Why can’t I sell my house?
Trying to sell a house can be a frustrating process. If your house has been on the market for a little while, you may be starting to wonder what you’re doing wrong.
The truth is, there may be several reasons why you’re struggling to find a buyer for your property. This guide will look at some common issues and help you think about your next steps.
Is my house overpriced?
The truth is that any property should be sellable, as long as it is priced correctly.
You might see other properties in your area being put on the market with a high asking price, but a property is only really worth what someone is actually willing to pay for it, so recent sold prices are more informative than asking prices. If your property is priced correctly, you should be getting a good number of viewings and significant interest.
The easiest way to get an accurate marketing figure for your property is to ask three local estate agents to value it. If you ask them for a figure based on wanting to secure a buyer in the first 4 weeks, you should be given a realistic figure. Some estate agents will suggest putting the property on the market at a higher than realistic figure in order to ‘test the market’. However, there is a risk to this strategy. If your property is initially over-priced, you will inevitably need to lower the price at a later date to get sufficient interest and attract offers. Properties that sit on the market for longer than average (because they are initially overpriced) quickly become stagnant and are perceived more negatively by would-be buyers, which could lead to you struggling to sell.
Choosing the right estate agent
Choosing and instructing the right estate agent will make or break your property sale. It’s important to do thorough research before you instruct an agent, and not automatically pick the agent that gives the highest valuation. Look for an agent who has significant experience in selling similar properties in your area; someone who will understand your potential buyers and what they’re looking for. Consider how many properties they sell each month, how quickly they sell properties and how the price they achieve for the property compares to the asking price.
Who is going to buy my house?
It’s important that your property appeals to its target audience. If you’re selling a large family home, you’ll want to highlight features that appeal to families and offer information about good schools nearby. If you’re selling a smaller property that is likely to appeal to a young professional, you might want to highlight different local amenities and emphasise low-maintenance aspects of your property.
Being aware of your target market is half the battle. A good estate agent will prove invaluable when it comes to understanding your potential buyers and helping you to present your property accordingly.
Listening to feedback
Your estate agent should collect in-depth information about potential buyers before any viewings, and gather thorough feedback once the viewing has taken place. If your property has been viewed a number of times without securing a buyer, feedback will help to direct your next steps.
If there’s an issue that more than one potential buyer has highlighted, it is something that is likely to need addressing in order to secure a buyer. Alternatively, you will need to adjust your price to reflect the feedback.
Do you need to make improvements?
Improve kerb appeal
First impressions count, especially when it comes to sizing up your property. When you can’t sell your house, you should take a look at the front of the house objectively to see what your prospective buyers will see. When they see your home for the first time, they should be intrigued and want to come inside. You can increase the kerb appeal of your exterior by conducting some basic landscaping – mow the lawn, rake up any leaves or debris, deadhead flowers, weed the garden and paving stones, plant new bulbs, prune trees and bushes, and remove any rubbish or recycling bins from out the front. You may also wish to give the front door and frames around front-facing windows a fresh lick of paint as well.
Clean and declutter
It’s only natural that clutter will accumulate over the years, but this can be offputting to those looking around your home during a viewing. Prior to a viewing, you should get rid of all unnecessary clutter like books, toys, games and even unused cumbersome furniture to make each room look bigger. Cleaning the property from top to bottom can get rid of unsightly stains and unpleasant smells, and can create a great first impression as buyers walk through.
Many people will look at remodelling or renovating a home before putting it on the market, but the truth is there are little things you can do that make a substantial difference without having to go all out. For example, applying fresh paint, replacing broken tiles, putting down new flooring, removing grout, ensuring all fixtures and fittings are working (and ideally matching), deep cleaning carpets, utilising smart storage solutions and more can make your space seem brighter and cleaner. While some buyers are looking for a project, many will be looking for a turnkey, move-in ready property.
Create a blank canvas
Ultimately, when buyers walk through your home, you want them to see it as a place they could call home. You should, therefore, try to make your home as neutral as possible, removing your personal touches to create a space that looks like it could be a show home. For example, you may wish to apply neutral colours like Magnolia or White to the walls, remove photos or personal decor, and even make sure pets and pet beds are out of the house during viewings.
Is it time to consider other ways to sell your house?
If you’re still struggling to sell, or are running out of time to find a buyer, it might be worth considering other ways to sell your house. Part exchange schemes, professional home buying companies and property auctions are all considered quicker alternatives to selling on the open market.
Property part exchange is a service offered on some new build houses that allows you to effectively ‘trade-in’ your current home for a new build property. It can make the process of buying a property quicker and easier, but is only available on selected plots. There are usually strict guidelines about your new home having to be worth considerably more than the property you are selling too.
Professional home buying company
A genuine professional home buyer will have the ability to purchase your property in a very short period of time and will be able to offer a guaranteed sale – something that simply isn’t possible on the open market.
Any genuine professional home buying company will pay less than market value, so it won’t be the right option for every homeowner, but if you’re looking for speed and certainty, it’s worth considering.
Selling at auction
Selling at auction can be a great choice if the property you’re selling is particularly unusual or would be considered unmortgageable. Although the service will not be as quick as selling via a professional home buying company or part exchanging your property, it does have a definitive deadline. All sales must be completed within 28 days of the auction taking place. It is worth remembering that around 28 percent of properties that go to auction fail to sell, so you may still need to consider different options at a later date.
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