Can’t Sell My House
Help – I can’t sell my house!
If you find yourself saying “I can’t sell my house” – don’t panic there are things you can do.
Even with the smoothest of house sales, the average time to sell a property in the UK is 76 days – 295 days, depending on the specific location of the property.
Once you have received an offer, you then have to go through conveyancing, which is the legal process of transferring a property from one owner to the other, and this usually takes an additional 2-3 months. So, in total, you’re looking at 136 days – 385 days, on average, to sell your house from start to finish!
If the weeks come and go and you can’t sell your house, you may find yourself in a panic. There can be a number of reasons why your property won’t sell, and while you may be able to do something about some of the issues, others are out of your hands.
If you are struggling to sell your home fast, this can create a great deal of stress and uncertainty – especially if you are relying on the sale in order to take next steps, such as buying another property, relocating, or paying off debt.
Luckily, there are some ways you can increase the likelihood of a successful sale, and some alternatives you can consider if you need to sell your house in a hurry.
Why won’t my house sell?
There are lots of reasons that homeowners may struggle to sell within a reasonable timeframe – which leads to the commonly asked question, I can’t sell my house; why isn’t my house selling?
Is your house priced incorrectly?
Is your house priced incorrectly? It is crucial to value your home correctly when putting it on the market, especially if you are looking for a quick home sale. Overvaluing your property can put buyers off for two reasons.
Firstly, if the price is unrealistic and doesn’t represent the value of the home, buyers will look elsewhere.
Secondly, the longer your property stays on the market, the more wary prospective buyers will become, which can lead to them forgoing looking at your listing altogether, leaving you to question “why can’t I sell my house?”.
Consulting with an estate agent can help you determine a fair market value. If you are looking for a fast house sale, you may wish to list at a figure slightly below this to attract a buyer quicker. When you can’t sell your house at the price you’ve listed, you may have to consider dropping it to attract more buyers.
*Tip – Use resources like Rightmove, Zoopa, Prime Location and the Government’s Sold House Price Index to look at the listing and sale prices of local properties. This will give you an idea of the local market value, which can be of help when deciding how to price your own property.*
Property is not in saleable condition
Factors like your property’s structural integrity, cosmetic appearance, and cleanliness will determine whether it is in a saleable condition.
If your home is in need of some TLC, this will be immediately apparent to prospective buyers, and will most likely put them off. If you are preparing to sell your home, you must first prepare your home itself – that means taking the time to clean, de-clutter, and make improvements where needed; for example, pay close attention to areas like bathrooms and kitchens, where things like mould can develop.
*Tip – Try looking at online listings for other homes for sale in the area, or even attend open days or viewings. This can often give you some perspective and/or ideas about what can be done in your own home to improve the saleability.
The market is depressed
The property market in the UK is often painted as being volatile and unpredictable, bringing about difficulties in figuring out what’s going to happen next.
Those who take time to analyse data on an annual basis will know that there are trends that return year after year in the market, making it easier to read and predict.
Knowing about the peaks and troughs and when they typically rear their heads can be a useful tool. Armed with this information, you can tell whether it’s the right time to buy, sell or stay put until the market takes another shift in momentum, making sure you use your knowledge to your advantage.
If you are looking for tips on how to sell your house during a market slump, you may wish to speak with your estate agent for advice.
Marketing your property to show it at its best
When you can’t sell your house, revisiting how it is being marketed is a must. With over 90 per cent of property searches now beginning online, it’s more important than ever to make your property stand out with a great online listing.
Eye-catching photographs are a must, so it’s important to instruct a professional to take pictures of your home looking it’s best. Avoid the kind of bad estate agent photos that go viral! Many sites also enable you to include a video or 365-degree tour, which can help your listing stand out even more.
Beyond online, traditional marketing efforts like leafleting, newspaper ads and ‘For Sale’ boards can still have an impact.
How to get rid of a house that won’t sell
So, you’ve tried all your conventional options for home selling- what now? What else can you do to help your home sale? It could be that your home simply isn’t reaching it’s full potential, and that with a bit of time and TLC, you can completely transform your home.
Improving the kerb appeal of your property
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 exterior of the house objectively to see what your prospective buyers would see. When a potential buyer sees your home for the first time, they should be intrigued and have the desire to want to go 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 the front. You may also wish to give the front door and frames around a fresh lick of paint.
Clean and declutter your property before selling
It’s only natural that clutter will accumulate over the years, but this can be off-putting 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.
Adding value before you market your property
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, ensuring all fixtures and fittings are working and deep cleaning carpets can make your space seem brighter and cleaner.
While some buyers are looking for a project, many will be looking for a property where they don’t have to do anything before they move in. Making your property look appealing and in need of minimal work can boost its appeal to many more buyers.
Create a blank canvas for the next property owner
Ultimately, when buyers walk through your home, you want them to envision it as a place they could call home. You should therefore try and make your home as neutral as possible. 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.
I still can’t sell my house – what are my options?
If after carrying out the above you are still having no success in selling your home, you could be feeling defeated and down. However, when you can’t sell your house there are still some alternatives to consider:
Postpone the sale of your property
If you can’t sell your house and you’re have no tight deadlines to achieve, you may wish to take your property off the market and wait until conditions improve. If there is an oversupply of similar properties on the market, you could wait and list it at a later date when there is less competition.
If you have been trying to sell your house over the Christmas and New Year period with little success, you may wish to retry in Spring, when traditionally, the UK property market becomes more active.
Of course, this is assuming you are able to wait; if you are in a hurry and need a quick sale, postponing the sale may not be an option. In cases like these, you may wish to consider other options:
Rent it out
If you need to move quickly, you could keep your current property and use it as a rental. The income generated from tenants each month can cover your mortgage payments while you move into something new.
Of course, there are many things to consider if you are thinking of becoming a landlord, such as the legalities and responsibilities of being a landlord, the financial implications (including the recent loss of buy-to-let tax relief), and the demands that managing a rental will place on your time.
If you are relocating for retirement or a new job, managing your property from afar can be particularly difficult.
Lowering the asking price of the property
One of the easiest options for home selling on a short timescale is lowering the asking price. If you are prepared to take a below-market-value offer, you may entice a number of buyers who would have otherwise overlooked the property.
While you may not enjoy the profits you would have liked, sometimes taking a loss or accepting the bare minimum in exchange for a quick sale is a compromise worth making.
Look for buyers elsewhere
When you can’t sell your house by using traditional methods, you may wish to widen the net to find others who may be in a position to buy your property. For example, you may want to approach a cash home buying company like Quick Move Now, who can provide a cash offer and a guaranteed quick house sale.
Refinance your home
If your reasons for selling your home are to pay off debt, you may be able to look at financing options that will enable you to remain in your home, forgoing your needs to sell altogether.
For example, provided you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible to release equity from the home, or if you have a variable mortgage, you could speak to your lender to discuss lowering your interest rate.
There are a number of property listing sites in the UK such as Rightmove and Zoopla, along with online estate agent sites like Tepilo. If you are working with an estate agency, you should ensure that they will put your listing on their own specific website as well.
While the average time to sell in the UK is six weeks, a property that boasts a great location and offers good value could sell in as little as three weeks. If you are unsure about the specifics in your chosen neighborhood, speaking with an established estate agent will help you gauge whether the time your property is spending on the market is normal, or a cause for concern.
This will ultimately depend on your specific circumstances. If you are in a hurry to sell, you may start investigating reasons for the lack of interest in the property and alternatives to selling after a couple of weeks.
Keeping your home and using it as a rental is possible, but there is a lot to consider before doing so.<Think we should create a blog on, “Things to think about before renting your home”, in which we can go into detail about things like legalities, costs, property management, how to sell at a later date if you have tenants in, etc. What do we think?>
Buyers stuck in a property chain can often face the dilemma of wanting to act quickly on another property, but aren’t able to do so without funds from a property currently on the market. You can consider letting out your property, or seeking out a cash buyer who may be able to take the property off your hands quickly. Of course, cash buyers will often buy below market value, so you should consider this loss when weighing up what you’ll need towards the purchase of your next home.
It may be that you are in a hurry to sell your property, and leaving your listing for later just isn’t a possibility. In these cases, you may wish to consult with cash buyers or investors who are on the lookout for a great deal, and who are often in a position to close a transaction quickly.