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There is no denying that selling a home can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. If you want to sell your home, you'll understandably want to know how long it takes for a house sale to close. It is important to remember that the length of time it takes to sell a house is determined by a variety of factors, not the least of which is how hot or cold the property market is in the area where you are selling your house. Fortunately for us, properties are still in high demand in and around Barnsley, South Yorkshire and the Kirklees area. This article will tell you how long on average houses are taking to sell in the UK and what can be done to help sell your property in Barnsley if your property seems to have been on the market for too long.

What is the Average Time to Sell a House in the UK?

The length of time it takes to sell a house is affected by a variety of factors. The average time it takes to have an offer accepted in 2021 was 44 days (according to Hometrack). Here's a table to help you understand the time taken to sell a property in the UK.

Table: How long each stage in a property sale transaction takes on average in the UK.
Stage of sale Average time taken
From a new home being listed on the market for sale to the offer being accepted 10 - 12 weeks
The conveyancing process 12 weeks
From the exchange of contracts to completion Same day or up to 4 weeks
Total time from property listing to completion of the sale      4 - 6 months

What factors affect the length of time a property is on the market for?

Purchasing trends (what's hot and what's not) shift constantly and quickly. It is nearly impossible to predict the length of an on-market sale, and finding the right buyer is as much luck as preparation. However, the following factors are likely to influence how long it takes to sell your home:

The asking price is excessively high

One of the most common reasons homeowners struggle to sell their homes is that they have set an unrealistically high asking price. This can make securing viewings, let alone offers, difficult. Properties that are overpriced and then reduced take months longer to sell than those that are priced correctly in the first place. Butcher Residential has over 20 years of experience in valuing properties in Barnsley. If you would like a free, no-obligation property market appraisal, contact us via our property valuation request page.

A lousy estate agent

From traditional high street estate agents to online operators, the selection of estate agents can be overwhelming. However, not all real estate agents are created equal. Your property will take longer to sell if your agent is not proactive in securing viewings, has poor customer management skills, or has too many clients to handle. You can rest assured that Butcher Residential have professional, very experienced salespeople based at our offices in Barnsley, Penistone and Denby Dale.

Marketing that is ineffective

Buyers have access to hundreds of property ads online, and if your home isn't well-marketed, they'll pass it up. A lack of multiple high-quality images and detailed information will not entice a potential buyer to call and request a viewing. Additionally, make sure that your home is listed on all of the major property portals, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as your estate agent's website.

It is difficult to obtain a mortgage for your property

Traditional mortgage lenders are less willing to lend for the purchase of certain types of property, such as unusual structures or apartments above shops - especially hot food takeaways. If you have an unmortgageable home, the pool of potential buyers is reduced to cash buyers.

Your house is not well-presented

A cluttered, unkempt home sends all the wrong signals to potential buyers. It can make it difficult for them to conduct a thorough inspection — how can they see the fantastic storage provided by built-in wardrobes if their clothes are piled high in front of them?

Important information is not provided to prospective buyers

There could be some details about your home that make it more appealing to potential buyers. If you do not share this information, you may lose a sale. Is your next-door neighbour a skilled handyman who assists with all the little jobs that need to be done and steps up in an emergency? Are there any special local amenities and attractions potential buyers should be made aware of such as the Trans Pennine Trail or Locke Park?  Perhaps you've had planning permission approved for a new conservatory — this extra space could be exactly what the buyer is looking for, but they'll only know about it if you tell them!

A "cold" property market

A variety of events and circumstances contribute to market volatility. This isn't really a worry for the time of this article being published (April 2022) as the market is still buoyant. However, the volatile world we find ourselves living in at the moment could throw us a curveball at any moment. 

The house lacks "curb appeal"

A neglected home is much more difficult to sell than one that is clean, tidy, and well-maintained. If the property is not well presented for viewings, potential buyers may struggle to imagine themselves making it their home and are less likely to make an offer.

It's the wrong time of year to sell

Again, this has not been particularly relevant since we came back from Covid Lockdown in May 2020 as it has been busy all year round. Traditionally, however, property moves at varying rates depending on the season. Spring is a good time to sell because many buyers are looking for a new home. In contrast, the run-up to Christmas is usually quiet, with most people postponing their relocation plans until the new year.

Buyers are put off by your property chain

If you're in a long property chain, potential buyers may be hesitant to make an offer because they're concerned about a break further down the chain causing problems.

You're considering the wrong kind of deals

If you have previously accepted offers on your home but the sales have fallen through, it is possible that you were focusing on the wrong buyers. If your estate agent allows people to make offers without "qualifying" them — checking that they have at least a "mortgage in principle" — or if you accepted an offer from a buyer in a long property chain, this could explain why the sales have failed.

How to get moving

What can you do if you've identified any of the problems listed above to improve your chances of finding a buyer and selling your home?

1. Reconsider the asking price

In order to win your business, some estate agents in Barnsley will inflate their valuation. This can result in a high asking price, which turns off potential buyers. Do some research yourself before making the decision on what estate agent to instruct to sell your property in Barnsley. Examine comparable properties (size, location, condition, etc.) that have recently sold as well as those that have been on the market for some time. There's a handy tool by Zoopla that offers an estimated value of your home. This research should help you determine if your home has been over-valued. And don't forget to consider the market's health — if prices are falling everywhere, you'll probably have to lower your asking price as well.

2. Change real estate agents

If your estate agent isn't doing their job, shop around. If you think you may be tied in to a contract, contact us to review the contract for you and we'll help improve the chances of getting your property in Barnsley sold quicker. There may also be the option to go "multi agency" whereby you will have two estate agents fighting to sell your home. Try to figure out why your current agent isn't producing results, and then take your list of expectations to different agencies to find one that can better serve you.

3. Improve your advertisement

Consider hiring a professional photographer to take new photos of your home that show it in the best light possible without being deceptive. Make certain that your property listing contains information pertinent to the target market. When selling a family home, emphasise the large secure garden and proximity to an "outstanding" school. Add floorplans to your current marketing if you don't already have them. Video tours have grown in popularity over the last 18 months as people remain wary of entering other people's homes due to the pandemic. Consider making a video tour to use in your advertisement. A good property ad will increase your chances of getting viewings scheduled.

4. Get your house ready for viewings

Whether you're hosting in-person or remote viewings, make sure the property is clean and clutter-free. Open the curtains and turn on the lights to make the house appear bright and welcoming. Consider staging the rooms, such as putting fresh flowers in the living room and a bowl of fruit in the kitchen. When it comes to selling a house, every little bit helps. Fix anything that is broken, especially when the financial impact of fixing them is minimal such as broken/unaligned cupboard doors, cracked tiles, missing door handles, heavily worn carpets, dripping taps, broken window-sill, etc. Furthermore, removing vibrant and personal decor such as patterned wallpaper and brightly coloured wall paint can help potential buyers imagine themselves living in the property.

5. Request feedback

After viewings, asking potential buyers for feedback can provide valuable insight into why the property isn't selling. Does everyone agree that the house appears to be smaller than it appears in the photos? Make your ad more accurate by including some more accurate images. Is the unkempt garden putting off a lot of people? Spend a little time or money cleaning it up.

6. Inform buyers about the potential of your home

Few people purchase a home with the intention of living in it exactly as it is at the time of purchase. When someone puts their own stamp on a house, it becomes a home. Many buyers choose a property based on its development potential, which is not always obvious. Make sure to include any information that might make the property more appealing to potential buyers. Inform potential buyers if you've received planning permission for an extension or a loft conversion, or if you know your neighbours have.

7. Temporarily relocate to rented housing

Buyers prefer vacant possession properties because there is no property chain on one side and no need to wait for the current owners to leave. Similarly, if you move into a rented property for a short period of time, you will increase your appeal as a buyer because you will be chain-free.

8. Examine offers before accepting them

If you receive multiple bids on your property, consider the bidders' circumstances and how much they are willing to pay for it. Do they have a letter of intent from a mortgage company? Are they a part of a property chain or a cash buyer? Choose the buyer who is most likely to see the transaction through to completion over the buyer who makes a high offer but is part of a long chain or has yet to secure the necessary financing. It's not always about accepting the highest offer!

Butcher Residential Estate Agents in Barnsley can assist you if you are having difficulty selling your home. We specialise in sales, residential lettings and property management, land and new homes. We pride ourselves on being a local family-run business and have been established for over 20 years. We have a proven track record of successfully selling and letting properties in the local area for great prices and we offer a personable and efficient job to all our clients. Our experienced sales teams offer the highest levels of service and are all highly experienced within the property industry. So whether you are looking at buying, selling or renting, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands every step of the way.


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