Moving house is a stressful process at the best of times, but it becomes even more so if your current property won’t sell.
Struggling to sell a house can make it feel like your life has been put on hold. In some circumstances – such as if the seller is relocating for work – a protracted delay could cost them a significant amount of money. They could find themselves saddled with two lots of mortgage payments and utility bills for several months, which is far from ideal.
Is your property seemingly stuck on the market, with no end to the process in sight? Read on to find out why your home isn’t selling, and what to do about it.
Do you Need to Sell Your House?
First of all, as rudimentary and obvious as it might sound, it is worth considering whether selling your property is absolutely necessary in the first place.
For example, if you are considering selling your home because you need more space, it might be worth looking into building an extension, or converting an attic or basement in your home to give you that extra space rather than selling the property.
Are You Worrying Unnecessarily?
Everyone wants to be inundated with viewings and offers immediately after listing their home on the market. Just because that isn’t happening, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your home.
The average house in Britain sells in 102 days (almost three-and-a-half months), according to statistics from the Post Office Money Mortgages. However, this timespan varies widely from city to city. In Edinburgh, it takes just 39 days on average to sell a house, whereas in London the figure rises to 126 days.
Check out the average for your area. If you’re still within that window, there’s no reason to worry – after all, these things take time. For more information on how long properties typically take to sell, read our article: How Long Does it Take to Sell a House?
Questions to Ask if You are Struggling to Sell Your House
If your house isn’t receiving the offers you’d hope that doesn’t mean there’s something fundamentally wrong with it.
Ask yourself the following questions to establish what might be going wrong.
Are you Advertising Your House Effectively?
Online agents have become more popular over recent years, but high street estate agents are still used by most sellers. The level of service from a high street agent is usually more complete and comprehensive with Energy Performance Certificates, property valuations and hosted viewings coming as standard.
Even the most attractive, well-located, affordably priced property will stay on the market for longer than it should if it doesn’t receive the right promotion. How can you expect to receive offers if hardly anyone realises your house is for sale?
It is important to hire the services of an experienced estate agents which understands the local housing market. Here at Chancellors, we have two centuries of experience in selling houses. We’ve learned a thing or two in that time. Here are just some of the factors that set us apart from the competition when it comes to marketing a property:
- We have more than 70,000 active applicants on our books looking to buy a house.
- Our team makes more than 15,000 proactive calls every working day.
- As well as advertising houses on all four major portals, we promote them on more than 40 other websites.
- More than half of our buyers made an offer on a property we actively marketed to them, rather than one they found online.
With an unrivalled level of experience, our estate agents can offer invaluable support and guidance to find potential buyers and finalise sales. To find out more about all of our services, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Does Your Property Have Niche Appeal?
Not every property can be expected to attract the same level of interest. Some simply have a more limited audience. Types of house that may have a more niche appeal include:
- Large houses with small gardens
- Small houses with large gardens
- Homes with more than three bedrooms
- Properties with shared access
- Substantial customisation (e.g. unusual landscaping or interior design choices)
None of these factors is necessarily a problem. In some ways, they could even prove to be an advantage, giving your property a clear USP.
You don’t need to attract dozens of interested house-hunters; just one or two who are in love with your home. But a lack of mass appeal is likely to mean your property spends longer on the market.
Are you Giving Buyers a Good First Impression?
From the moment they first walk through the door, it takes the average buyer just 40 seconds to decide if they’ll make an offer. If buyers aren’t are getting a good impression from the second they pull up outside, they’ll look elsewhere.
Is Your Asking Price Reasonable?
An unrealistic asking price is one of the biggest reasons why seemingly desirable houses struggle to sell. Yours isn’t the only property on the market; if buyers can find a similar home – in a similar location – for a lower price, why would they put in an offer for yours?
Setting the right asking price for your home is crucial. The reason why you are struggling to sell your property could be primarily down to an asking price which is too high.
You should invest the time in researching the local market. An asking price which is too high will risk putting people off immediately.
Whilst estate agents can advise you, ultimately, the asking price is entirely up to you. If you have chosen to get a few different estate agents to value your property and they have come to similar valuations, you can be fairly confident in setting an asking price around their valuations.
Be wary of an estate agent which values your house at a significantly higher asking price. As mentioned, setting an unrealistic asking price can immediately put buyers off even viewing the property.
If you have received offers and have rejected them, it might be worth considering certain factors should you receive another offer, such as:
- How fair is the offer? Is it close to the valuation of estate agents?
- Was an offer below your asking price made because of structural work which needs addressing in and around the property?
- How long has the property been on the market?
- What are current market conditions? Are sales in the area low, meaning that accepting an offer could be in your best interests?
- What is the buyer’s situation?
What to do if You’re Struggling to Sell your Property
Few houses are truly unsellable. There’s almost always something more that you and your agent can be doing to encourage a sale.
It is important to consider whether you have done all you can to prepare your house for a sale. Your struggles to sell your house could be simply down to not preparing your house to the best possible standard to encourage buyers.
Improve Your Home Staging
Remember when we said that buyers waste little time in deciding whether or not to make an offer? Put your best foot forward by staging your home more effectively ahead of your next viewing.
If you “stage” your home well, you are likely to sell it faster and you might make be able to make it more valuable too. First impressions certainly count, and it pays to spruce up your property to make it more appealing for those coming to view the property.
Points to keep in mind:
- Ensure the property is clean, tidy and free from clutter. With these conditions, a buyer will be able to imagine how they could potentially use the space
- Ensure the property looks good from the outside. Make sure the lawn is mowed, pull out weeds, clean the windows and repair any broken gates or fences. Ensure that outdoor space is neat and tidy, and give the patio a wash if you have one
- Consider getting some home improvements. A fresh coat of paint, taking care of any mould stains and replacing handles and doors are not costly and can add considerable appeal to the property
- Consider employing a professional to do a deep-clean of your home
- Ensure that you get rid of any bad odours which are lingering in the house
- Ensure any features that attracted you to the property are clearly visible
- Make sure that beds are made with fresh bed linen
- Consider lighting a fire or baking some bread to add a homely feel to your house
- Potential buyers will need to visualise themselves living in your home. It might be a good idea to remove any personal items such as ornaments and photographs
Home staging is a growing trend, and plenty of professionals now charge good money for restyling your home to make it more appealing. But it needn’t be a costly or time-consuming endeavour. Read our in-depth guide to home staging to find out more.
Consider a Property Survey
A property survey is typically something which a buyer would carry out on a property they are looking to buy. However, commissioning a survey as a seller on your own property can be beneficial if you suspect there is an underlying problem with the property.
Through conducting a survey, you can come to a deeper understanding of the problems inside the property and then choose how to proceed moving forward. The type of survey required will largely depend on the problem you want to address.
You may wish to arrange a survey if:
- There are signs of subsidence. Cracks in walls which are more than 3mm wide and larger at the top of the wall could be a sign of subsidence
- Damp can be seen or smelled. If there are significant damp issues in the property, it is worth considering hiring a damp proofing expert
- You suspect Japanese Knotweed exists on or near the property. In severe cases, this destructive plant can make a house mortgageable
- Dry rot exists within the property. A specialist can assess the scale of the problem
- Your property is a listed property, owing to the level of maintenance needed
- You have lived in the property for a long period of time. A property survey could uncover issues in and around the property which you were not aware of
If the survey uncovers problems, you have a few options:
- Take action to fix the issues
- Disclose the findings of the survey and lower the price of the property
- Negotiate on price with potential buyers to account for the cost of fixing the problem/s
Depending on the extent of the issues, you may wish to deal with the problem yourself for relatively minor issues, commission a supporting survey to look at the identified problems or get the issues investigated by an independent expert or specialist.
It is a good idea to discuss the problems with the property with your estate agent and other interested parties. If a potential buyer finds out about problems from you rather than through a surveyor’s report or their own discovery, they are more likely to trust you and stay interested.
Discuss a New marketing Plan with your Estate Agent
If your property has been on the market for some time and hasn’t received much interest or any offers, you ought to speak to your estate agent to try to determine what has gone wrong.
Sometimes it is a good idea to change up and improve the photos shown on online listings to present your property in a more attractive manner. You may even want to take the property off the market for a while if market conditions are poor.
Every house (and every buyer) is different. That’s why there’s more to marketing a home than simply listing it on some online portals and waiting for the offers to come flooding in.
While we have no desire to badmouth our industry, the fact remains that not all estate agents go to the same lengths to market your property. Some profit from demanding a fee whether or not your house sells, giving them little incentive to promote it effectively.
At Chancellors, we’d obviously love to be the first choice for selling your house. But we’re also adept at stepping in when another agent has failed.
To find out what we would do to sell your house, request your free market appraisal today.
Request New Photography
Ever heard the old culinary cliche “the first bite is with the eye”? It’s just as true in the world of property sales. If the imagery of your home doesn’t stand out on an online property portal or in your estate agent’s window, don’t expect to get many viewings.
Not sure if your existing property photos are up to scratch? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Were the images taken with a professional-quality camera? Smartphone cameras may be convenient, but they’re unlikely to show your house in the best light.
- Were the pictures staged beforehand? At the very least, your house needs to look clean and free of clutter.
- Do the images look natural? Some photographers use fisheye lenses to capture more detail, but they cause rooms to look distorted.
- Do they show off your property’s most attractive features? It should be obvious to buyers that you’ve got a beautiful garden, spacious kitchen or stylish new bathroom.
Because we understand the importance of great imagery, we now offer elevated photography as standard with our full-service sales package.
Reduce the Asking Price and Listen to Lower Offers
As a last resort, it may be time to consider lowering your asking price. While this is far from ideal, eventually you need to account for the opportunity cost of keeping your house on the market (particularly if you’ve already moved and are paying two lots of bills).
Of course, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. Slashing your asking price may even have the opposite effect – it could make you look desperate and lead buyers to question whether there’s something wrong with your home.
Likewise, you may still be in a position to get a slightly higher price from interested parties who’ve already made an offer. For tips on encouraging buyers to up their bid, read our guide: How to Negotiate a House Price When Selling.