If you're hoping for a quick house sale, much will depend on where you live in the UK. securing a quick house sale is more important right now than ever, since many people who are selling are also looking to move up a rung of the property ladder and benefit from the current stamp duty holiday.
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With the stamp duty relief ending on the 31st March 2021, and house sales often taking months to complete, it's understandable that wanting to sell faster is essential. And, according to recent research by Online Mortgage Advisor (opens in new tab), you're in luck if you live..In Edinburgh or Glasgow. These Scottish cities have the fastest house sale times in the UK, 45 and 47 days on average respectively.
In England, Stoke-on-Trent is the best place to sell a house fast, with average selling times of 77 days. Bristol is not far behind: selling a house in this city will take you on average 80 days.
Things aren't so good if you're trying to sell in the capital, however: the average selling time in London is 138 days on average, making it the fifth worst city in the UK for house sale speeds. Things are even worse if you're trying to sell in Oxford, with an average house sale taking an agonisingly long 152 days – over five months.
And, if you live in Sunderland, you live somewhere that has broken an unenviable record: a house has been on sale in this town for 11 years.
How can this sort of thing happen? Well, there are many factors to how long a house sale takes, including local demand, local buyers' purchasing ability, and, of course, local house prices. Areas like Oxford have high demand, but house prices that are so out of synch with local wages that it can be difficult to find a buyer. Low wages and a lack of demand hit smaller places up north, like Sunderland.
What should you do if you're hoping to sell your house fast and you live in one of the places where selling tends to take longer? Follow these pro tips.
1. Set a fair house price
An unrealistic price is the obvious first stumbling block to selling a home quickly. As Phil Spencer explains at MoveIQ (opens in new tab), 'Your expectations and those of the potential buyers just aren’t marrying up. Quite simply, it could just be too much money, or the property needs some work doing to it.'
Whatever the reason the property is perceived as overpriced by potential buyers, '[t]he longer you leave it on the market to stagnate, the sadder it will look,' continues Phil. If you've waited for months and months and haven't had any offers, it could be time to consider reducing the price.
2. Revamp the photos
Everyone begins their search online, so you need to make sure the images of your house are getting enough attention. If your photos are dark, wonky, or not wide-angle, your home will appear less attractive than it really is to prospective buyers.
Phil Spencer advises, 'If the photos of your property don’t do it justice, your home will be lost in the noise.'
Ideally the estate agent will send their photographer back – when they do, be around to make sure everything in the house is neat and inviting, and that the shots look as good as possible. And make sure the lead photo displayed on Zoopla or Rightmove, and the estate agent's own website is the best one.
3. Upgrade your presentation style
Photos can only do so much, though: if your house decor is dark and dingy, it won't seem attractive and will take longer to sell. Bright, neutrally decorated properties with nice furnishings always sell quicker than those that look dated and tired, so you may need to invest in a quick redecorating project. Even repainting the walls a more attractive, neutral shade will help.
4. Take a critical look at your estate agent
This doesn't mean being overly negative, just trying to look objectively at whether you estate agent is up to the job of finding you as many potential buyers as possible, and quickly.
Are they being creative about finding potential buyers, rather than just passively waiting for enquiries? Are they marketing your home effectively, going above and beyond to present it in the best possible light? Do they think you should reduce the price or be more flexible with viewings?
Listen to their advice and get a second opinion from another established estate agent – although be aware that they will try to get you on board with their agency, too. Which leads us to another question: is your estate agency the right one for your home? Does it specialise in other properties like yours? If not, maybe it's time to move on (assuming you're not tied into a fixed term).
5. Be more flexible with viewings
Are you flexible enough where it comes to offering people the chance to view your property? We understand: having strangers in your home at random times of the day – and especially evening – can be annoying. But if you want to sell your house faster, you might need to become more accommodating of other people's schedules. They want to come just after the school run? Not ideal, but it could make the difference between your house selling quickly or not.