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Why Does It Take So Long To Sell A House?

It’s safe to say that no house sale is the same. There are always unique circumstances and varying complications. It’s what makes moving the stressful period that it is. 

Today around a quarter of house sales fall through, with an even higher percentage witnessing delays and breaks in the chain along the way. 

On average, the sale of a house from accepting an offer to completion takes between eight and 12 weeks, although it can take much longer. But why does it take so long to sell a house?

At Property Rescue, we specialise in quick sales, so we decided to take a look at exactly where the hold-ups occur in the everyday market, from the major moments in the process through to the main complications found when selling and buying homes.

The Process

Every house sale will take a different length of time. You might get lucky and have everything processed in a matter of weeks. For others, it could take months.

On average, however, you’ll find a fair amount of processes can be done over a similar period. 

Below you’ll find the process alongside the average amount of time each aspect takes:

Receiving a mortgage in principle: One day

Average time from a listing going live to an offer being accepted: 10 weeks

Time between accepted offer and surveys and searches ordered: One month

Arranging and sorting a mortgage: Up to one and a half months

From surveys to exchange of contracts: Up to two months

Completion of contracts: From one day to one month

As you can see, certain processes can take a considerable amount of time, so it’s always important to be honest with the likes of mortgage advisors and have all the right paperwork in place before going ahead with putting an offer on a home. 

Slowing Down The Process

Many complications can slow down the process of moving, and for the most part, they’re financially influenced. 

Below you’ll find some of the most common problems that slow down a house move:

Broken Chain

A broken chain can be the biggest thing that causes major delays, and in most cases, there’s nothing you can really do about it aside from waiting or pulling out. 

A large portion of property deals gets delayed or broken due to the chain. To make sure your sale runs as smoothly as possible, communicate regularly with your conveyancer and ensure they’re working with others to similar timescales. 


Conveyancers can also significantly delay the process, which can be due to a variety of factors from both yours and the seller’s side. Expired mortgage agreements, misplaced title deeds, and more can cause problems, It is important to be transparent and fully communicate with your conveyancer.

The Survey

Surveys can unearth problems you had no idea existed, which can cause severe delays as well as potentially prevent you from being offered a mortgage or reduce the fee offered to buy the house.

In this instance, it’s always important to listen to the advice of experts and move forward with theirs and your careful consideration no matter how long the delays. 


It’s not pretty, but it’s a fact of life when it comes to buying a house. There’s a chance a higher bidder might come in and contribute to your deal falling through. From there, it’s essentially starting all over again as a buyer. 

Speeding Up The Process

While there are many reasons why the sale of a property can take so long, there are also many ways in which you can help speed up the process.

If you’re looking to buy and want to place yourself in the best possible position to move forward efficiently, you should consider:

Preparing Financially

Finances can always cause problems, but before making any move forward into buying a house, you should certainly be aware of your financial footprint.

Around six months to a year before looking, acknowledging your credit score, and understanding whether there’s a need or room for improvement. As well as this, you can also speak to a mortgage broker and receive a mortgage agreement in principle which will indicate how much they can offer you and, therefore, a budget when it comes to buying. 

Make Your Mortgage Application As Early As Possible

You should apply for your mortgage at the point when your conveyancer is contacting the seller’s solicitors and doing the appropriate searches, and reviewing legal documents.

From there, you’ll be communicating regularly with your potential mortgage provider, so it’s always best to communicate back and answer any questions as quickly as possible. 

Can You Get An Even Quicker Sale?

Of course, you may need to move much quicker than the eight to 12 weeks on average, and here at Property Rescue, we can certainly help with that. In fact, you can sell your home to us in as little as 48 hours.

We understand some moves need to be done quickly so if you need to sell, no matter the circumstance, we can exchange contracts and pay in cash swiftly and efficiently. 
If you’d like to know more about selling your house fast to us then get in touch with us today.

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