How to sell a flat quickly 2023
If you want to sell a flat quickly, you may be concerned about the current property market. In the last couple of years, the cladding scandal and a covid-inspired desire for outdoor space have made things tricky for those wanting to sell flats. Mortgage lenders are now beginning to relax lending criteria, but with the question of who will be required to pay for remedial fire safety work still unanswered, flats do not have the same buyer appeal they once did.
In this guide
- Is it easy to sell a flat?
- How long does it take to sell a flat in the UK?
- How long does it take to sell a flat in London?
- What is the process of selling a leasehold flat?
- What paperwork do I need to sell my flat?
- Selling a flat with a short
- Solicitors fees for selling a leasehold flat
- Selling a flat with cladding
- Can I sell a flat with tenants in?
- What’s the best way to sell a flat?
- How much does it cost to sell a flat?
- Is it a good time to sell a flat?
- Summary on how to sell a flat quickly
Is it easy to sell a flat?
Historically, it has been fairly easy to sell a flat, especially in cities. More affordable than a house, and often requiring less upkeep, flats have particularly appealed to young professionals who are keen to get a foot on the property ladder and those looking for a ‘pied a terre’. Sadly, the flat resale market isn’t what it once was. The cladding and fire safety scandal in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has had a significant impact on how easy it is to sell a flat in the UK, especially those in larger blocks. The market has also been heavily impacted by Covid-19, which has seen a significantly increased appetite for outdoor space.
How long does it take to sell a flat in the UK?
The UK average for how long it takes to sell a flat is currently 228 days (correct as of 11/05/2022).
How long does it take to sell a flat in London?
It typically takes around 81 days to sell a flat in London; more than twice the amount of time it takes to sell a terraced or semi-detached house, which both sell in an average of 33 days.
What is the process of selling a leasehold flat?
Most flats in the UK will be leasehold properties. Selling a leasehold flat is much like selling any other property, but with a few extra steps.
Before you put your flat on the market, you’ll need to collate some basic information about the property. You should find out how many years are left on your lease, along with details of the managing agent, any restrictions on the lease, and the ground rent and management fees payable. The number of years left on the lease is particularly important, as the figure could have an impact on whether the flat is mortgageable.
You can find out how many years remain on your lease by looking through the legal information you received when buying the property. If you struggle to locate that paperwork, you can also purchase a copy from HM Land Registry. If there is limited time left on the lease, you also have the option of paying to extend it. This will help to make your flat more sellable.
If you appoint a conveyancing solicitor before you put your property on the market, you’ll have the opportunity to get started on the legal paperwork that can often hold a sale up. It’s a good idea to complete the Leasehold Information Form (TA7) before you market the property, as this will give you the opportunity to collect answers to some of the common questions would-be buyers are likely to ask.
What paperwork do I need to sell my flat?
When you complete the Leasehold Information Form (TA7) you will need to gather:
- A copy of the lease
- The name and address of the freeholder/landlord
- Details of any payments you’ve made during your ownership of the property eg. ground rent and service charges
- Any correspondence between yourself and the freeholder or managing agents eg. notice of any work to be carried out at the property etc.
- Details of any attempts that have been made to buy the freehold of the property or regarding a Right-to-Manage company
You’ll also need to complete a property information form (TA6) which will give your buyer a wide range of information about the property. Alongside this, you’ll need to provide details of any work you’ve had done to the property and copies of any guarantees or warranties relating to the property (for example if you’ve had any replacement windows or doors fitted, or a new boiler).
Other things to consider before marketing your flat
Is your property shared ownership? If so, you’ll need to explore whether there are any guidelines around the reselling of the flat. Some shared ownership schemes require the owner to offer first refusal for the property to the housing association or freeholder before marketing on the open market.
Do you own a share of the freehold? If so, your share will need to be transferred to the new owner on completion. If the share is held by a company, your share in the company will also need to be transferred. Both of these things are fairly easy for your conveyancing solicitor to do, but the sooner it’s taken into consideration the less capacity it has to hold up your flat sale.
Selling a flat with a short lease
If, when gathering information about the property, you find that you have less than 90 years remaining on the lease, you may want to consider your options.
A short lease is likely to have an impact on any would-be buyers’ ability to secure mortgage lending and could hold-up or jeopardise your sale.
If you find yourself trying to sell your flat with a short lease, you have two options; pay to extend the lease or sell to a cash buyer.
How much it costs to extend the lease will depend on how many years are currently left. The fewer years remaining, the more the extension will cost.
Other factors that will impact the cost to extend the lease include:
- The market value of the flat
- Any improvement made to the flat interior
- The ground rent payable
You may be reluctant to pay out to extend the lease before you move, but a longer lease will make the property much more saleable, and as a result will increase the flat’s value significantly. If you’d like to get an idea of the difference an extended lease could make to the property value, it’s worth speaking to a local estate agent. They will be able to give you a market valuation ‘as is’ and with an extended lease.
Solicitor’s fees for selling a leasehold flat
Selling a leasehold property is more expensive than selling a freehold property. This is due to the amount of extra legal work required on top of a standard freehold propertysale.
Legal firms will operate in different ways. Some will add a leasehold ‘supplement fee’ onto their usual cost (usually around £250 + VAT), whilst others will have an entirely different pricing structure for the sale of a leasehold property. Depending on the complexity of your flat sale, you can expect to pay somewhere around £1,000-£1,500 to sell a leasehold flat. For a personalised quote, it’s worth contacting a few different conveyancing solicitors in your area. Remember, however, that a good solicitor can have a big impact on the speed and success of your property sale, so it’s not necessarily wise to base your choice of solicitor purely on cost.
Selling a flat with cladding
It’s been particularly difficult to sell a flat with external cladding since the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the Hackitt Report.
All blocks of flats above 18 metres high, and those where there are specific concerns about fire safety, are required to have an EWS1 (External Wall Survey) certificate, however many mortgage lenders are requesting an EWS1 certificate as standard for every flat purchase. At one point there was a big backlog of external wall surveys, which was holding up the sale of flats. This has largely dissipated, and surveys are now more readily available, however buyer caution still remains in many areas.
Can I sell a flat with tenants in?
You can sell a flat with tenants in, however it’s important to be aware that this will limit your market to fellow investors, which will impact the value of the property. It is estimated that selling a flat with sitting tenants can reduce the property’s value by 20-60%, depending on the type of tenancy in place.
What’s the best way to sell a flat?
There are several different ways to sell a flat. Which way is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances and the condition and location of your flat.
- Open Market Sale
If your flat is vacant and has a reasonable lease remaining (100+ years), selling on the open market will maximise your chances of achieving the highest price for the property. Open market sales are the best way to reach the biggest pool of potential buyers.
- Property Auction
If you need to sell your property with a sitting tenant, or the flat has a short lease that you don’t want to extend, property auctions can be a great option. Property auctions attract fellow property investors that will be happy to take on properties with the convenience of already having a tenant in place, as it means they will be earning an income from the property from day one.
- Property buying company
If you’re looking for a quick flat sale, a property buying company can offer an ideal solution. Able to buy in as little as a week, a property buying company can step in to rescue a sale if your buyer pulls out at the last minute. As cash buyers, they can also buy short-lease properties.
How much does it cost to sell a flat?
There are several costs to consider if you want to sell a flat quickly. Below are some of the estimated costs that may be applicable to you.
- Legal fees: £1,000 – £1,500
- Estate agency fees: 1-1.5% of property sale price
- Auction fees: £500+ (entry fee plus legal pack fee) and around 2% of final property sale price
- Removal costs: If you’re physically moving out of the property, you will also need to consider things like removal costs
Top tips on selling a flat
- Gather all of the information you can on the lease, ground rent and service charges, as these are likely to be some of the first questions any interested buyers will ask and it will speed up the process to have the information readily available.
- Research recent sold prices for similar flats to get an idea of how much your flat might be worth.
- Research different methods of sale that might be most appropriate for your individual circumstances.
Is it a good time to sell a flat?
Flat prices are currently very high, which could tempt those who are on the fence about selling onto the market, and demand for flats is starting to pick up now that people are beginning to move back to cities and into the office. The market isn’t the same as it was before Grenfell and before Covid-19, however, and whilst houses are selling remarkably quickly, flats are more likely to take longer to sell.
Summary on how to sell a flat quickly
If you want to sell a flat quickly, a genuine cash property buyer or a property auction are likely to be your best options. You are likely to get a little less than selling your flat on the open market, but an auction is likely to attract property investors which may help you to secure a sale for an unusual or tenanted property, and a cash property buyer can offer a speed and certainty that is unmatched by any other method of sale.
Find out more about:
- When’s the best time to sell a house?
- What is a down valuation?
- How to sell a house without an estate agent
- What to do if your house sale falls through
- How to avoid selling your house to pay for care
- How to sell my property portfolio
- The return of negative equity
- How much is my house worth?
- How long does a mortgage offer last when buying a new home?
- What is a mortgage prisoner and how do you become free?
Do I need an asbestos survey to sell my flat?
No, you don’t. If you are aware of any asbestos within the property, you should make your buyer aware, but you won’t need an asbestos survey unless your buyer is concerned and requests one in order for the sale to complete.
Are 1-bedroom flats hard to sell?
1-bedroom flats are traditionally more difficult to sell than 2-bedroom flats. Second bedrooms are useful for guests, hobbies or home offices. They also offer the potential of additional income if you choose to take in a lodger. Those who can afford to stretch to a 2-bedroom property will usually choose to do so.
How long to sell a flat in London
It currently takes around 81 days to sell a flat in London.
Is it easy to sell a flat?
It currently takes around X days to sell a flat – x days longer than it takes to sell a house. Demand for flats has fallen significantly since the pandemic, as more buyers prioritise outdoor space.
how to sell a retirement flat
Retirement flats can be sold through a normal estate agent, or the company that manages the flat may offer a ‘resale’ service. It is worth noting that retirement flats are usually worth considerably less than similar properties without age restrictions, as there are fewer potential buyers.
What paperwork do I need to sell my flat?
When you sell your flat you will need to provide any paperwork associated with your lease, management fees and service fees. You will also need to complete a Property Information Form (TA6) and a Leasehold Information Form (TA7).