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HouseWorth
© GetAgent Limited 2024
  1. Blog
  2. When to worry about your house not selling
House selling tips
20 October 2023

When to worry about your house not selling

Kimberley Taylor
Writer & Researcher

Table of contents

  1. 1. When to worry about house not selling
  2. 2. Top reasons why your house isn't selling
  3. 3. Summary: Make your property shine!

Most people want their property to sell quickly. Delays can cause real issues for your future plans, not to mention the stress and wasted money involved. But most sellers can't expect to sell straight away, and it's important to set realistic expectations.

After all, there's a lot to get done with a property sale: preparing your house for market, finding the right estate agent, listing the property, house viewings, offers, negotiations...it's a very long list, and can sometimes be a very long process.

But when does a long house sale become too long? What's stopping your property from being sold? And what can you do to make your house sale move more quickly?

When to worry about house not selling

Here are some key things to watch out for if your house isn't selling:

How long is too long?

The average time it takes to sell your house in the UK is about two months. It's important to take different factors into account such as market conditions, supply and demand, as well as any outstanding issues with your property that may delay a sale.

Check out our blog on how soon you can sell a house here.

You're getting viewings but no offers

If you're getting viewings, it's clear your marketing is doing its job. Whether it's listed on online portals or in your local estate agents, if you're getting potential buyers through the door to view your property, it's obviously being marketed well.

But if you're getting viewings but no offers, something has gone wrong along the way. Maybe your house doesn't meet expectations. How different are the photos from the property in real life? Are you presenting your property well? Is it clean? Tidy? Make sure buyers aren't facing disappointment when they walk through the door.

Your asking price is much higher than similar properties in your area

Even if you think your house is worth more than everyone else's, a buyer might not agree (after all, you're probably a little biased!). It's always worth exploring other listings in the area and how they compare to your property. If your home is priced a lot higher than the others, it might be worth reconsidering the listing price to avoid putting buyers off.

Other homes are selling quickly, but yours is stuck on the market

If properties similar to yours are selling while yours is stuck on the market, there might be something wrong. It's clearly not the demand for that type of property, but perhaps there's something your property is missing. It's always worth talking to your estate agent about what can make your property stand out against the competition.

For our top tips on how to sell a house, check out one of our previous blogs here.

Top reasons why your house isn't selling

  1. Your home looks and feels cluttered.
  2. Your home lacks kerb appeal.
  3. The photos aren't doing your home justice.
  4. Your home looks tired/needs staging.
  5. Your asking price is too high.
  6. Your estate agent isn't pulling their weight.
  7. Your home isn't in a great location.
  8. You're selling at the wrong time.
  9. Poor local market conditions.
  10. You're in a long property chain.
  11. Your property isn't suitable to mortgage.

Click here to read more about common house selling mistakes.

Your home looks and feels cluttered

One of the most common reasons your house isn't selling is because it looks too cluttered. A cluttered home can seriously put a potential buyer off. It's really difficult for someone to see themselves living in the space if your stuff is lying around everywhere.

Decluttering is one of the most simple yet effective ways of making your home more attractive to buyers and can make all the difference when you want to sell quickly.

And we're not just talking about clearing the surfaces. We mean decluttering everything: the garden, the spare room, the old washing machine filled with bits and bobs you'll 'get round to later'. Help your potential buyers to envision themselves in the space. It can make all the difference.

Your home lacks kerb appeal

First impressions count. Potential buyers can make up their mind within seconds. If the outside of your home isn't looking spick and span, you could be losing a buyer before they even step through the front door.

Make sure the garden is tidy, the bins are empty and tucked away, the roof is maintained, and the doors and windows are cleaned. You're showing off your house, so you need to make sure it's properly presented.

Check out our comprehensive guide on preparing to sell your home here.

The photos aren't doing your home justice

Nowadays, many buyers will start their property search using online property portals. While online marketing has done wonders for the property market, it also means there's a whole lot more competition if you want to sell your house fast. If your marketing photos don't stand out and generate interest, chances are buyers are going to keep scrolling.

Some estate agents will use professional photographers for their marketing, while others have enough experience to stage a great photography session themselves. Either way, it's always better to look at the pictures before they're posted online.

Are they good quality? Are they a realistic representation of the home? Does it show off all the key features of the home? Are there enough? Your photos are a buyer's first look into their potential new home; it's important that they capture the property perfectly.

If you're not happy with the images your estate agent is using, you have the right to request for a new set. It's helpful to give them references so they have an idea of what you're looking for. You want your home to be presented in the best light, and good marketing photos are the best way to do that.

Your home looks tired or needs staging

If your property isn't in great condition, this could seriously stop prospective buyers from falling in love with your home. A tired-looking property can be really difficult to envision as one's dream home if they can't look past the wear and tear.

An empty property might also be difficult to sell. It can be hard trying to imagine yourself living in a cold empty space. Or maybe the photographs were staged for the property portals, but real life shows a different picture, and the viewers are disappointed by their expectation versus the reality.

If your house isn't selling, consider sprucing it up a bit to make it more attractive during viewings. It's a wonder what some fresh flowers or a fresh coat of paint will do for your home!

Check out our guide on how to deep clean your home before you sell.

Your asking price is too high

When you're selling a house, you naturally want a good price for your property. But one of the most common mistakes homeowners can make is setting your asking price too high. It's really important to do your research before settling on a listing price.

Get advice from a number of different estate agents, check the value of other similar properties in the local area, and do some online research on general property market conditions to find the right price.

For an instant valuation of your property, as well as other properties in your area, check out our Online Valuation Tool here.

When asking an estate agent about asking price, remember to be vigilant. Unfortunately, some estate agents will overestimate the initial value of a property to try and entice you to list with them. Others may price your property too low so they can get it sold quickly and make a fast commission.

Most estate agents will value properties slightly higher than they're worth to give a starting point for negotiations when potential buyers put in a lower offer. However, there's definitely a balance to be had with this tactic: sometimes, if the property has been listed at an unrealistic price, it won't book any viewings. In other cases, some sellers won't want to budge at all on the initial asking price, which can also stop the property from selling quickly.

Prospective buyers will often check on property portals and listing websites on a daily basis, and will use their upper limit price filter to define their search. Sometimes, a couple of thousand pounds can make a big difference with this kind of thinking.

For example, if someone sets their budget to £300,000 and you're listed for £305,000, you could be losing out on a wealth of prospective buyers for the sake of (in proportion) not that much added value. Of course, you often want to add that bit extra as a buffer for the negotiation stage, but it's no good having that buffer if it's stopping you from finding the right buyer in the first place.

Your estate agent isn't pulling their weight

Many homeowners will head to their local high street and choose an estate agent based on their initial customer service. And a lot of the time, going down the traditional estate agent route isn't a bad thing. But it's also important to remember that nowadays, you have options. Which means you have plenty of opportunities to sell faster.

You should always be in regular contact with your estate agent during your home sale so you're kept up to date on the progress. It's also a good way to get feedback from viewings to see if there's anything else you can be doing to get the quick sale you want. If your agent isn't keeping in touch with you, they're not doing their job properly.

Your estate agent might not be pulling their weight during viewings either. It's important they're doing all they can to ensure your property is marketed correctly, both online and in person during viewings. If you have concerns, you could even play Sherlock and get a family member or friend to pose as a prospective buyer to judge how your agent is doing during the viewing process!

Do they know the local area? Are they answering questions helpfully and thoroughly? Are they showing off the best features of the home? If you're not satisfied with your performance, it's probably worth considering switching agents.

Find the right estate agent

To find the best estate agent to meet your needs, use our Estate Agent Comparison Tool, where you can explore agents based on performance across different areas.

Your home isn't in a great location

You might be in love with your area, but that doesn't mean everyone else in the country will be too. In fact, location is one of the most common reasons why your house isn't selling. Different buyers will have different criteria when they're looking for a home, and not every location will meet their needs. Your property might be in a location that's great for walking, but if a buyer is looking at properties in a catchment area for good schools, it might not be a perfect match.

Having the right estate agent is also really important when it comes to location. Different agents will have expertise selling properties in different areas. They'll have local knowledge, and know the target market for that particular location.

You're selling at the wrong time

When it comes to selling a house, bad timing can be a huge factor. In fact, it's been long known that some seasons boast better house sales than others.

Spring is known to be popular for house sales. Buyers are through the dark cold drizzle of the winter months, the summer holidays are still a distance away, and prospective buyers are looking for some fresh change in their life.

If you're selling a house in summer and winter, chances are it's not going to sell fast. Families are off on school holidays, and of course, not many people can contend with Christmas. Most buyers will put off their property search until the new year.

If you're trying (and failing) to sell your property during the summer and winter months, you can always consider removing it and then re-listing in the spring or autumn. Between February and June is known to be a prime time for selling a house, as well as mid-September to October. Not only are they better times to sell your house, you'll also generate interest for a whole load of new buyers.

Poor local market conditions

Sometimes it's bad timing; other times it's poor market conditions. If the market isn't doing very well, selling your house fast can be a near impossible feat. There may be an abundance of supply with very few buyers, and with low demand often comes lower offers and more compromise.

Your estate agent should know how the local market is performing and give you an idea of the market absorption rate (this estimates the number of months it would take to sell all the listed properties in your area if no other properties were on the market).

If you're selling, you want a lower absorption rate. And if you want to sell your house quickly, you want the lowest absorption rate possible. Sometimes the market won't align with your needs. So if you'd rather wait for better conditions, it's recommended to list in a seller's market rather than a buyer's one.

You're in a long property chain

No one wants to be a part of a long property chain because it can cause serious delays if buyers or sellers further down the chain are having issues. Most of the time, people want to move into their new house quickly and get started with their new life.

But long property chains can cause serious delays, which puts buyers off pretty quickly. A buyer who might be ready to purchase your home could be tempted elsewhere if the house sale is taking too long.

One of the best ways to avoid this is to be willing to sell your house even if you don't have a new one to move into. You could rent while you're looking for a new home and get out of the chain. This also makes you an attractive buyer when you're ready to move into a new home because you're ready to move in straight away.

Your property isn't suitable to mortgage

Some properties aren't very easy to mortgage, which can make them much more difficult to sell. These include ex-public houses, homes with short leases, houses made from unusual materials, or flats above shops They all require specialist mortgages which may not be as appealing to a potential buyer.

Property buying companies

If you don't want to wait, one popular option is selling through a property buying company. They act as a cash buyer who can purchase your property quickly, though you may have to sell for lower if you go down this route.

Summary: Make your property shine!

While everyone wishes for quick, successful sale, this isn't always possible. A quick sell depends on a number of factors, from the condition of the property market to the condition of your home. Unfortunately, you can't always control the conditions under which your property will sell, and though you can get a cash buyer through a property buying company, you'll often have to sacrifice value for speed of sale.

However, there are some things you can control if you want to sell your house quickly. And one of the biggest factors is showcasing your home in the best possible light. Declutter, freshen up, market to a T, do everything you can to make sure your home looks fantastic for a potential buyer.

And above all, make sure you have the right estate agent to sell your home. Our Estate Agent Comparison Tool lets you explore agents based on a number of different factors, from number of listings, to how long it takes to sell their listed properties. If you're ready to sell your home, check out our tool today.

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selling your home?

Picking the right estate agent is vital for a successful sale. GetAgent makes choosing simple. Discover the best performing agents in your area.

  • Free
  • Data-driven
  • No obligation

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