Giving keys


With something as significant as buying and selling a property, there is always going to be a bit of time involved getting from start to finish. There are plenty of things you can do to help speed up the process as well as making the process as stress-free and smooth as possible. Choosing the right estate agent, getting all your paperwork together early and completing the Property Information Questionnaire as soon as you can are key things.

Here are our top tips to help you buy and sell your property quicker.

How long should it take?

The average property transaction takes around 12 weeks; however, this can be reduced to 8 weeks when using the Property Information Questionnaire, which has consistently sped up the process when we tested it in over 200 sales during 2019.

This makes sense when the pre-exchange period is known to be the part of the process most prone to delays. It’s at this point where you can expect a lot of back and forth between solicitors, agents and mortgage advisors – especially if you’re part of a chain, the Sales Protocol Toolkit is designed to retrieve the majority of information needed at this stage right at the start of the sale.

Choose the right estate agent

Picking the right estate agent is essential; you will want someone local, who has had experience selling properties like yours and is NAEA Propertymark Protected. They will advertise your property, find buyers, and inform you of any offers that come through, as well as give you a valuation. The agent will also have the expertise to advertise your property to find the most potential buyers and help you choose the right offer.

Ask your estate agent for the Sales Protocol Toolkit

Ask your estate agent for a copy of the Propertymark Sales Protocol Toolkit, which will save you money, time and takes away a lot of the problems that so often occur in a property sale. This contains three questionnaires that need to be completed before your house is sale ready. The Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) can be filled out independently.

Alongside the information in your Sales Protocol Toolkit, you will also need copies of a handful of paperwork, including:

  • A copy of the lease (if the property is leasehold)
  • Documentation related to the freehold (if a freehold property)
  • FENSA certificates for replacement windows
  • Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Relevant building restrictions
  • Building regulation certificate when alterations have taken place
  • A Gas Safety certificate for a new boiler.

Speak to your mortgage adviser

You should speak to a mortgage adviser to confirm your budget and get an agreement in principle from them.

When your offer is accepted, you’ll receive a formal mortgage offer, but remember this will only be valid for a set time-frame, and if you don’t complete on the property before it expires, you’ll need to start the process again.

Pick a first-class solicitor or conveyancer

Choosing a first-class solicitor will make a real difference. A good conveyancer or solicitor is crucial to the whole process, so it’s important you’re working with someone you trust. Ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues or look at our guidance on picking the perfect solicitor, to ensure your sale or purchase is in good hands.

At the start of the process, your solicitor or conveyancer will probably send a lot of information through to you, and it’s important to review, fill out, sign and return everything quickly and efficiently.

If you aren’t sure of the answer to any of the questions, speak to your agent, as giving incorrect answers at this stage is likely to lead to enquiries being raised later.

Take your time, but not too much time

Don’t rush anything, but don’t sit on things for two or three weeks as you’ll be holding up the process. Accept that normal life may need to take a back seat until you have exchanged contracts, and make sure you’re fully contactable – even if you’re on holiday.

Stay in contact

Make sure to keep in regular contact with your solicitor and estate agent so you’re up to speed with what’s going on throughout the process.

To help keep things moving, you might want to agree on a weekly update between all parties at the start of the process to reduce the chances of any miscommunication or misunderstandings.

Set a target end date

By agreeing on a realistic target date for exchange, everyone has a set deadline to work towards, which should give the whole process some impetus and structure.

If one side or both sides aren’t in a rush to move, build in some extra time between exchange and completion rather than being too flexible with the exchange date.

Keep on top of things

It’s important to stay in the loop because if you understand what needs to be done and by when, it’s easier for you to manage the sale process and keep on top of what needs chasing up.

Quote mark

Property transactions occasionally take longer than expected and there is nothing more frustrating for someone who is eager to move, than a delayed transaction.

Planning well and managing your own expectations can help mitigate against this and your estate agent should be able to guide you through the process and keep things moving on your behalf.

David Cox

Mark Hayward
NAEA Propertymark



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