12 mins read
Perhaps the most nerve-racking part of a home sale is when your property advert first goes up online, and you’re waiting to arrange your first viewings. It’s normal to feel worried if no one calls within the first few hours, or to be unsure how many people will want to look round.
A lot depends upon the type of property you’re selling, where it’s located, and the skill of your estate agent, so there’s no hard and fast rule about how many days it will take to get your first viewings. But, there are some general patterns that you can use as a reassuring guide.
Below we take a look at what you should expect in the first few days that your house goes on the market, and what to do if things don’t go as planned. We’ll also share some handy, free, tools that’ll help you keep track of how your sale is going.
How soon should I expect viewings on my house?
As a general rule, you should be getting viewings on your home within the first few days.
And, within the first couple of weeks, you should expect to get a flurry of interested buyers coming through your doors. This first period, when your property is fresh on online property portals, is the most important time in your sale. Organising lots of viewings will be a priority for your estate agent.
If you haven’t had any viewings within two weeks of your property going on the market, you probably need to change something. At this point, it’s vital that you talk to your estate agent about what they need to do to re-evaluate their sales strategy.
Why am I not getting any viewings on my house?
The most common reason why home sellers aren’t getting any viewings is that their property is not priced correctly.
The best guide for the amount you should ask for, is the local market. What price are other properties nearby currently advertising at? How much did those that have recently sold actually sell for? If your asking price is much higher than other similar houses in your area you need to lower it. Your house isn’t going to look like good value for money if it’s more expensive than the other properties on the market. Buyers will be more interested in those properties that appear to offer a better deal.
Price can also affect the number of people seeing your property advert online. Zoopla, Rightmove, and OntheMarket all offer the option to filter an online property search by price. If you set a price that’s too high for your target market, you won’t even show up on their radar, because they will have filtered you out of their online search.
However, listing your property at the wrong price isn’t the only reason why you might not be getting viewings. Make sure to look into the following causes, before you make any drastic changes to your asking price.
Your online property listing
Most potential buyers start their property search online, so your online advert will be their first impression of your home. And, you’ll be competing for attention against the thousands of other properties advertised on Zoopla, Rightmove, OnTheMarket, and other online portals. Your advert has to be perfect.
Given the highly visual nature of the internet, property listings with good photographs and detailed floor plans are more likely to get noticed. Make sure your photos are professionally taken, and your home is thoroughly cleaned and decluttered before they are taken. It also helps if your advert contains all the right keywords and jargon that home buyers look for. If you don’t feel like your advert is up to scratch, you can ask your estate agent to redo it.
Extras like virtual tours, or featured adverts, can also be useful if you’re really struggling to get viewings.
Your estate agent
All the ‘behind-the-scenes’ things that estate agents do make a huge difference when it comes to getting viewings - particularly if you’re a first time seller. Estate agents should be busy doing mail outs, networking with potential buyers, arranging viewings or open houses, and ensuring every potential marketing avenue has been thoroughly exploited.
But, how can you make sure your estate agent is working hard enough on your sale?
Firstly (if you haven’t already) pick an estate agent with a strong track record in your local area. If your agent has sold lots of similar properties in your area, and has statistics to prove how long it usually takes them to sell a property, you can be reassured that they have the experience to get you the best results.
The way your fee is paid will also make a difference. Estate agents are more incentivised to prioritise a property sale if they earn a commission based fee on it, because they won’t get paid until you sell. This means they’ll be keen to do everything they can to get you viewings and be in touch with the best buyers.
If you can, avoid agents that ask for one off, upfront payments. They are likely to be much slower and less motivated in advertising your property. The focus of their work will always be on attracting more sellers, rather than finding buyers, because this is where they make their money.
If you don’t know much about your estate agent’s track record, you can check it out for free here. This tool lets you see: how many properties like yours an estate agent has sold recently, how many weeks they usually take to sell a house, and the percentage of the original asking price they tend to achieve. You’ll also be able to see if your agent is one of the top performing agents in your area. Try it now.
The local market
Inevitably some areas of the UK are more desirable than others. Houses located near to good schools, or in a prime commuter location will attract many more viewings than those in quieter villages.
The best way to overcome this is to ensure that your estate agent is completely up to date with all the local amenities around your property. A potential buyer will be more interested in a viewing if they know the details of the local bus service, the nearest local school, or how long it’ll take to commute to a nearby city.
The condition of your property
The condition of your property may not be the be-all-and-end-all for the right buyer. But if your house needs work - particularly structurally - it’s likely some buyers will be put off coming for a viewing.
If you think this is the reason you’re not getting many people coming for a viewing, you have a few options.
Firstly, you could reduce the asking price. This isn’t always ideal, but will make your property more appealing to those buyers who were unsure about whether they could afford renovations. It’ll also make your house attractive to property investors, who are more likely to buy in cash.
If you’d rather not reduce the asking price, another option is to undertake the necessary work yourself. Of course, this will require some upfront expenditure. But, once the renovations are done, you’re likely to attract more buyers to visit your home (and hopefully one or two offers too).
Finally, you could sell to a ‘cash buying’ company. This type of buyer purchases properties with the aim of doing them up and reselling them. They don’t need a mortgage to complete the purchase, so they are usually able to buy very quickly, (they may not even have to come for a viewing.) But, because they buy quickly and in cash, they are likely to pay below asking price - usually around 75-80% of your home’s value. If you’re having trouble attracting buyers, and need to sell quickly they could be a viable option.
For more information on cash buying companies, and how to make sure they’re not a scam, check out our guide.
Why are people viewing my house and not making an offer?
An opposite, and equally distressing situation is when your property has had many viewings, but no one seems to want to move forward. You might even start to think your estate agents are just hiring professional viewers to make it look like they’re doing something (though this is incredibly unlikely!).
If you’re having many viewings, there’s clearly not an issue with your online property advert, or your estate agent’s skill in getting people interested in your home. Instead, there must be something about your house that suggests to potential buyers that it’s not worth the price you’re asking for.
As a general rule, if you’ve had more than ten viewings with no results, it’s time to assess what needs changing.
Your first step is to ask your estate agent for thorough feedback after every viewing. Tell them that you want to know everything (the good, the bad, and the ugly) that the buyers said, and what put them off from viewing again or putting in an offer.
Once you have a sense of what’s putting buyers off. Take action to resolve the issues as soon as you can.
In many cases, the issue is likely to fall into one of the following categories:
Structural issues like subsidence, or problems with your roof, can make it incredibly difficult for a potential buyer to get a mortgage. If you choose not to address these issues before you put your home on the market, you effectively limit the pool of eligible buyers to those with enough savings to buy your house outright.
If your issues aren’t as dramatic as subsidence, for example: there are cracks in some of the walls, or faulty window or door fittings you might still have trouble getting an offer. The prospect of construction can be off putting to potential buyers, because of the cost, and the hassle. This extra time and cost burden the buyer perceives when they find out that construction is necessary, can make your house look less attractive compared to other properties on the market.
You have two options for resolution. Either lower your asking price, or fix the problems yourself before you put your house on the market.
Like with structural issues, many people overestimate how much rectifying cosmetic issues (like peeling paint, or worn floorboards) will cost. This is especially the case if there are a lot of other similar properties on the market. If you’ve got a lot of competition, small aesthetic issues can be blown out of proportion in people’s initial view of your property.
The easiest way to ensure you’re not missing out on offers because of small DIY jobs, is to get them all done before you have any more viewings. Ask your estate agent, or an objective friend, to be brutally honest about what could be updated or fixed, and get to work.
The location of a house is vital for many people. The time it takes to get to their work, local school, supermarket, or places of worship, can all be key considerations when buyers pick their new home.
Unfortunately, you can’t change how convenient your home is location-wise. But, you can make sure your estate agent is thoroughly prepped and up-to-date with all the amenities and transport routes in the area. These small details can be hugely reassuring to buyers, and can be the difference that gets you an offer.
If your property is in a slightly out-of-the-way location, it’s particularly important that you work with an experienced and local estate agent. The information they have about your neighbourhood will give your home sale the all important edge in a tricky market.
If you’re unhappy with the service provided by your estate agent, it might be time to consider changing who you work with. Read more about how to go about switching agents here, or use this nifty comparison tool to check out - with no-obligation - which estate agents are the top performers in your local area.
How long should it take before I receive an offer?
The amount of time it takes from putting a property on the market, to receiving your first offer, varies massively depending on where in the UK your house is, the type of property, and it’s price.
Some homes will always be in demand, and will likely sell very quickly. These houses are generally: affordable, close to good schools, have room for a growing family, or are close to popular commuting routes. If your house fulfils these criteria, it’s likely a buyer will put in an offer very quickly.
However, do not despair if you’ve not received an offer in the first couple of weeks of your sale. Research by the Advisory suggests that it can take between 5 and 14 weeks for home sellers to receive an acceptable offer.
Part of this is logistical. Many potential buyers will want to look at a property more than once before they put an offer in. And, this can mean it takes a little while before the first offer comes in.
If you want an estimate for your ‘move date’ informed by data from the Land Registry, major online property portals, and our own extensive property databases, check this out. This free tool helps you keep track of your home sale progress, and lets you know how you’re doing compared to other properties on sale in your area.
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