How Long Does It Take To Sell A Property?

On average it takes 30 days to sell a property in Australia, which is down from 2020’s average of 49 days. Properties in metropolitan areas sell much faster than those in regional areas, so this number can vary depending on where you’re selling. Days to sell refers to the average days on market of properties in Australia, but how long does it really take to sell a property?


What’s involved in selling a property?

How long to really sell a property
How long to really sell a property

Putting your property on the market is only one part of the selling process – often the shortest part. The process begins when you make the decision to sell your property. From there, you will need to:

  • Choose an agent
  • Create a sales plan
  • Prepare your property for sale
  • Market your property
  • Choose a buyer and sign the sales contract
  • Wait for the contract to go unconditional (unless it’s a cash sale)
  • Work with your agent and lawyer through the settlement period
  • Settlement

The time it takes to complete this entire process is much longer than 30 days, and it can vary dramatically. At each step of the process, you can make choices that give you the best chance of selling quickly and for the best price.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent is key if you want to sell a property fast. Your agent is your connection to the market, and the right agent will have a list of hot buyers who are actively looking to buy. Without this list, your property can sit on the market for months, while you search for the right buyer.  

It’s crucial to do your research before choosing an agent: ask for referrals, read reviews, look at past sales history and interview your shortlisted agents.

Once you’ve chosen an agent, they can

  • guide you through the sales process
  • discuss options for the sale of your property
  • help you make decisions on how to sell
  • make a plan to achieve a fast and successful sale. 


Create a sales plan

Your agent will help you decide some key elements of your sales plan. These include:

  • Method of sale
  • Selling price
  • Target market
  • Marketing strategy

Method of sale

The method of sale will affect how long it takes to sell a property. You can choose between:

  • Auction
  • Private treaty
  • Expression of interest or tender


An auction campaign generally lasts 4–6 weeks. During this time, your agent will show the property to hot buyers and encourage plenty of interest to create a competitive environment leading up to the auction.

Agents usually encourage conditional offers during the auction campaign, but it is unusual for sellers to accept one of these offers. Rather, the offers allow the agent and seller to set a reserve price based on what buyers are willing to pay.

Buyers are aware of the auction date, which provides a deadline for them to act. A good agent will use the competitive environment to persuade buyers to submit their best offers, which lets you know what to expect on auction day. By auction day, the added level of competition should help you get the best price for your property.

Private treaty

A fixed sale method is referred to as a private treaty. Without the excitement of an auction to drive up the price, you will need to set a price that accurately reflects the value of your property. Your agent will then:

  • Advertise the property
  • Show the property to hot buyers
  • Collect offers from any interested buyers
  • Negotiate with your chosen buyer
  • Finalise the sale between you and the buyer

It is very difficult to predict the likely time frame with this method of sale because buyers do not feel the same urgency to act as they do with the auction process. The timeframe will be determined by: 

  • your asking price
  • exposure to the right buyers
  • market conditions
  • number of comparable properties for sale

It could take anywhere from a weekend to a few months to find the right buyer to successfully sell a property by private treaty. 

On occasion, property listings can become stale as the property sits on the market without a successful sale. In these cases, it’s a good idea to take your property off the market and relist it later. Read more about relisting here.

Expressions of interest or tender

These two methods of sale are similar. They act like a closed, silent auction, where interested buyers submit their best offers by a set date. Unlike an auction, buyers are completely unaware of what other buyers have offered or how much competition exists. 

After the closing date, the agent and seller will discuss the offers and either reject, accept or negotiate with buyers. Offers must:

  • Be submitted on a contract of sale
  • Describe all terms of the offer
  • Be received before the closing date and time

The time it takes to sell a property via these methods is pre-determined by the closing date – providing you receive an acceptable offer. This could be anywhere from 4–6 weeks. 

This sale method suits high-end properties more than other property types. 

With all methods of sale, the agent will keep you informed about buyer interest throughout the campaign, which will allow you to gauge how long it might take.

Setting the right price to sell a property fast

Find the right buyer
Find the right buyer

Your agent will also help you set a listing price based on the true value of your property. They should provide you with a comparative market analysis, which compares recent sales similar to your property.

It’s imperative to set the right price before listing your property to sell. Too high and you risk disappointing buyers on inspection; too low and you risk selling below the true value of your home.

Target market

Knowing the target market can help sell a property faster. A quality agent will discuss the location, features and value of your property to help you determine who your target market is. For example, families or singles. Once you know this, you can prepare the property with this in mind and aim your marketing efforts at the right buyers.

Choosing a marketing campaign to sell a property quickly

A quality real estate agent understands the importance of an effective, tailored marketing campaign. Once you know your method of sale, price and target market, your agent can use these to formulate the best marketing campaign to sell your property quickly.

These are only some of the elements involved in reaching an agreement with your agent. This process can take time, so it’s crucial to find an agent who knows how to streamline the process to reduce the overall time it takes to sell a property.

Preparing your property for sale

Style your property to sell
Style your property to sell

Once you have a plan to sell your property, it’s time to prepare it for sale. Your agent can help you decide how much time and money to spend on improving your home. As a minimum, you should:

  1. Declutter your home
  2. Clean it inside and out
  3. Ensure the lawn and gardens are well-maintained
  4. Do repairs and maintenance

To sell a property fast, some sellers spend extra on professional photography, minor or major renovations and home styling. Read more about preparing your property in our handy selling guide.

A quality agent will have built solid relationships with a team of industry professionals who can help you prepare your home. For example, tradespeople, photographers, stylers, landscapers, etc.

The time it takes to prepare a property to sell varies depending on the work involved. It can range from weeks to months, so it’s essential to have a plan in place to ensure the work is done to schedule.

Market your property

Market your property
Market your property to sell faster

Once your home is ready, your agent will launch the marketing campaign by putting your property on the market to sell. Your chosen method of sale will determine how long the property is expected to remain on the market.

As mentioned, the average time on market is currently 30 days. However, this fluctuates over time depending on market conditions and property specific factors such as presentation and the asking price. It also varies by state and territory and time of year.


Choosing a buyer and signing the sales contract

A successful marketing campaign should bring you plenty of offers or plenty of buyers eager to bid at auction, depending on your method of sale. If you receive an acceptable offer, your lawyer will prepare the legal sales contract and your agent will ensure both you and the buyer sign it. 

If you sell at auction, you and the buyer will sign the sale contract on the day. Sale contracts at auction are always unconditional.

The process of choosing a buyer and signing the contract could take a few days to a couple of weeks. If a conditional sale falls through, you will lose time as the other interested buyers may since have purchased a property or may no longer be interested. 

Wait for the contract to go unconditional

Most private treaty sales contracts are conditional on the buyer receiving finance. The buyer can also request other conditions, like a building and pest inspection. These conditions add time to how long it will take to sell a property. Once all conditions are met, the contract goes unconditional and the settlement period begins.

Finance clauses usually give 14–21 days for finance approval. Building and pest inspections can be anywhere from 7 to 14 days. However, these timeframes are negotiable so they can vary. 

Work with your agent and conveyancer/lawyer through the settlement period

The settlement period begins when you and the buyer sign the sales contract and ends on settlement day. This period is usually 30 to 90 days, depending on what the seller and buyer agree on.


The last step of the process to sell a property is settlement. This is when all outstanding money is paid to the appropriate recipients and the buyer receives the keys. You will receive the funds from the sale on the day of settlement.

This happens on the last day of the settlement period. Read more about the settlement process here.


How long does it really take to sell a property?

The total sales process can take 3–6 months, depending on the above factors. By being aware of the elements involved in a successful sale, you can make proactive choices to streamline the process. A good real estate agent can guide you through the process and connect you with hot buyers to get a quick sale.

Compare agents in your local area to see how they can help get the best price fast.