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Why Isn’t My House Selling?

Why is my house not selling? 9 common problems and solutions
 
If your property has been on the market for a while, you might be thinking ‘why isn’t my house selling?’ There could be any number of reasons, so let’s dig deeper and look at the possible causes.

PROBLEM 1: Expectations

The term used at the start of this article – ‘a while’ – is very subjective. What is ‘a while’ to you? Two weeks? Two months? Six months?

Online reports vary on how long it can take to sell a house in the UK with an estate agent, ranging from about 18 weeks up to six months or more. However, this is taking into account the whole process; including handing over the keys. In reality, the average time it takes to find a buyer is usually quoted as being between five and 14 weeks.

It’s therefore important to set your expectations and be realistic about what is ‘a while’.

SOLUTION: Secure a quick sale

If you do need a quick sale (and don’t have the five to 14 weeks to find a buyer), a fast sale company such as Springbok Properties can be your saviour by making you a cash offer and guaranteeing you a quick sale.

PROBLEM 2: High asking price

Is it possible that the asking price is too high? A high asking price is a very common reason for homeowners to have trouble selling their property. Having a price that’s higher than the perceived value of your home will deter people from booking a viewing, so getting an offer will be very difficult. A property that is priced above its upper limit, and then reduced in price, will take longer to sell than one that’s accurately priced from the start. The reason for this is that when the asking price of a property is reduced, potential buyers wonder why the price has been dropped and expect there’s something wrong with it that has prevented someone else from buying.

SOLUTION: Think about your asking price

Some estate agents will set a high valuation in order to get your business. It may be pleasing to hear them suggest a figure higher than you were expecting, but it doesn’t mean this is the amount you’ll get. Have a look online at similar local properties that have recently sold, as well as those that are still on the market. It should give you an insight to what the right price would be for your home. If you think the higher-than-average price for your place is justified, make sure potential viewers know what makes your property stand out. For example, do you have a garage, but your neighbours don’t? Is your garden larger than others?

PROBLEM 3: Your estate agent

When you put your home on the market, the choice of estate agents available to you can be overwhelming. As well as online agents, there are traditional high street agents; then there are local ones and national ones, too. Thing is, all agents are different and each one will have their own pros and cons. If your agent isn’t securing suitable viewings, provides poor customer service, or doesn’t have enough staff to handle enquiries, your property is going to take a long time to sell.

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SOLUTION: Change your estate agent

It’s likely that you’ll be in a contract so you’ll need to read the small print to find out if you can immediately terminate your ties with your current agent, or if you’ll need to wait. As for finding a new agent, you could ask friends and family for their recommendations, but a great resource is website allAgents.co.uk. This is a comparison website that enables you to see reviews from real clients and see how agents have been rated so that you can make an informed decision.

PROBLEM 4: Ineffective marketing

Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. They have access to literally hundreds of property ads online. If yours doesn’t catch their eye by being marketed well, they’ll move on and look at another property. An advert needs lots of high-quality images (showing the things buyers want to see), detailed information and floor plans. If you don’t have these, what could make a potential buyer want to request a viewing? Having great photos, a highly descriptive paragraph and the essential floor plans is one thing, but you’ll also need to have your home listed on major property portals, such as Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as your estate agent’s website. Not doing this is going to mean your house is on the market for a long time because it simply won’t be found by potential buyers.

SOLUTION: Improve your property’s advert

Only a professional photographer should take photos of your home. No matter how good a mobile phone’s camera might be, it’ll never compare to a camera used by a photographer. And if you don’t think that the write-up about your house is helping to get it sold, you can suggest to your agent that it’s updated to include details that are relevant to your target market. For example, if you’re selling a large family home, emphasise the size of the garden (for children to play), the proximity of schools and their Ofsted rating, or the storage space available. If you don’t have floorplans in your current marketing, add them so that potential buyers can get a feel for how the layout could fit their life. Video tours have become extremely popular so creating one will enable period details to be highlighted that may be overlooked in a written advert. Get this right and you’ll get viewings and offers.

PROBLEM 5: Your home is poorly presented

A property that appears to be messy and filled with clutter sends out all the wrong signals to potential buyers. As well as hinting that storage space is limited (or you’re an unorganised and untidy individual), it makes it difficult for potential buyers to conduct a full viewing because they won’t be able to see beyond your possessions and appreciate what your home could offer to them.

SOLUTION: Take time to prepare your home for viewings

Whether you’re hosting in-person or remote viewings, it’s imperative that the property is de-cluttered and clean. Even if you have to rent storage space for a period, move out of the house the things that you don’t need so that you can show off the space you’ve got. Other things you can do include opening curtains to show your home is bright and inviting. A bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen sets the right impression, and beds must be made!

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If small repairs need to be undertaken, it’s well worth spending a little to make sure it’s one less thing on your buyer’s ‘to-do’ list. Also, removing décor that’s personal to you (such as patterned wallpaper and brightly coloured paint), will help to make the home more neutral and enable potential buyers to imagine themselves living there.

PROBLEM 6: Potential buyers aren’t given important information

This links to problem 4, ‘ineffective marketing’. Put simply, buyers don’t know what they don’t know. Have you had planning permission approved for an extension or a loft conversion? Is the local bus service reliable? Does the neighbour let you use their driveway because they don’t have a car?

SOLUTION: Make notes

Take time to walk around the outside of your house, then enter each room and make notes as you go about things a potential buyer should know but could have been overlooked. These are the bonus features that could make all the difference and get you a sale.

PROBLEM 7: Your property lacks ‘curb appeal’

An uncared-for home is going to be harder to sell than one that is clean, tidy and well-maintained. Potential buyers will be put off by the unloved appearance and it leads to thoughts about maintenance that has been overlooked or jobs that have been ignored and can’t be seen. Ultimately, if your property is not well presented, potential buyers could find it hard to picture themselves there and making it their home, which means you’re unlikely to receive an offer.

SOLUTION: Ask for feedback

Asking potential buyers for their feedback after a viewing can give you an insight into why your property isn’t getting any offers. If people are deterred by a messy garden or an unpainted exterior, spend a little time and money on getting it looking presentable.

PROBLEM 8: You’re accepting the wrong offers

If you’ve previously accepted offers on your home but the sales have fallen through, you could be focusing on the wrong buyers. That can happen if your estate agent allows people to make an offer without first ‘qualifying’ them; that is checking they have a mortgage in principle in place. Equally, it could be that you’ve accepted an offer from a buyer who is in a long property chain and that’s why your sale has fallen through.

SOLUTION: Vet, or get a guaranteed offer

There are actually two solutions for this problem. The first is to vet all offers before you accept. Take into account the bidders’ circumstances if you have multiple offers for your property. For example, do they have an agreement in principle from a reputable mortgage company? Are they in a property chain? Are they a first-time buyer? Even if they’re not offering you the most money, choosing a buyer who is most likely to see the deal through to completion will save you a lot of time and aggravation compared to a buyer that makes the highest offer but is part of a lengthy chain or hasn’t yet got their finances in place.

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The second solution is to sell to a house buying service. This will be the fastest way for you to get a guaranteed sale. Pick carefully because there are lots of companies all claiming different things, so check that they are members of the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) and The Property Ombudsman. This will give you independent help if there’s a dispute and it also means that they have to abide by a code of conduct. It is possible to sell a property in just 30 days if you use a cash buyer, and because they’ll often be using their own money, no time is wasted sorting out mortgages. What’s more, they won’t be in a chain so the sale should be straightforward. Another benefit for you of using a cash buying company is that you won’t need to carry out any repair jobs or redecoration because they will buy your home in ‘as is’ condition.

PROBLEM 9: The property market is ‘cold’ or it’s the wrong time to sell

Whether or not there’s a right and a wrong time to sell is open to debate but there is a school of thought to suggest that buyers are looking for a new home in Spring but aren’t so eager to view in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

SOLUTION: Take the property off the market, or use a cash buyer

If you’re with an estate agent and have the luxury of time, you might choose to take your property off the market until things improve. By doing this, your home won’t have been seen as being on sale for months as this makes potential buyers cautious and more likely to submit a low offer.

However, it’s not always possible to take your home off the market and wait; especially if you’re facing repossession or going through a separation. In these situations, you’ll want to consider using a cash buyer to purchase your property. Whatever the time of year and however bad the market may be, they’ll provide you with a cash offer so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life. As previously mentioned, it pays to do some research before you choose a buyer to make sure you do get that guaranteed sale. For more information, take a look at Who should I sell my house with? (https://springbokproperties.co.uk/blog/who-should-i-sell-my-house-with)

Any questions?

We hope this article has helped you to understand the possible reasons for why a house doesn’t sell, as well as see the solutions that are available. If you have any questions about selling your property to a fast sale specialist and cash buyer, we’ll be happy to have a chat with you.