How to sell your house, and how not to!

Are you trying to sell your house and not having any luck? It may be that the problem is right under your nose! Last week, my neighbour told me how she was struggling to sell her house. Given that it’s a fine, Victorian, 4-bedroom home set in a picturesque Cotswold village, I found this surprising.

She yelled over the wall;

It’s these buyers today, they’re too blooming demanding!

She invited me inside to tell me more. Over an industrial-strength coffee, she reeled off her complaints.

They want everything to be perfect, the slightest thing out of place and they turn up their noses. They waltz in, expecting Grand Designs!

She could be right, of course. Perhaps a TV diet of impossibly perfect homes is giving a false impression of what ‘real’ properties are like. But then I glanced around my neighbour’s house. Towers of dirty dishes filled the sink. Piles of ironing covered the floor. The whiff of cat food drifted in from the kitchen bin.

Maybe those picky buyers had a point, after all.

How not to sell your house – an idiot’s guide

So the experience at my neighbour’s house got me thinking. Of all the properties I’d viewed over many decades, what were the ways in which sellers had put me off? Perhaps it would make a useful guide to how not to sell your house.

So here’s my top three strange and downright stupid sellers:

1.Once, I viewed a house where the owner wouldn’t let me open the door to the kitchen. ‘You can’t go in there, that’s where the dogs are.’ At least I think that’s what he said. All I could hear were blood-curdling growls and claws scraping at the door, as if the hounds of hell were trying to escape. I didn’t argue with him. And I certainly didn’t buy his house.
Lesson: ship the pets out for the day, especially if they’re smelly or carnivorous.

2.Some years later, I viewed a flat in a smart tenement building. It was perfect apart from one thing… the truly enormous picture of the owners on their wedding day that dominated the living room. It must have been five feet by three, and seemed to shout out, ‘This is OUR house, and always will be!’ It was a warm, happy scene that left the buyer in me cold.
Lesson: don’t make your house TOO personal; the buyer needs to imagine it as their own.

3.More recently, my wife and I viewed a lovely Victorian house. Spacious, characterful and beautifully presented, it had everything going for it ‘ until the owner announced that he was taking the marble fire surrounds with him. Apparently, he had spent a lot of effort restoring and polishing them and he was damned if someone else was going to get the benefit! He may not have worn spectacles, but he was spectacularly short-sighted.
Lesson: don’t throw away a deal over something relatively minor – see the bigger picture!


So, if you’re a seller, feel free to learn from these terrible experiences. And if you’re a buyer looking for that perfect, pristine interior? Indulge yourself by viewing what is supposed to be the most beautiful house in the world.

Opinions are divided on this at Quick Move Now – what do you think to it?

This content was written by Quick Move Now
Published on 18th March 2014
Last updated on 19th April 2017


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