In life everyone who experiences home ownership will at some point decide to move on or have to relocate for all sorts of reasons, too many to mention here.
When you put your property on the open market, you are likely to anticipate a few viewings, maybe receive an offer and possibly a quick property sale – this is not always how it turns out. Yes, selling your house is fairly certain, however, it is not guaranteed until both parties (vendor/seller & buyer) have actually exchanged contracts through their solicitors. And even at the eleventh hour a property sale can fall over, for example, when one part of the selling chain breaks. In a buoyant property market house prices tend to sell for more than the asking price and house viewings can be plentiful.
In this Blog we are going to dive into pre-planning before you flick the switch to fully market your home to the outside world. Let’s face it you don’t go on holiday without packing your suitcase properly and ensure you don’t leave your passport behind on the kitchen table!
Here we’ve compiled a common list of possibilities why a property doesn’t sell, and some hints to do to make sure it does sell. We will start off with how to get your home saleable and then into then obstacles of why it’s possibly sticking.
Poor staging, clean and de-clutter
How your home is presented to buyers and first impressions make a huge difference. Yes, that does mean cleaning, tidying, polishing, freshening things up and getting rid of all excess clutter and furniture. Do make an effort to keep pet smells at bay, or cigarette odours outside, and ensure your house is well ventilated prior to any viewings.
Have a good clear out of your belongings and those items you don’t need any more, are there things that could be given to charity or perhaps sell online for extra cash. You might be really proud of your collection of Wallace & Gromit figurines, but buyers may not see it the same way. Perhaps start packing such items and store them in a storage facility (it will save time when you do move).
Most of us have visited and admired a new build show home. What they do is commonly called ‘staging’ and this is about making a home feel cosy and welcoming. Presentation of each room is vital to highlight the property’s best features, such as increasing the size of an area by re-arranging furniture for example. Redecorating with fresh paint can improve a room appearance considerably too.
Viewing appointment time? Even a small effort of turning on all the table lights, in winter warm the house up, set the dining table, place fresh flowers in a few rooms and perhaps bake fresh goods (it is known some supermarkets use bakery smells to entice customers to buy). When the front door opens the buyers have got to feel at home. How your home is presented to buyers makes a big difference and could entice a sale.
There’s a short leasehold remaining
A very short remaining leasehold on any property can be problematic for most buyers, as it can sometimes make the building more difficult to get a mortgage on, due to the potential reduction in value. To increase the leasehold on a property, you need to have owned it for a minimum of at least two years. It is often recommended that the vendor extends the lease when it has a 70 year term remaining. There are obviously costs involved in doing this and this would need to be dealt with by professional consultation. Again, it has been known to sell a property with a short lease but it could reduce the scope of potential incoming buyers.
No kerb appeal
You might think you have the greatest house on the road, but if your garden is unkempt or featureless, your paint is peeling, and your front drive needs work, a buyer might pass right by without a second glance. They might visit your property and disappear without giving any feedback and that would say a lot!
A busy, noisy main road
While you cannot divert the traffic driving past your home, there are a few remedies you can do to prevent some of the disturbance of the echoing road sound. You can reduce the visibility of traffic by using tall foliage as a barrier, or high fencing, and for reducing sound, installing good quality double glazing. Even a back garden water feature has apparently helped to alleviate vehicle noise pollution in the rear of some properties.
And noisy neighbours
Noisy neighbours are deemed as an unwelcome and unexpected surprise once you have moved into your new home. Buyers quite often will ask “what are the neighbours like around here” and no one wants an unsociable local acquaintance. If you are unfortunate enough to inherit a noisy family next door it is always going to be awkward, but the best way to go about resolving the issue is to politely speak to them in person. Be open and honest about the situation, and hopefully you’ll be met with consideration. Then on the other hand it is possibly why the seller you bought from moved out in the first place!
Sometimes a home’s layout or flow that simply isn’t ideal for many buyers – you might not even realize it because you’ve become used to it. Maybe the bathroom is on ground level, or one of the bedrooms is positioned off the dining room or living room. Whatever the problem, this is generally an awkward issue to remedy without major renovations, so you’ll have to decide whether you want to spend money or simply wait for the right buyer to come along.
Your property has never been updated
If your home is still showing signs of being from the 1980’s – this could be cute in a retro way but it could be turning buyers off, especially if the properties in your area are all up-to-date. Updated appliances, fixtures and furnishings all go a long way toward making your home sell.
Damp is one of the main things potential buyers will be able to detect through the smell of your property, it has a distinctive musty smell and it can be visible by plaster bubbling, so make sure you treat any problem areas.
Parking is a problem
Not having a designated car parking space or a private driveway can be a problem for potential buyers. If this is the case with your home you would know this as you live there and would have undoubtedly found alternative locations of where to park. It would be worth addressing these options for when you market your property with the estate agents.
If your home front door opens on to a busy main road or it has a grave yard on the property boundary or the property rises from front to back so the garden becomes a cliff, or no available car parking, then this may mean your home will become difficult home to sell. Ensuring your buyer knows this information from the start, and before any viewings, will save wasted time for everyone.
Pick the right estate agent
Use Google to find a local estate agent and read at least two independent reviews about them before you appoint one agent. If you don’t research your agent they may seem competent and experienced, but not all estate agents are right for all properties. It’s always a good idea to invite three agents to appraise your property (it is normally free) so you can achieve an average selling price your home. Your agent should constantly be in touch arranging viewings and providing feedback from potential buyers, as well as promoting your home for sale properly.
Bad property web listing photos
If the publicity photos for your property don’t make it look bright, clean and uncluttered, you may want to have them re-taken. Dim lit pictures are a deal breaker, as are pictures that include house clutter or the less scenic features of the home like an up turned toilet seat – you will be surprised, it happens. Make sure your photographs are taken on a bright sunny day and that you have removed dirty laundry out of sight. Camera angle is important, as it will capture a whole room rather than a corner. If you can’t get people inside, they’re never going to buy your property.
When you put your home on the market can make a considerable difference. For example, in many markets, spring is a popular time to browse for homes, because families are likely to venture out when the cold winter finishes. A newly marketed home has a novelty appeal and will attract buyers, as time goes by the listing will deteriorate and interest will slump. If this does happen, try taking the property off the market and relist with a fresh agent or a dual agent (this is a healthy competitive way of making sure the agents work for their commission).
How the market affects property sales
Even if you have made every effort to get your home ship-shape, it still may sit on the market if house sales in your location are slow. Easy research with on-line property portals (such as Rightmove or Zoopla) will give a good indication of other house sales and will reflect on how your home will sell.
My property won’t sell – what are my options?
If you feel like you have done everything you possibly can and your property still isn’t selling, don’t worry, there are still plenty of choices: take a look at some of these:
i) Postpone the sale: If you are in no hurry and have no deadline, it may be better to withdraw your home from the market and relist it when market conditions improve. Spring time is usually recommended by estate agents and the most popular time to sell.
ii) Rent out your property: If you are selling your home because you need to relocate to a new area, renting it out might be a good alternative for you. At least by renting it will help to pay towards the mortgage (on that property), cover council tax payments and the utility bills. Although you would still be liable for the buildings insurance, arranging a valid gas certificate and of April 2021 an electrical certificate to comply with government legislation. Plus you would need to contact your mortgage lender for ‘consent to let’ too prior to renting (unless your property was mortgage free/no debt on it).
iii) Price too high? Reduce the asking price: Lowering your selling price would certainly invigorate interest from potential buyers. If you did accept a lower offer, to offset this loss you could ask for a reduction on the price where you are moving to? This has helped stagnant house sale chains actually go forward.
iv) Try a part-exchange scheme: A part-exchange scheme involves trading your home as part payment for a new build property. The building developer will buy your existing property and then subtract this value from the cost of your new home. However, be mindful a new build can be priced at the maximum the market will allow and does not always reflect the true value (that is why second hand properties are more realistically priced as a rule).
Difficult grumpy vendors
Cannot sell your home? In all fairness it could be you are the problem. Sometimes people get worn out by multiple showings with no offers, and they stop making as much effort, but you’ve got to keep persevering. It is understandable that most people don’t conduct a lot of preparation cleaning for every new viewing (even second viewings), and when a buyer does not turn up without any valid notification it can become very demoralising.
We have tried to cover all areas in this article to give you possible answers and tips as to why your property is not selling quickly. We hope you have enjoyed our blog and look forward to you reading our next topic of conversation.