The say good things come to those who wait. But when it comes to selling houses, patience isn't necessarily a virtue.
Once you put your property on the market, the ideal scenario is a flurry of viewings, quickly followed by an asking-price offer. A lengthy period of time waiting for your house to sell brings with it a raft of disadvantages. You may miss out on the new home you are trying to buy because of a failure to sell your own, and potential buyers, who see your property has been on the market for some time, are likely to hit you with an offer well below what you would like to achieve.
New figures show that, nationally, the average time to sell a property has dropped by eight days from 87 days to 79 days.
The fastest place to sell a home, according to the research, was the Kent borough of Dartford where homes took just 16 days to get an acceptable offer.
But, vendors in Darlington are facing a tougher time to sell their homes. The town was named as the slowest place in the country to sell, taking an average of 132 days to find a buyer. It was followed by St Helens in Lancashire at 128 days, followed by Wakefield with 120 days and Bradford at 119 days.
But, elsewhere in the North East, selling times were on a more positive trajectory. Middlesbrough has cut its selling time by 31 days, placing it in the top ten areas where sales have sped up most. While it took 125 days, on average to sell Middlesbrough property during 2015, homes are now selling in 94 days.
Of course, speedy sales do not necessarily mean that the property market is looking healthier. It may simply be that there are fewer properties coming onto the market, meaning more competition among buyers.
Areas with fastest sales also tend to have a mix of buyers, from families looking to live in the property they are purchasing to investors who want to get in on an up-and-coming area.
The new regulations on Stamp Duty, which mean an extra three per cent will be payable on properties with a value of more than £40,000, could also have skewed this years figures. Many investors are rushing through purchases in a bid to avoid the extra cost, which comes into force in April.
While house prices are growing at a steady rate nationally, vendors who make sure their properties are in good condition, both inside and out, and who price their home realistically give themselves the best chance of selling in a much quicker timeframe than 132 days.
Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information: www.latimerhinks.co.uk or call 01325 341500.
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise.
For further information please contact Martin Williamson