well as evidence of their identity.

You will also need income evidence, and bank statements showing regular income into your account.

2. Appoint a solicitor before you start

As part of your preparation, you should look to appoint a solicitor to act on your behalf. Ideally, you should have one in place when you start house hunting.

Many people only appoint a solicitor when they make an offer on a house, but this can add weeks to a property sale.

A solicitor will need to make lots of checks, such as anti-money laundering. So, by providing evidence in advance, you can save time and prevent any unnecessary obstructions.

If you are unsure who to use, you could do some research online, or ask someone you trust who has bought or sold property recently if they can recommend the conveyancing expert they used.

3. Get your property ready for sale

If you are selling a property, you need to ensure it is in a good state for selling. You should do all you can to help get a quick offer from those visiting. Remember: they may be looking at a lot of different properties, so you should look to remove anything that might inhibit them from making an offer if you can.

Fix anything that needs repairing, and remove any overt personalisation, such as artwork and large family pictures, that could put off any potential buyer.

Also remove unnecessary clutter and generally try to make the house or flat look clean, comfortable, and welcoming.

If you believe there are unique or advantageous features that make your property an attractive proposition to a potential buyer, such as a spectacular garden or a recently fitted kitchen, try to ensure they are prepared for viewing in such a way as to show off the best features.

4. Ensure your paperwork is up to date

If you are selling, you can save valuable time by ensuring you have as much of the necessary documentation relating to your property in order before you accept an offer.

This could include:

  • The property title deeds, or knowledge of where they are stored 
  • An up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate, especially if it is a buy-to-let property
  • Building regulations approval for any work you have had completed, together with any relevant guarantee certificates
  • A Gas Safety Certificate and details of your boiler servicing history.

There will also be various forms that your solicitor will need you to complete, such as a detailed questionnaire about the property and the fixtures and fittings you are taking or leaving.

Completing this information in advance can really help speed up a sale.

5. Work towards an agreed target date

By agreeing on a realistic target date for exchange, everyone has a set deadline to work towards. This can give everyone more impetus and structure for completing the process.

If you do not do this, you may find things drift as other parties may not be aware of any urgency.

Meanwhile, if one or both sides are not in a rush to move, it is still worth targeting a particular exchange date and then leaving any extra time between the exchange of contracts and the final completion date.

6. Keep on top of what is going on

Buying and selling property can involve a lot of moving parts, especially if you are part of a chain.

It is important to understand what needs to be done and by what deadline, as you will then have some control over the sale and be able to keep on top of what needs chasing up.

You might want to agree on a weekly update call between all parties at the start of the process to help keep everyone on the same page, and to reduce the chances of any misunderstanding or disagreement.

As a general point, you need to accept that the process is going to take up a lot of your time. Being aware of this can help avoid frustrations.

7. Avoid a chain if you can

Being part of a property chain is the most significant cause of frustration and lengthy delays.

Chains of buyers and sellers can easily reach double figures, and it is important to be aware that the chain is only as fast as its slowest link.

Longer chains also come with a higher risk of someone pulling out and the chain collapsing.

That is why it is perhaps worth considering accepting a lower offer for your property if it is from someone who is not part of an existing chain.

Furthermore, if you are looking to sell quickly, perhaps moving abroad, you might want to consider selling to a professional home-buying company.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss your personal financial situation, then please do get in touch with us at DBL Asset Management.

Email or call 01625 529 499 to speak to us today.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate mortgages.

Buy-to-let (pure) and commercial mortgages are not regulated by the FCA.

Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.