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.
How long should it take to sell?
Even with the smoothest of house sales, the average time to sell a property in the UK is 101 days – 362 days, depending on the specific location of the property.
Once you have received an offer for your property, you have to go through conveyancing. Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring a property from one owner to the other. It usually takes an additional 2-3 months. This means, in total, you’re looking at 161 days – 455 days, on average, to sell your house!
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. This stress may be increased if you are relying on the sale in order to buy another property, relocate, or pay 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.
There are lots of reasons why homeowners may struggle to sell within a reasonable timeframe.
Is your house priced correctly?
Is your house priced correctly? It is crucial to value your home correctly when putting it on the market. This is especially true if you are looking for a quick home sale.
Overvaluing your property can put buyers off and lead to your property becoming ‘stale’.
Consulting with an estate agent can help you determine market value. If you are looking for a fast house sale, you may wish to list at a figure slightly below this. If 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 help to give you an idea of the property’s realistic value.*
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 TLC it will be obvious to prospective buyers and likely put them off. If you want to sell your home, it’s important to get it ready first. Take the time to clean, de-clutter, and make improvements where needed. Pay close attention to areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
*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. It can be difficult to figure out what’s going to happen next.
Those who take time to analyse data on an annual basis will know that some seasonal trends that return year after year.
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 sell.
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. Over 90 per cent of property searches now beginning online, so it’s important to make your property stands out with a great online listing.
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 the 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 its full potential, and that with a bit of time and TLC, you can make the necessary changes.
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 with a few simple steps. Mow the lawn, rake up any leaves or debris, remove any weeds and keep rubbish and recycling bins hidden away. You may also wish to give the front door and frames 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 potential buyers. Prior to a viewing, you should get rid of all unnecessary clutter. Removing books, toys, ornaments and even unused cumbersome furniture to make each room look bigger.
Cleaning is also important when it comes to creating a good first impression. You want prospective buyers to enjoy spending time in your property, which will be much more likely if the house feels clean and tidy.
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 and deep cleaning carpets can make your home feel ‘move-in ready’.
While some buyers are looking for a project, many will be looking for a property where they don’t have to do any work. Making your property look ‘finished’ 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 imagine themselves living there. You should therefore try and make your home as neutral as possible. You may wish to apply neutral colours like Magnolia or White to the walls, remove some personal decor and even remove pets and pet beds from 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. However, you have a number of options:
Postpone the sale of your property
If you can’t sell your house and you have no deadline, you may wish to take your property off the market and wait until conditions improve. Avoid an oversupply of similar properties on the market by waiting and listing your home 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 is unlikely to be an option.
Rent it out
If you need to move quickly, you could keep your current property and rent it out. The income generated from tenants each month may 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. 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 should all be considered before moving ahead with this option.
If you are relocating for retirement or a new job, managing your property from afar can be particularly challenging.
Lower 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 receive as much profit as you would have liked, sometimes taking a loss or accepting a lower offer 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. A cash home buying company like Quick Move Now, for example, can provide a cash offer and a guaranteed quick house sale.
Refinance your home
If you are selling your home to pay off debt, you may be able to look at financing options that will enable you to remain in your home.
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.
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.