The property market can be a tricky thing. The national headlines are full of stories of rising house prices and buyers fighting over properties, so if you are looking to sell your house fast, why isn’t your property selling? If you’re struggling to find a buyer for your property, we’ll look at why your property hasn’t sold and help you make the changes needed to bag a buyer.
1. Your property is overpriced
This is often a difficult one for homeowners to accept - especially when the media bombards us with news of rising house prices - but the fact remains, if your property is priced correctly, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a buyer. Just because the Jones family down the road have put their house on the market for £300,000 does not mean that’s how much their property is actually worth, and it certainly doesn’t mean that’s how much your property is worth! Estate agents are notoriously bad at suggesting an overinflated value in order to get your property on their books. The asking price will then likely go through a number of reductions, leaving you feeling disappointed and frustrated, before eventually accepting an offer significantly lower than your original asking price.
We’ve previously written about the process of overvaluing and then having to slash the asking price, and research by property portal Zoopla suggests that home owners now need to discount their asking price by an average of £25,000 in order to attract a buyer!
When getting your property valued by an estate agent, ask them what you can realistically hope to achieve if you want to secure a buyer in 4-6 weeks. This will help you get a clearer idea of your property’s true value, but at the end of the day your property is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
2. Your online property listing needs work
Most people now search for their next property online. In fact, it’s estimated that Rightmove alone receives around 100 property enquiries every minute! So, if you’re struggling to sell your property, your online listing should be one of the first things you review. Are the photographs good quality and attractive? Does the listing include a floorplan? Does the property description provide enough detail?
Many people searching for properties online are doing it in their lunchbreak, on their commute or at other busy times. They want all of your property information to be readily available, and if your online profile images don’t stack up next to the competition, sadly your property won’t get a look in.
3. Your marketing photographs aren’t accurate
Outdated or inaccurate marketing photographs can be a real issue. I once went to view a property that had used marketing photographs that were 5 years out of date! In those 5 years, the property had gone from a warm, well-loved family property to a less-cared-for rental property, and then been left vacant for several months (and it didn’t look like any decorating or property maintenance had been carried out during that entire 5 year period). Over-selling in your marketing details, and using either outdated or inaccurate photographs, will only lead to potential buyers feeling disappointed when they first walk through the door, and that’s something you really don’t want if you’re hoping to secure a buyer!
4. Your property feels like a project
This brings us nicely onto the next reason why your house might not be selling - it feels like a project.
If your property needs work doing you have a couple of choices; you can either carry out the work prior to putting the property on the market (this would be my recommendation if you’re in a position to do so), or you can market the property stressing its potential, but being clear and honest that it’s a bit of a ‘fixer-upper’.
Property investors, and even private buyers with limited borrowing ability or a desire to take on a project, are often on the lookout for a property that needs work, but they’ll expect to get it at a price that reflects not only the cost of the work that’s required, but also the time and energy the property will require as well. A ‘project’ property will only appeal to a certain percentage of the population, and limited appeal will also have an impact on the value of the property, so if you choose to go down that route you’ll need to be realistic about the price you’ll achieve.
5. Your estate agent isn’t working hard enough for you
The emergence of the online estate agent means you now have some serious decisions to make when it comes to selling your house. The price difference between online and high street estate agents can be vast – high street agents normally charge anything between 1% and 3.5% of the final selling price, online estate agents can charge as little as a few hundred pounds - but so too can the level of service you receive.
When you choose an estate agent - whether that’s a high street one or an online service - it’s important to make sure the agent understands the market you’re trying to sell in, has a strong local knowledge and therefore is able to value your property accurately, and will offer an excellent level of service to both you and potential buyers; if your agent is a nightmare to deal with, doesn’t return calls or offers limited availability for accompanied viewings, your potential buyers may well go looking elsewhere.