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How to Sell Your House Fast in 2024

SOLD board showing how to sell house fast

There are many circumstances where a fast home sale could be just what you are looking for.

Your options when looking at how to sell a house quickly include cash house buying companies, auctions, online quick sale estate agents, online agents, and the more traditional high street estate agencies.

Each method of sale has its pros and cons. Ultimately, your choice in which way to sell your house fast should be driven by how quickly you need to do so. This will depend on your own unique circumstances and is something you will need to think carefully about.

But fear not – In this guide, we compare the pros and cons of each route to sell any house quickly and look at their typical timescales to completion.

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Comment on the current UK housing market
(from the desk of our CEO, Garry Slater)

“We predict there are going to continue to be some very real challenges in selling a house during 2024. This is as a direct result of the UK housing market suffering from the highest interest rate climate we have seen for over 15 years.

The net result is that many homebuyers will struggle to find suitable mortgage finance to buy a new home or to re-finance their exisiting property in the coming year. This means they are having to put their plans on hold. Whilst this may cause real problems for some, there are still a good number of alternative ways in which you could sell your property in 2024. Our Ultimate Guide explains how this is possible.”

1. Sell to a cash house buying company
(4–6 weeks)

Make no mistake. The quickest route to a guaranteed house sale is to sell your property to a cash property buyer. These businesses often market themselves as ‘We Buy Any House’ companies. You may be thinking, but who would offer to buy my house for cash? Companies that buy houses can give you an offer in as little as 24 hours and often complete the transaction in less than a month. In short, this means selling a house without an estate agent and their associated fees but for less than the full value of your property.

Property buying companies offer one of the best ways to sell a house due to their speed and the near certainty of a sale. This is because they specialise in offering quick property sales. Typically, you will receive 75 – 80% of the open market value of your house when selling to one of the many home buying companies.

After receiving your enquiry, the house buying firm will conduct a desktop valuation of your property. This will be done taking into consideration both recent house sale values and also the current condition of your property. After this, a home buyer will make you a cash offer to buy your house fast. Provided you are happy with their offer, they will then send either a local estate agent or independent surveyor. This is so they can double-check the market value of your property.

Following the visit, the home buying company will provide you with a formal offer.

How do house buying companies work?

There are three distinct ways property buying companies work.

  • Direct Purchase (approx. 75-80% market value in 2-6 weeks):

    This approach is often the quickest way to sell your house fast with property buyers purchasing directly using their own cash fund. The process is similar to selling your car through an online car buying platform like WeBuyAnyCar.com

    Cash house buyers will get a cash offer to you, usually within 75 – 80% of your property’s open market value. This often works out be the most successful route when trying to work out how to sell your house quickly.

    The direct purchase approach has a number of benefits. Firstly, it can achieve a very quick house sale indeed. This can be as little as 2-4 weeks. This can be important if you simply need a rapid sale to meet a financial obligation or to repair a failed chain. Second, it involves very little fuss, as you won’t need to appoint an estate agent to visit your property and then for many viewers to look aorund your house. Thirdly, your legal fees will typically be paid by your property buyer. And in some cases, home buying companies have been known to even help with arranging removal firms.

    Generally speaking, cash property buying companies do one of two things when buying houses. Sometimes they refurbish properties and then sell them on for a profit. Sometimes they rent them out as part of a long-term rental portfolio.

    If you are wondering what is the easiest way to sell my house quickly, companies that buy houses often offer the most straightforward way of selling. This is because you are able to sell your house ‘as is’ for cash without all of the usual worries encountered selling via an estate agent.

  • Assisted Sale (80-85 % market value in 8-12 weeks):

    An assisted sale is when a property buying firm helps arrange a faster house sale to a pre-qualified investor. Investors usually include wealthy landlords, developers and companies that buy houses fast enabling you to sell property quickly. Typically, an assisted sale will take around 8 – 12 weeks to complete and so longer than a direct purchase. Sellers often use this method when needing to sell properties with tenants in place.

  • Auction Sale (80-85% of market value):

    Some home buying firms partner with property auction houses in order to offer auction sales without any of the associated risk. A property buying company will purchase your house for a pre-agreed price, shouldering all the risk, and then take it to auction. This could be either at a physical auction house or online using the Modern Method of Auction (MMoA).

Pros and cons of selling to a cash house buying company

Selling your property quickly to a company that buys houses for cash can have several advantages. Cash home buyers are typically very experienced at handling more complex home sales. These could include selling an inherited property or wanting to sell a rental property.

If you are looking to move suddenly due to money worries or are struggling with the need to stop your home from being repossessed, a property buying company can often help.

Professional home buyers will often purchase non-standard properties. This can be a real life saver if you are trying to sell a house made from concrete or other non-standard form of building method. If you are in this situation, a home buying company is often the quickest way to sell a house.

And the downsides..

However, there are also some downsides to consider if you are looking to sell your house for cash. Firstly, the sale price offered by home buying companies is typically lower than your property’s true market value. Even a good deal may only achieve around 85% of your property’s value, while a bad deal could be as low as 65%. This is because the business models that sit behind companies who buy properties do not allow them to pay the full price.

Another issue is that some of the less reputable cash buyers for houses may offer a price only to reduce this just before the exchange of contracts, This can leave customers with little choice but to accept a lower offer.

A third issue is that some house buying companies can be unreliable or even unscrupulous in some cases. Some may charge upfront fees for surveys and solicitors, while others may pressure you to sell your property as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that any firm you use is a member of a property redress scheme. This will help protect you from unethical practices and ensure that you only work with one of the best quick house sale companies.

2. Sell house quickly at auction (8-12 weeks depending on your chosen route)

Property auctions offer a quick and fairly certain route to market when working out how to sell your house fast.

This is because, once an auction finishes, the winning bidder is legally obliged to pay a 10% deposit for your property and has a month to complete the sale.

Auctions can be particularly useful if you need to sell a less conventional or poorly maintained property. They often attract investors who buy houses for cash and are looking for renovation projects where they can add value and then sell for a profit.

While the idea of selling your property at an auction may bring to mind images of a stuffy room with a man waving a gavel, the modern world of property auctions extends far beyond traditional auction houses. One example of this is the Modern Method of Auction (MMoA). Here we explain the differences between the two routes.

Traditional property auctions

Traditional property auctions involve selling properties through a live, public event where registered bidders compete to buy your property by placing bids. The auctioneer manages the process, and once the highest bid is accepted, your property is considered sold.

The successful bidder must pay a deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) immediately and complete the transaction within a specified timeframe, typically 28 days. This method offers a faster house sale with transparency but can lead to your property selling for less than it’s open market value.

Today, traditional property auctions still happen, but properties tend to be advertised on Zoopla and Rightmove beforehand too. This can result in a large number of people showing up to some auctions and higher prices being paid for your property than was common in the past. And if you’re really lucky you could sell your property for more than the Reserve Price.

 The Modern Method of Auction (MMoA)

The other main auction method, the modern method of auction is an online-based approach to selling your property fast that blends traditional auctions with private sales listings. Buyers interested in buying a property bid through an online bidding platform open for a set period, usually 30 days.

Potential buyers can register, place bids, have ample time for property research, viewings, and securing financing. The easiest way to think about it is to think of eBay, but instead, to sell your home fast.

The winning bidder pays a non-refundable reservation fee, reserving your property and getting a month to exchange contracts and complete the purchase. This method appeals to a broader audience than traditional auctions, allowing more time for buyers to prepare, while achieving a relatively quick property sale.

 The upsides of selling your property at auction

Speed

One advantage auctions have over estate agents is speed. While you may have to wait a few weeks or months for your auction to take place, once it is over, both the buyer and seller has the legal duty to complete on the sale within 28 days.

High sale rates

One of the key benefits of an auction, compared to an estate agent is that you have a greater chance to sell your property fast. While not a guarantee like a cash house buying company, more than 70% of properties put up for auction acheive a fast house sale, compared to the approximate 50% success rate of online estate agents.

Potentially higher sales price

By choosing the right auction for your property, you can potentially generate a lot of competition to sell your house fast. In the spur of the moment this can lead to people overbidding and buying your property for a higher price as the fear of missing out looms large in the buyers mind.

Protecting yourself with a reserve price

To reduce the risk of selling your property for too low a price, you can set a Reserve Price at auction. This means that if the bidding fails to reach a certain point, your property will not be sold. It is important to note that upfront auction fees, typically around £500, are generally payable even if your property does not sell.

 The downsides of selling your property at auction

Typically, a lower sale price

While occasionally, bidding can end in a frenzy and your property could sell for substantially more than the guide price, this is not always the way. Even pro-auction sites estimate that properties sold at auction typically only sell for 80-90% of the price a good estate agent could get for them.

Higher fees

Traditional auctions usually charge about £500 upfront. They also charge around 2% of your property’s selling price, plus VAT, as commission upon exchange of contracts. Auction houses employing the Modern Method of Auction typically charge between 3% and 4% of the selling price.

These fees are significantly higher than what either online or high street estate agents charge.

No guarantee of a quick house sale

Setting a reserve price is a double-edged sword. While this prevents your house from going for far less than its true value, it can also prevent your house from selling.

You still have to wait for the auction to happen

While using an auction house is almost always faster than an estate agent, you will need at least one month to promote the property before it can be put on sale. After this, completion could still be as far as 28 days away. For this reason, if it is speed you are after, an auction may not be the best way to sell your house fast. If you need to complete a sale in less than a month, one of the best tips to sell your house would be to give serious considertion to selling via a cash property buying company.

3. Online quick sale estate agents (8-12 weeks)

There are a bunch of quick house sale estate agencies operating online who claim to be able to sell your house fast and in some cases withing just 28 days or less.

These businesses are essentially a hybrid of an online estate agent like Purple Bricks and cash property buying firms. They often offer the services of both including assisted selling services, as well as cash buying, online auctions, and open market online listings.

These companies’ core business, however, tend to be assisted sales. They will take over your property sale, with the aim to help sell your home quickly. They will offer your property for sale at approximately 80 – 85%, matching cash home buyers who will either be from a pre-existing list of investors, an online property auction or an online listing on the open market.

While they may be able to get you slightly more for your property than a cash house buyer would, they will only get you a good deal when they get lucky. This means finding the perfect homebuyer or investor who can buy houses for cash.

Who are the main Online quick sale estate agents?

  • Springbok

    The oldest and biggest player in the field. Springbok offer a variety of options including cash house purchases and general estate agency. They have a reputation for being reliable and selling property quickly but typically only achieve relatively low prices.

  • GAO (Get an offer)

    Get an offer is an estate agent who focuses on getting their customers an offer within 28 days. As well as listing properties online, they have an extensive list of potential investors who may be abl to buy your property quickly. While some sellers report an excellent experience, many customers are critical of their responsiveness and high fees.

  • Property Solvers

    Offering a variety of services, including auctions, cash property buying and quick estate agency, property solvers have been active as one of the sell house fast companies for almost two decades. While their cash property buying service and auction services often work to the time scale stated, as an estate agent they don’t have any more tricks than a typical online agent. Their estate agency service is known for pricing low to secure a quick sale and has a 28-day tie-in period.

The pros and cons of selling to an online quick house sale agent

  • Quick sale estate agents offer a variety of methods to sell your house faster.
  • They can sometimes use their contacts to find a property investor who is willing to pay cash for houses as well as a decent amount in exchange for a fast home sale.
  • Unfortunately, they often don’t succeed at finding a buyer willing to pay a good price. Instead they often slash the price offered dramatically and get you an ultra-lowball offer— usually around 80% of your property’s market value.
  • Some quick sale agents have also give sellers offers from ‘pre-qualified’ property investors who don’t actually have the funds and flake away just before exchange of contracts.
  • Beyond these pools of investors and their cash home buying services, quick sale online agents can’t actually offer anything more than their better-known online equivalents. Ultimately, they will often struggle to sell your house quickly for anything close to what it is really worth.

Can a regular online estate agent help sell my house fast?

The better-known online estate agents are just as good at selling your property on the open market as any quick sale estate agent and will often list it for a lower fee. They may even do this for free if you are willing to do much of the legwork yourself.

If your home is desirable and is located in a hot market with plenty of buyers and few sellers, listing it with a cheaper online agency can be a good idea, as it will still attract quite a lot of potential buyers.

Considering that online agents only have an 8.94% market share compared to 91.06% for high street agents, it is clear the public agrees with this sentiment.

4. Part exchanging your house via a new build developer
(weeks-months)

An alternative approach to selling your house fast is by participating in a part exchange scheme with a developer. In this arrangement, the developer essentially accepts your existing property as partial payment for the new build. They can effectively act as cash home buyers as they do not have to sell a property themselves in order to buy your property.

Typically, the developer will ask two independent estate agents or surveyors to work out the value of your property and come up with a ‘selling price’. This tends to be considerably lower than your property’s market value to ensure the developer has plenty of ‘wriggle room’ when selling. This is so the developer can achieve a quick property sale to recoup the money spent on buying your old house.

The pros of part exchanging your home

Selling your property to a newbuild developer who also act as cash buyers for houses, has a few advantages. Key among these is a level of certainty that your sale will proceed.

On top of this, the benefits include:

  • You avoiding having to pay estate agent’s fees, which can quickly come to thousands of pounds during a typical sale.
  • Not being part of a property chain leading to uncertainties
  • Getting a nice new build property at the end of it

The cons of part exchanging your home for a fast house sale

It would be remiss to not explain the downsides of selling your current home to a new build developer.

  • The amount of time you could save selling your house quickly this way is typically very dependent on how far along the construction of the new property is. If the estate is finished, and buyers are already moving in you can probably expect the keys to your new home shortly. Alternatively, if the property you are planning to buy is still a building site, expect it to take a while before you can effectively move.
  • Although the discounts offered by developers on new builds for part exchange schemes vary, they are often relatively low. You can expect an offer of around 80-85% of your current home’s value.
  • Part exchange programs usually require your property to be in good condition. For leasehold properties these typically need to have at least 80 years remaining on the lease. Again, this is so the new build developer can sell your property quickly and recoup their capital.

Negotiate, negotiate

While you may not think you are in a position to negotiate with a development company, they do typically want to sell all their properties as quickly as possible.

You may not get them to move much on their price or the discount on your home’s price, but it is still worth attempting to argue your way into a better deal. Ask if they will cover your stamp duty or your conveyancer’s fees or provide white goods for the property.

There are likely to be some levers the salesperson can pull to ensure they sell all their properties— you should try and find these.

5. Change estate agent

If your property has been on the market for a while and is not receiving much interest, one of the most common pieces of advice is to list it with another estate agent or to change sole agent.

Not all estate agents are equal, and by picking the best agent for your area you can increase your chance of selling your house quicker and for a good price.

When thinking about changing your estate agent and how to sell your house quickly, there are a few things you should consider.

Tie-in periods and open-ended agreements

Firstly, you need to ensure that your contract with your previous estate agent allows you to end their contract just as soon as you want to.

Estate agents generally have a tie-in period, usually ranging from 4-12 weeks with as long as 6 months often being how long it can take to sell a house from start to finish. Following this period, you are typically only required to give a couple of weeks’ notice before ending an estate agency contract.

Some agents employ a nasty tactic called open-ended agreements. These agreements mean they can take their commission for a sale even if they introduced you to the buyer years ago and had nothing to do with the actual sale.

You should check any estate agency contract for this kind of continuing post-dismissal liability before you sign it. And be sure to renegotiate any contract that contains this kind of clause before signing it.

Watch out for property chains!

If you are already attempting to buy a house, but don’t yet have a seller for your property changing estate agents can be a dangerous game.

You could risk losing out on potential buyers in contact with that agent, as well as communication breaking down with the parties further up the chain.

To avoid spooking them, you will need to ensure that you maintain clear and consistent communication, and work with the new agent to ensure a smooth transition.

How much can I expect to achieve?

This is a tricky one.

While different estate agents have different negotiating abilities, and one may be able to secure a slightly better deal than another, one thing they cannot change is the open market value of your house.

Local and specialised agents have access to large numbers of buyers looking for a particular kind of property. By listing your property with an agent who knows your property’s particular market well you could get substantially more interest than if you were to use an unspecialised national or online agent.

6. Multi-agency listings
(16-24 weeks)

When you have a bit more time on your hands, multi-agency listings can serve as a viable alternative to quick sale estate agents and property buying companies. By listing your property with several estate agents, the competition among them can generate more cash buyers for houses and ultimately help secure you a faster sale.

Opting for multiple estate agents means agreeing to a multi-agency contract. This differs from the more commonly used sole agency contract that restricts other agents from acting on your behalf or changing agents during a tie-in period.

How much do multi-agency listings cost?

Multi-agency contracts typically cost more than standard estate agent contracts, ranging from 3.6-4% of the property’s final sale price. While you and the agents can agree on a variety of payment structures, it is generally advised that multi-agency contracts only work to the seller’s advantage if the agents sign a winner-takes-all contract. In this type of contract, the winner is the first agent to provide you with an offer that meets or exceeds a previously agreed sale price.

By structuring the contract to reward exclusively the agent who brings the right buyer, all estate agents are incentivised to prioritise the property and avoid riding the coattails of their colleagues. This approach can help ensure that your property is always at the top of each agent’s list and mind, increasing the chances of a quick house sale.

While multi-agency contracts can be expensive, this approach can be effective when trying to decide how to sell your house quickly.

What is a Joint Sole agency agreement?

A joint sole agency agreement is typically used when you want to have two estate agents work on selling your property.

An example of when this would be useful is if you were to hire a local agent and a national agent specialising in your type of property. Typically hiring two local agents is a poor idea, as they will advertise in the same places to the same audience. This can look desparate in the eyes of buyers.

These are typically cheaper than multi-agency agreements and cost around 2.3-2.5% of VAT.

Could I sell my house quick by using multiple estate agents?

When looking for a quick property sale you may want to consider listing with multiple estate agents.

If you have a desirable property or are in a hot market, a single estate agent should be able to get you multiple strong offers during their exclusivity period. And so a multi-agency listing shouldn’t be necessary.

However, if you are selling in a cold market when houses are proving slow to sell, arranging a multi-agency contract can speed up your house sale. Negotiating for a short (6-8 weeks) exclusivity period when talking to your first agent can put you in a strong position to bring others on if they fail to achieve.

While estate agents often claim that listing your property with multiple agents smacks of desperation, it will bring more buyers through your door.

How good are multi-agency listings?

While there has been no public research done on how much faster multiple estate agents can sell a house, professional house sellers such as savvy property investors love this approach.

While there is no hard evidence, it is reasonable to say that by taking this approach you are likely to get more offers and sooner.

7. Reduce your asking price

If your property has been on the market for an extended period, and you are not receiving any offers, cutting your asking price may be a simple solution to sell your house quickly.

The first step of this path should be to consult with an estate agent who knows the local market to determine if your property is overpriced. If it is, reducing your price may be an obvious solution.

However, even if the estate agent advises against it, reducing your asking price significantly can be an effective strategy if you are looking for the fastest way to sell your house yourself. It can attract buyers who are looking for a bargain and those who may have been previously priced out of your property. It could also raise interest from  investors looking for an opportunity to make a profit.

It is important to note that this strategy also carries significant risk. While reducing your asking price may generate more interest, unless you are fortunate enough to spark a bidding war, it is unlikely that any buyer will pay the full asking price. Therefore, any sale you achieve may result in you leaving money on the table.

8. House sale price vs time

House sale price vs time

The longer you spend selling your house, the greater the chance of achieving its maximum market potential. That is to say, the highest reasonable value that someone is willing to pay you for it.

Opting for one of the we buy any house companies as a cash house buyer or working with a rapid sale estate agent may allow for a quick property sale, typically within a month or two.

Auctions, which typically take about two months, can yield significantly more than what sell house fast companies would offer, potentially exceeding your property’s true market value. However, this option comes with the risk of your house not selling or worse still, selling for a low price.

Finally, estate agents may take a longer time to find the right buyer for your property. But they are more likely to secure the best possible price if given sufficient time. Hiring multiple estate agents can increase the number of potential buyers and may even spark a bidding war, leading to an even better outcome.

9. Do you really need to move?

Sometimes, it can seem like there is no alternative to sell your home quickly and move on in order to free up the equity held in your property. This might be to fund another property purchase, to escape financial difficulty, or to fund retirement or care.

However, there are alternative ways to free up equity from your property.

Re-mortgaging

Remortgaging involves taking out a new mortgage on your property. By remortgaging, you could release funds from the equity in your property without the need for a fast home sale. The equity could be used for a variety of reasons.

There are several reasons why you might choose to remortgage your property, including to take advantage of lower interest rates or to raise funds for home improvements. You may also be able to take out a second mortgage on your property, allowing you to borrow additional funds.

One of the most common reasons for remortgaging is to consolidate existing debts, such as credit cards. By consolidating these debts into a single monthly repayment, you could reduce your overall payments saving money on interest charges.

When considering remortgaging to release equity, it is important to carefully consider the costs associated with the process. Remortgaging typically involves arrangement fees, valuation fees, and legal fees. These can all add up quickly. Additionally, increasing your mortgage amount or extending the term of your mortgage can result in higher overall interest. Therefore, it is important to weigh the benefits of freeing up equity against the costs of remortgaging, and to consult with a financial adviser or mortgage broker to ensure that it is the best option for your individual circumstances.

Could equity release work for you?

Equity release refers to a pair of methods used to access the value of your home without selling it outright.

The first of these options is a lifetime mortgage. This is a mortgage taken out against your main residence, which will be paid back when your home is free to sell. Generally, these are only available to people over 55, years old. Using a lifetime mortgage you could use the lump sum to help pay for your retirement plans and then sell the property when you pass or move into long-term care.

Usually, you wouldn’t make any repayments whilst you are alive, with the interest rolled up and added to the loan, meaning the debt can build up dramatically.

Home Reversion works similarly to a lifetime mortgage, except you sell your property rather than taking out a loan against it.

In return for this, you get either a lump sum or regular payments, along with the right to remain living there until you die. Home reversion plans are typically only available for people older than 60 researching how to sell a house fast whilst remaining in it without having to repay a loan back or indeed rent.

You will only receive between 20% and 60% of the value of your home when using a home reversion plan, as companies that buy houses need to account for the cost of you remaining in it ‘rent-free’.

How about Sale and Rent-Back schemes (SARB)?

In the past, if you were in extreme financial difficulty you could opt to sell your home fast to one of the companies that buy houses and then rent it back from them.

However, in 2011 this was brought to a halt by a review by the Financial Services Authority, (now called the Financial Conduct Authority) which found sale and rent back companies had unfortunately tricked and put undue pressure on many of their customers. Following the review, the sale and rent-back industry was essentially regulated effectively out of existence.

As of 2023, there are no active home buying companies offering regulated sale and rent-back schemes in the UK. And so if you do come across companies offering to buy your house and rent it back to you, they are likely to be operating illegally and you should be very cautious.

Given mortgage payments are typically less than rent anyway, generally SARB schemes are inadvisable at the best of times.

Conclusion

There are various ways to sell a house or flat, each involving different timeframes, levels of risk, and potential returns.

Cash house buyers operating as fast house sale companies, can act quickly and provide a certain level of assurance for your sale, but they will not be able to pay the full market value of your property.

Auctions may yield good results but can be unpredictable and unreliable.

Estate agents, on the other hand, offer fewer guarantees but are more likely to achieve a favourable price for your property in the long run. This could make them the best way to sell a house if you are able to hold out.

When deciding how to sell your house, assess the time you have available and the level of risk you’re willing to accept. Once you’ve considered these factors, you can choose the most suitable method for selling your property.

10. Frequently asked questions when trying to sell your house quickly

Here we list the most common questions we are asked. Simply click on a question for the answer.

Data from the property listing website Zoopla indicates that the average time it takes to sell a house currently is approximately 25 weeks or 6 months.

This is measured from the moment a property is first listed through to completion day and is substantially longer than it has been in previous years with the long-term average being 4 to 5 months.

While some of this time is spent marketing a property, a fair amount of it will be used by the buyers’ arranging mortgage finance, conducting surveys and searches.

2023 was a rocky year for the UK housing market with a higher than average cost of borrowing impacting demand for properties. This was fuelled in the main by on-going inflationary pressures in the economy resulting in the Bank of England having raised the interest base rate as many as 14 times to today’s present rate of 5.25%. Many estate agents compared the 2023 housing market with 2008 when buyer demand fell back dramatically owing to the Credit Crunch. Owners of properties with values in excess of £500,000 are experiencing the greatest difficulty in selling today.

The UK’s leading property portal, Rightmove, found that property prices in September were down just 0.1% compared to the same time last year.

By cutting your expectations on your sale price, and marketing well it is still possible to sell a property for a reasonable amount.

Choosing when to sell your house is never an easy task. And so, our advice would be to think carefully about whether you really need to sell right now.

For some homeowners there will be a real need to move on and as soon as practically possible. This could be for a long-term relocation or as the result of an unfortunate relationship breakdown. For others it could be simply a desire to upsize or downsize to a better fitting property.

Whatever your reason, you’ll want to know if now is a good time to sell your house.

The truth is the UK housing market is never static. It is heavily influenced by the economic environment we find ourselves in at any given time. 2023 witnessed house prices fall back on average by just 0.1% to September 2023 according to the Office for National Statistics. With this data in mind, you would think that now would be a good time to sell.

However, unfortunately, right now we are living in a relatively high interest rate environment with the Bank of England Base Rate sitting at a 15 year high of 5.25%. This has major repercussions for some buyers when trying to obtain reasonable mortgage rates or to meet lenders affordability thresholds. The net effect of higher-than-average mortgage rates has been a slowdown in the overall housing market. This means that selling today often means having to price your property keenly and waiting for longer than normal to find a buyer that can genuinely proceed to completion.

In an ideal scenario, when you already have a buyer and have agreed on a price, your property sale could be completed in just two months, assuming both sides emply good conveyancers. However, such situations are extremely rare in reality. Even when purchasing from a friend, basic surveying and local authority searches are usually conducted, extending the transaction process to at least several months. It’s fair to say that local authorities are currently strggling to keep up with their workloads only adding to delays.

For most people, finding a buyer for their property is the primary challenge. There are multiple methods to market a property, each offering varying speeds and returns. If you’re willing to accept a reduction of around 20-25% of your property’s market value, you could sell fast to a cash house buyer who would aim to finalise your sale in as little as one month. Alternatively, if you have a two-month timeframe, auctioning your property might be worthwhile as you could acheive a better price in a sale room.

If you have more than three months at your disposal, the most effective way to secure a good price is by listing your property on the open market with a high street estate agent. This strategy can potentially achieve 100% or more of your original listing price provided the market is strong. However, selling on the open market also carries the risk of not selling your property within the desired timeframe as well as broken property chains.

While technically it is possible for a house sale to go from start to completion in a week, and some of the sell house fast companies advertise occasionally managing it, in reality this rarely happens.

Unless your buyer trusts you implicitly, a 7-day turnaround is extremely rare in practice due to the number of legal and administrative tasks that need to be completed. These include:

  • Conducting local searches
  • Reviewing the title deed
  • Performing a property survey
  • Preparing and reviewing the contract
  • Arranging for the transfer of funds

Each of these steps takes time, and local searches alone can sometimes take weeks, however, expedited services are available at a cost. Additionally, there’s a risk that such a rapid process could overlook important details, potentially leading to issues after completion.

Typically, even companies that buy houses professionally will take longer than a week to organise a purchase.

Yes!

While open market and auction sales will almost inevitably take longer than 2 weeks due to following a more rigid process, quick sale house buying companies can genuinely achieve these sorts of speeds when absolutely necessary.

These companies streamline the process by leveraging highly efficient conveyancers and opting for accelerated search services. However, this rapid pace is based on the assumption of an ideal scenario where the property in question is free from any unforeseen complications.

While cash home buyers market the promise of a 2-week turnaround, it’s crucial for sellers to understand that such timelines are representative of transactions that encounter no issues during the expedited searches or surveys. Discovering any snags, as is often the case with property sales, can lead to re-negotiations, which would extend the timeline beyond the initially advertised 2 weeks.

Sellers should be aware that the promise of a quick sale often comes with a compromise on the financial front. Offers from these companies may fall below the prevailing market value. The speed of the transaction can sometimes come at a cost, and this cost is not just in terms of the sale price but may also include additional fees for expedited services.

There is no single best estate agent for any house sale. Which agent is right for you depends on your property’s specifics, your location, and your particular needs.

As a general rule, you should look for an estate agent who has sold a good number of properties just like yours in a similar location over the last year.

If they are successfully selling similar properties, this demonstrates they have access to the right type of buyer.

A word on estate agent fees. Agent’s fees actually matter less than you’d think. Generally, if a more expensive agent is selling more properties similar to your own, they will often more than make up their additional cost by achieving a better sales price.

Unfortunately, estate agents are prone to over-valuing houses in order to secure instructions. This practice involves providing you with an inflated estimate of your property’s true value. By convincing you that your house is worth more than it might realistically fetch, an agent can often win your listing over competitors who may provide more accurate, lower valuations. This strategy can harm you as the seller, leading to longer sale times and reduced buyer interest as your property goes “stale”, often requiring a larger price reduction than would be necessary otherwise.

While this practice is far from universal and many estate agents operate with high levels of integrity and professionalism, this is an issue that has been observed in the industry over many years. To avoid these pitfalls, you should seek a number of valuations, research local market trends, and understand agents’ motivations. Remember, a realistic, market-aligned valuation is crucial for a timely and successful sale of your property.

It depends on how you sell your property!

The cost of selling the average UK property with the average UK estate agent is around £4,665, not including removal costs.

We work this out by taking the average UK house price (£289,818), multiplying it by the average estate agents fee (1.42% including VAT) and adding £500 to pay for a good online conveyancer and £50 to pay for an EPC.

Of course, the amount you might end up paying for your estate agent, EPC or conveyancer might differ from this, but this gives you a good idea.

Selling to a homebuying company, or at a property auction generally leads to you achieving less than you would normally selling a house. You can expect to receive between 10 and 20% less for your property than you would if you sold it on the open market (£28,000 – £56,000 less on an average house). Of course, this makes sense as companies who pay cash for houses are looking to generate a profit otherwise their business would not work.

Selling a house can be a time-consuming process, even without a chain, taking anywhere from four weeks to over six months, depending on your chosen method.

If you opt to sell your property to a cash house buyer and accept a lower price, you could be moving out with cash in your hand in less than a month. On the other end of the scale, marketing your property exclusively with a high street estate agent may take up to six months to complete a sale of your property. However, not all open market sales take this long. On average, it takes an estate agent about 4 – 5 months to progress from the first day of marketing to the legal completion date.

Another way to sell a house (without a chain) is through a property auction. Auctions tend to be faster than open market sales, taking approximately one month to market your property, before the auction, and then the buyer having an additional month to complete the purchase and pay for your property.

For more details read our guide to discover how long house sales really take.

Unless you have a known cash buyer waiting and ready for your property, the fastest way to sell today is to a cash house buying company.

These businesses, sometimes also referred to as property buying, quick sale or, we buy any house companies, will pay for your property, regardless of its condition or location.

This process typically takes approximately 1 month. While these companies are keen to buy any property, they must still conduct the requisite conveyancing searches and surveys to ensure their investment is secured.

Thanks to the dark nights of winter and Christmas holidays, November and December are by far the worst months to try and market a house. People are generally more busy, nights are dark, and the UK weather is worsening. Home buyers tend to either want to be in their new properties by Christmas or start their move in January.

If you look at the number of people who move in each month of the year, you can see that in a normal year (2019 and 2022 on the below graph), January and February have the least moves by a substantial margin, further indicating that early winter is absolutely the worst time to market a house.

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Family homes
Traditionally, the best time to sell a larger family house is in spring, during the months of March, April, and May.

This is because, for a variety of reasons, people with children tend to have the largest amount of free time to house search during these months. Note that while the spring is typically the best time to sell this kind of house some families do hunt in the autumn, looking to buy family houses in late September and October, making this quite a good time too.

Over Christmas and in summer parents tend to be busy with seasonal activities and childcare responsibilities and do not have the time to search for a new property. This means the market for family houses slows down over these periods. Note that this rule doesn’t hold true when selling bungalows, which are popular with older people and sell best in summer.

Smaller properties
Smaller 1 and 2 bedroom properties, which are popular with single people and childless couples, also sell best early in the year. These are typically best marketed in January and February, when buyers are looking to make a fresh start.

While in theory, the first person who walks through your door might buy your property, typically it doesn’t work like that. On average, it takes ten viewings to sell a property. This differs slightly in hot markets (where there is high demand for properties), and in cold markets (where there is low demand).

In hot markets, the smaller number of properties available means that more potential buyers will typically view each house, around 11 on average but potentially as many as 21 or more. On the other hand, in a cold market, houses will receive fewer viewings on average, typically just 9 or so, before selling. This is because, in a cold market, buyers are spoilt for choice and will only check out the properties which are of real interest to them.

Normally you should expect a flurry of viewings in your first week, and then less after this point. This is because when houses first go on the open market many buyers have automatic searches set up on the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla. Also, estate agents tend to market new properties harder than properties than those that have been on their books for a few weeks.

If you do not receive any viewings within a fortnight, you should consider whether your estate agent or advertised price is set correctly for your property.

Quite honestly a terrifying number!

Research by QuickMoveNow found that 40% of property sales fell through in October 2022, while HomeSellingExpert found 31% of transactions fell through at least once.

While the specific percentage of property transactions which fall through changes over time dependent on market conditions, the consensus is that normally around a third of property sales fail.

While no-move no-fee estate agents and insurance policies are available to protect you from costs if your transaction falls through, the uncertainty of selling your house on the open market can still cause you substantial stress and set you back several months.

There are a whole host of reasons why a particular property might not be selling.

First, the housing market is quite frankly, not very good at the moment, with prices dropping substantially and the stock of homes for sale climbing ever higher.

Secondly, it could be your local area. Some areas, particularly in the south of England, are seeing the housing market slow down to a crawl.

Finally, it could be your property itself. If it is priced too high and marketed poorly, this can result in no viewings. And if your property is in poor condition and poorly presented, many buyers can also be put off instantly during their viewing.

Selling a house quickly in a slow market can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can employ:

  1. Hire a skilled estate agent: Start by enlisting a reputable and experienced local estate agent who understands your area’s market dynamics. They can price your home competitively, market it effectively, and tap into their network of potential buyers.
  2. Presentation: Ensure your house is well presented. This means decluttering, doing minor repairs, and considering home staging to make the property as attractive as possible to prospective buyers.
  3. Multi-Agency contract: If an exclusive agreement with one agent isn’t generating interest, consider a multi-agency contract. This type of arrangement enables several agents to list your property at the same time. This can be a great way of creating competition among agents to secure a sale. But bear in mind that while this can increase exposure, it also leads to higher commission rates.
  4. Auction: Selling at auction can be a good option for a quick house sale, especially for unusual or run-down properties. Auctions attract buyers ready to purchase promptly, and the competitive bidding environment can help achieve a full price even in a slow market.
  5. Cash house buyer: If time is of the essence and the above options are unsuitable or unsuccessful, you might consider selling to a cash house buying company. While this often means selling for less than your property’s fullvalue, it can provide a rapid and certain sale.

Yes certainly!

There are many ways  to sell your house quickly without an estate agent. Ultimately for this to work you will need to be on the search for cash house buyers able to proceed without delay.

Firstly, you can sell your house to a cash house buying company. These companies use a variety of methods to buy your house fast, though will often only pay you 70 – 80% of your property’s market value.

Another option is putting your house up for auction with an online or traditional auction house. This can result in a rapid sale at a good price.

Alternatively, if you have a potential buyer in mind who agrees to a price, you can sell your house without ever involving an estate agent. However, if you don’t have a buyer lined up, attempting to market your property on your own may not be the best idea. Estate agents are experts in their field and have access to various tools which can increase their chances of finding a buyer and achieving the best possible price for you.

Normally the answer to this question is no. This is of course unless you already have a buyer lined up.

While there are a variety of options for selling your house quickly, they all tend to cost.

Cash house buying companies and quick sale estate agents will normally only get you 70-80% of your property’s value, and auctioning your property, while better at about 80-90% on average, can be unreliable and leave you with an unsold property.

The only way to reliably sell your house for full market value is to put it on the open market with a high street estate agent and wait for the right buyer to come along.

Yes you can!

Almost anyone can buy your house, including foreign nationals with no ties to the UK.

However, if you are selling your house to your children for less than its full market value, the difference between its market value and the price you receive will legally be considered a gift under inheritance tax rules. If the person selling the house has an estate worth more than £325,000 and dies within seven years of the transaction, their child will eventually have to pay inheritance tax on the gift.

In addition, if the property sold to the child is not the seller’s main property, they will need to pay capital gains tax on it. This wil be calculated based on the property’s market value rather than its sale price.  Individuals selling second homes or buy to let property to their children at below market rates may also receive a fine.

Yes!

There are a whole host of property buying companies who will buy your home in less than a month provided you have a minimum 20% equity in your property. And so you really could sell your house quickly with the minimum of fuss. However, bear in mind, that in our experience, all cash buyers for houses have their own preferences in what they will buy. For example, some tend to focus on lower value properties preferring to trade many properties in a year. Others will gravitate towards higher value properties in major cities such as Birmingham and London. This is why it pays to shop around when choosing a cash home buyer to work with.

How fast you can sell your house depends on how much of its value you are willing to forgo.

If you are happy to accept an offer of around 20-30% less than the open market value of your property, you could sell to a cash house buyer often in less than a month. While quick sale estate agents can organise assisted sales at slightly higher prices these come with far less certainty in the lead up to completion.

Alternatively, property auctions offer you the chance of selling in approximately 2 months.

Finally, if you use a good high street estate agent, or hire multiple agents, you can normally sell your property for its full market value within 12-24 weeks provided there is a strong housing market.

It depends.

Many consider the cash house buying industry to be risky.

Less scrupulous home buying companies will:

  • Make an unrealistically high initial offer and promise to get the money to you in days, pending an official valuation
  • Stall and delay you, dragging out the process for months
  • Drop their offer at the last minute, typically when you are in no position to do anything but accept
  • Finally, some cash property buyers will push you to sign paperwork locking you into selling with them

However, the good news is that the best quick house sale companies do things properly and so it just a matter of knowing who you are dealing with. When looking at cash buyers for houses be sure to check their online reviews and make sure they have no history of messing their customers around.

The short answer is – this depends on several factors.

Companies that buy houses will consider the location and condition of your property as their main priority.

Location plays an important part as properties in urban areas such as towns and cities often sell better than those in more rural situations such as villages.

If your property has any known structural issues such as damp, movement or is built of a non-typical construction type such as a concrete, these points will also be taken into consideration.

Having considered these factors, offers from house buying companies will range between 70–85% of the open market value of your property.

Yes!

You are free to sell your house to a cash property buying company at any time before you have exchanged contracts with another buyer. However, it is important to ensure that this decision does not result in you falling into negative equity. If you have limited equity in your property, be aware that an offer from a cash home buyer might not be sufficient to cover your outstanding mortgage. If this is the case, you will need to either cover the shortfall yourself or find a buyer who can offer a price high enough to pay off your mortgage.

In simple terms, all money or ‘proceeds’ will always be managed by your solicitor or conveyancer. It is their responsability to ensure the correct sums are sent to the right parties. This will include making sure that any loans secured against your property such as a mortgage or any other debt are fully repaid too.

Your solicitor will ask you to confirm that any sums being sent are correct before they send them on.

Simply head to the top of our site and enter your details for a cash offer. One of our team will then get in touch to discuss your options.

There are two different methods for selling a property at auction.

A Traditional Auction is where buyers visit an auction room to bid for your property. The typical costs for this are around 2% (+vat) of the final selling price.

The second method is called the Modern Method of Auction or MMoA. Instead of visiting an auction room, bidders competing to buy property via the MMoA method do so via an online process only. Average costs for selling via this route range between 2 – 5% (+vat).

Quick sale estate agents are a type of hybrid between a cash house buying company and a regular estate agent.

Typically, they offer to market your property on their own and at least one of the large online platforms, as well as having a pool of property investors who are looking for opportunities they can turn around fast.

Confusingly, many cash house buyers also use outside investors to make some or most of their quick purchases. And some quick sale agents offer quick sale services which are similar to those available from a cash house buying company.

If you have the time to market your property, it is generally a good idea to use either a high street or a regular free online estate agent.

By far the fastest way to sell your home is to sell direct to a cash property buying company. This is because these firms have their own funds ready to purchase immediately. This means they avoid having to spend the time raising mortgage finance to buy your property. As property traders they also do not form part of a property chain and so offer a greater level of certainty if you are simply looking for a more guaranteed way of selling.

Selling your house at auction involves a few key steps.

Begin by choosing an experienced auction house, which will list your property in their catalogue and assist you with setting a reserve price. Your solicitor will need to compile a legal pack containing all the necessary documents for the sale. Meanwhile, the auction house markets your property to potential bidders and arranges viewings.

On auction day, bidders can participate in various ways, including in person, online, or by phone, depending on the auction house’s facilities. The winning bidder is then obligated to pay a deposit right away, typically 10% of the sale price, and to settle the full amount within the specified period, usually around 28 days.

Once the auction hammer falls and the property is sold, a legally binding agreement is created. Completion of the sale usually follows within 28 days according to the auctioneers terms. It’s essential to consult with professionals throughout this process to ensure it aligns with your selling objectives.

In addition to the traditional property auction sellers can also choose to list their property online, using the Modern Method of Auction (MMoA). This method works much like an Ebay sale, with people placing bids on a property online, over a period, and the highest bid winning.

The short answer is – No.

While selling a property at auction can be a speedy process, it is by no means a guaranteed route to a fast home sale. This is because sellers typically set a reserve price to prevent their property from selling for too little. If the bidding fails to reach the reserve price, the seller is not obligated to sell the property to the highest bidder. Additionally, even if a reserve price is not set, an overpriced or poorly marketed property may still not sell.

The only guaranteed way to sell a house quickly is by selling it to a cash house buying company.

New build party exchange programs are set up by property developers that allow potential buyers to part exchange their previous houses for part of the value of a new build home.

Typically, these developers will only offer to exchange for around 80% of the homes market value, but many still appreciate the convenience this service provides. Importantly, this allows them to move quickly into a new build home and not have to worry about the hassle of marketing an old property.

Unfortunately not any longer.

While theoretically a regulatory framework exists for Sale and Rent Back schemes (SARB), there are currently zero operators of such schemes registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Any company offering such a service is probably doing so illegally and is likely to be operating without principals or a licence.

To find out what your house sold for previously head over to Rightmove and looking at the main navigation click on ‘House Prices’.

Here you can simply enter your postcode and filter down the list of all properties that have sold in your street. The great thing about this tool is that it also allows you to see what neighbouring properties have sold for together with all historical sales.

Yes… but you probably shouldn’t.

This is a venture filled with complex legalities and uncertainties- not least about its financial viability. In the UK, where the average house value is around £290,000, setting a raffle ticket price at £5 would require selling 58,000 tickets just to meet the property’s target value.

While there are instances of successful house raffles, these are relatively rare and heavily regulated to ensure compliance with UK gambling laws. The process also demands an enormous marketing effort to reach a wide enough audience and poses the serious risk of cancellation and refunds if not enough tickets are sold.

If you are considering this unconventional method of selling you should weigh these challenges carefully and seek professional advice.