So, you want to know how to sell your flat fast? You’ve come to the right place. Here in the UK, the time scales usually depend on various factors, which we’ll discuss in this article. We’ll cover how to sell your flat fast via an estate agent, plus what you can do to speed the process up. We’ll also talk about the alternative, faster way to sell a flat (in 7 days) using a fast property buying company. Click here if you want to skip straight down to the property buying company section.
Selling your flat fast via an estate agent
Selling a flat fast via an estate agent depends largely on price, but with a little bit of luck sprinkled on top.
Once you’ve accepted an offer for your flat, the typical time it takes to finalise the sale of the flat is 11 weeks. Before you can accept an offer, you’ll need to have received an offer. The time it takes to get a suitable offer from a buyer is indefinite. In good market conditions, you might be looking at anywhere between 4 and 14 weeks to find a buyer willing to make an acceptable offer. This means that it could take between 15 and 25 weeks to sell your flat from start to finish, via an estate agent.
If that time range is manageable for you, but you’d like to maximise your chance of selling on the faster end of that time scale, then be sure to follow the guidance below. But, if you need to sell your flat much faster, then click here to skip down to the information about selling to a fast property buying company.
Setting the Right Price
The most critical factor that impacts the speed of selling a flat is pricing. The right price can attract more potential buyers, while an overpriced property can make it sit on the market for months. To set the right price for your flat, consider the following:
Research the Local Market
One of the first steps in setting the right price for your flat is to research the local market. Look at similar flats in your area and how much they are being sold for. Make sure to look for flats that have similar features such as size, number of rooms, age, and condition. The best way to do this is to look at other flats that were recently sold from within the same apartment building as your flat. You can get a lot of this historic sale information over on rightmove.co.uk.
The location of your flat can significantly impact its value. For example, flats in central London are usually more expensive than those in suburban areas, because they are in higher demand. Flats within walking distance of shopping amenities and transport links tend to fetch a higher price than flats that are further afield. Location is a key factor that drives demand, and demand drives price, and price drives sale speed. Again, research the local market to get an idea of what other flats in your area recently sold for, to get a good idea of what your flat is worth and then set a competitive price to sell fast.
Factor in Age and Condition
The age and condition of your flat can also impact its value. If your flat is relatively new and well-maintained, or recently refurbished, you can price it higher than an older and poorly maintained flat.
When researching other flats in your area, don’t just copy their pricing based purely on size and location. Even flats within the same block can vary wildly in terms of condition. If your flat’s condition is poor, the flat will lack a certain photogenic quality, which will likely have a negative effect on how much interest it will get from prospective buyers. If you don’t have time to doll up the flat to make it look shiny and new, you may need to drop the price to increase the demand.
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is overpricing their property, hoping to negotiate with potential buyers later. However, overpricing can discourage buyers from even booking a viewing, and make your flat sit on the market for a long time. It is essential to price your flat competitively. Often, sellers who under-price their flat will get a lot more initial interest from different buyers, which can start a bidding war between different buyers who have viewed the flat and liked what they saw. The net result is buyers offering more than the original asking price as they compete with each other to secure the flat for themselves.
Understand the housing market
Keep in mind that the housing market can fluctuate, and you may need to adjust your price accordingly. Keep your ear to the ground and pay attention to how the housing market is doing.
Currently, in 2023, average UK house prices have been dropping for several months and are down vs the year before. This is because there is a shortage of buyers on the market due to high mortgage interest rates, which were imposed by the Bank of England to try and reduce inflation. By understanding the economy and how it’s affecting the housing market, you can price your flat appropriately for a fast sale.
Enhancing the Flat’s Appeal
If you want to sell your flat fast, you probably won’t have much time to renovate it before putting it on the market. Renovating a flat will take at least 3 -5 weeks for a relatively low key refurbishment involving new floors, and repainting. But 3 -5 weeks may require extra time that you simply don’t have, if you want to sell fast.
The benefits of renovating are that you’ll make the flat more photogenic, so it will attract more attention when it’s listed on online property websites like Zoopla and Rightmove. A beautiful new looking flat will normally attract a higher price and garner much more attention from potential buyers.
If your flat is run down, and you don’t have the time or budget to renovate it, then competitive pricing is a must, if you want a fast sale.
Later in this post we will discuss fast property buying companies. These types of companies will buy any flats in any condition so are a great option for anyone with a run down flat who needs to sell fast. You can skip down to this section by clicking here.
If you don’t have time to renovate, but want to maximise your chance of selling fast via an estate agent, there are still some quick things you can do to stage the flat in its best light:
- Open windows and curtains an hour before viewings to allow fresh air and light into the flat to get rid of any odours and make the place seem light and airy. You should do this even if it’s cold outside.
- Clean the whole flat including hoovering floors, wiping down surfaces, clean the bathroom and kitchen and get rid of all dust, grease and stubborn stains so the place looks pristine.
- Put away all clutter, ensuring no clothes are out drying, fold away clothes horses, washing needs to be done and dishes dried and back in cupboards, and bed made neatly with clean sheets
- Ensure communal areas outside the flat are clean and tidy – speak to the property management company and neighbours if it need be. You want to give a great first impression before buyers even enter the flat.
- Arrange viewing for times when things are quiet in the building, so noisy neighbours can’t be heard through walls/floors. Work hours are generally the best as neighbours are at work or in school.
Choosing the Right Estate Agent
Choosing the right estate agent can make a big difference in how quickly your flat sells and the price you receive. Here’s what to look out for when choosing an estate agent:
Experience and Reputation
Look for an estate agent with experience selling flats similar to yours in your area. Check their online reviews and ratings, and ask for references from previous clients to ensure they have a good reputation. Specifically ask the estate agent for examples of properties that they sold fast, and ask them to tell you what they did differently to ensure a faster sale.
Choose an estate agent who knows your local area well. They will have a better understanding of the local housing market and amenities, and they can advise you on the best pricing for a fast sale, while also ensuring that you get the most money possible. Ask the estate agent to confirm where they will be advertising the flat. Most will advertise on Rightmove and Zoopla, but there are other smaller property portals available that some estate agents overlook. Generally, the more websites on which your flat is advertised, the more people will see it!
Communication is key when working with an estate agent. Choose someone who is responsive and communicates clearly and effectively. They should keep you updated on the progress of the sale at all stages, and be available to answer any questions you may have.
Be sure to clearly tell the estate agent, from the beginning, about your intention to sell your flat fast and ask for a written estimate from them with a timeframe estimate by when they think they can sell it. When things are in writing people tend to be less complacent.
You should also make sure to communicate all unique features of the property to the estate agent and check to make sure that the agent has clearly highlighted these features on the online property listing websites. Features that attract buyers include:
- Communal gardens
- Quiet neighbourhood
- Low management fees and ground rents
- Close proximity to train stations, shops and schools
- Storage space
Fees and Services
Estate agents typically charge a fee for their services, which can vary depending on the agency and the level of service you require. Make sure you understand the fees and services offered by your chosen estate agent before signing a contract.
Can estate agents guarantee a fast sale?
No. Estate agents cannot guarantee a fast sale. If all goes well, the fastest sale you can expect from an estate is 15 weeks, but the chance of you achieving this is not predictable for reasons outside of the estate agents’ control, such as:
- The housing market might simply be slow (as it is now)
- Buyers might be part of a chain and you may need to wait for them to sell an existing property, which may have delays.
- Buyer might pull out late in the process, which would set your sale process back to square one.
Selling your flat faster via a property buying company
As we’ve seen, selling a property via an estate agent can be a complex and time-consuming process, and while there are ways to speed up the process, it’s not guaranteed to be fast. Fortunately, property buying companies can offer a guaranteed sale, and are faster than traditional estate agents.
What is a Fast Property Buying Company?
A fast property buying company is a company that specialises in buying properties quickly. They offer a fast and hassle-free way to sell your property without the need for estate agents, viewings or property refurbishments. These companies specialise in buying homes quickly for cash, and they generally have very large cash reserves ready for this purpose. They buy thousands of UK flats each year for cash, and they will literally buy any flat including:
- Tenanted flats
- Inherited flats
- Flats in need of repair
- Short leasehold flats
- Flats with bad neighbours
- Flats with restrictive covenants
- Flats that are in the verge of repossession
How Long Does it Take to Sell a flat via a Fast Property Buying Company?
The time it takes to sell a house via a fast property buying company varies depending on the company and the individual property. However, most good fast property buying companies can complete the sale within 7-28 days. Some, such as Property Rescue can exchange contracts within 48 hours (business days). In contrast, traditional estate agents can take up to six months to sell a property.
Benefits of Selling to a Fast Property Buying Company
Selling to a fast property buying company offers several benefits. Firstly, you can sell your property quickly and efficiently, avoiding the stress and hassle of traditional property sales. Additionally, you will not have to pay any estate agent fees, or any other fees for that matter. Thirdly, you will have a guaranteed sale, giving you peace of mind and certainty that the sale won’t fall through. Finally, some fast property buying companies such as Property Rescue can give you a cash lump sum to tide you over if you need money urgently while you wait for the fast sale to complete.
Which Fast Property Buying Company is the Best?
Naturally, we are going to tell you that Property Rescue is the best fast property buying company, not just because we are Property Rescue, but because it’s true. We were one of the first fast property buying companies in the UK. We were a founding member of the National Association of Property Buyers which has a strict code of practice, that we helped establish. We are also a member of the Property Ombudsman. If that’s not enough, just have a look at what our wonderful customers say about us over on TrustPilot, where we’ve been rated as Excellent and have a 4.8 star rating.
How much money will I get for my flat if I sell to property Rescue?
Because every flat is different, we have created a simple quote form to tell you exactly how much money you’ll get for your flat. Quotes are 100% free and there’s no obligation to sell. If you like the quote, and decide you do want to sell to us, just let us know so we can kick-start the short process of buying your flat fast.
To get your free, no obligation quote, enter your property’s information into this 30 second form.