How Long Does it Take to Sell a House in South West London?


For most sellers, speed is of the essence. Maybe you need to find a buyer quickly so your own offer will be accepted on a dream home, or you have another pressing deadline, like a job or school application. Whatever the reason, the question of how long it will take to sell your home is an understandable concern.

If you’re hoping for a quick and easy house sale in south west London, you do have one big advantage – the desirability of the area, whether you’re selling in Balham, Clapham, Wandsworth, Tooting Bec or Battersea. These lovely neighbourhoods, with a great range of shops and cafes, good state and independent schools (the Northcote Road is not called Nappy Valley for nothing) and the commons with their endless green space, mean people will always be drawn to the area.

If you’re wondering how much your south west London home might sell for, according to Rightmove, the average was just over £800,000 last year. Flats averaged £530,000, terraced properties £985,000, and semis over £1.4 million. This was a 2% rise on the previous year and 8% up on the previous high of 2017.

There are two deadlines to factor in when considering how long it will take to sell your home – the time your property is on the market before it sells and the time it takes to get from offer to completion.

The time to find a buyer will depend on market conditions, location and the condition of your home. The second deadline is down to a range of factors; from how many people are in your chain to how long your conveyancer takes.

Based on our experience of helping sellers in south west London, we answer some of the questions we get asked about the things that make or break a quick sale.

How long should I expect to wait before my house finds a buyer?

The time to find a buyer in the UK is usually quoted as between five and 14 weeks. Since the property market opened after the first lockdown, demand has grown exponentially, meaning this average has fallen. According to Rightmove the average time to find a buyer in 2019 was 67 days, compared to a current figure of 33 days, with the most desirable properties sold in just a few days.

How long does it take to get to exchange of contracts once an offer is accepted?

The average time, under normal market conditions to get a sale from offer to exchange is a little over two months. However, the pressure on the conveyancing and mortgage application system, coupled with clearing the coronavirus backlog, means it may take longer.

How long does it take between exchange and completion?

Buyers and sellers agree a completion date at exchange. This is usually two weeks later, but the period can be reduced if you need an exceptionally quick sale. It can sometimes be longer too, especially in more complex property chains.

How long will it take to sell my house with no chain?

If you’re selling and going into rented accommodation and your purchaser is a first-time buyer, or without a place to sell, expect your sale to progress much faster – more so, if you have a cash buyer, who doesn’t need to get a mortgage offer.

For a chain-free buyer with a mortgage, your sale could go through in 10 weeks – or as little as four weeks for a cash buyer with a fast conveyancer. We’ve even seen cases of a two-week window, though usually where property professionals are the buyers.

How can I sell my house quickly?

You can’t always control factors such as the state of the market, what happens in your chain or how quick your buyer is at moving things along, but there are some things you can do to speed up a sale:

1. Choose your estate agent wisely – you need someone proactive, with a good nose for the local market and who is a good communicator.

2. Choose your conveyancer well too, read reviews and get recommendations, you need someone you can rely on to keep the sale moving.

3. Price your home realistically or even competitively – due to the level of demand offers in 2022 are coming in at and above the asking price.

4. Put in the work to get the home ready to sell, make sure it’s in pristine condition with neutral décor and no clutter.

5. Be careful which offer you accept, prioritise chain-free, or, if possible, cash buyers.

6. Get organised – have all the necessary paperwork to hand and sign everything and reply to any queries asap.

7. Keep in close contact with your conveyancer and be around – don’t go away during the sale period.

What could delay a house sale?

All sorts of things can delay the sale, from a conveyancer with a busy workload to an issue with the roof that comes up in the survey. You can’t always control these delays, especially if they happen further up the chain. However, you can do everything you can to speed things up. This includes deciding which conveyancer you’ll use before you get an offer and instructing them immediately. Having all the necessary certificates and guarantees regarding work on your property ready and having your own mortgage options sorted out in plenty of time will also help.

Which months are best for quick sales?

Spring and early summer are always regarded as the best times to sell, when light nights bring more buyers out for viewings. Early autumn is traditionally good too, with August, November and December considered the worst.

However, the recent property market, skewed by the stamp duty holiday and lockdown, has been very different with high levels of sales in the summer holidays and over Christmas. If you’re looking for the best time to sell quickly, always research current market conditions in the area – read the property press and take advice from your agent.

How long do I need to live in a house before selling it?

There is no legal reason why you can’t decide to sell soon after buying. However, you will face a large stamp duty bill for buying and selling in quick succession, plus many other costs too. Buyers may wonder why the home is on the market so soon. You may also find it hard to get a mortgage less than a year after your previous loan was granted.

How quickly can I sell a leasehold property?

If your property is leasehold the sale is likely to take a bit longer. Conveyancing for leasehold homes is usually more complex – so choose a solicitor with experience of these types of transactions.

If you’re thinking of putting your south west London home on the market, talk to us. We will work with you to develop the marketing strategy to help you find the right buyer for today’s market.