After several viewings and significant interest, have you ever sat down and asked yourself why is my house not selling?
When looking at the UK property market headlines, the impression is that every house sells very quickly, and people are paying over the odds. In reality, the results are very different across the country, and you need to be honest and upfront with yourself. There are numerous reasons which might be out of your control with others you may be able to do something about. If you can put yourself into the shoes of a potential buyer, maybe look at your home through their eyes, this can be a wake-up call!
Your asking price is too high
It can be tempting to get a little greedy when looking to sell your home, which can sometimes price you out of the market. Are you pricing your home for a quick sale, a realistic price, or are you looking to take advantage of those willing to pay a premium?
The vast majority of people who have trouble selling their houses have tended to focus on the theoretical value in the area as opposed to the actual value. When putting your house up for sale, you should look around the area, noting the recently sold properties and prices. Compare and contrast those properties with what you have to offer, and you should be able to calculate a realistic price. We are not suggesting under-pricing your property, but you must be aware of the neighbourhood and the current housing price trend.
The property lacks curb appeal
As a homeowner looking out, the view differs significantly from a potential buyer looking in. So, put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and look at your property from the outside. First, concentrate on the curb appeal and then ask yourself, why is my house not selling?
Does the garden need some work? Perhaps the property needs a lick of paint? Is the grouting in the wall coming away and giving the wrong impression? Does it have the feel of an older property on the outside even though it may be modern inside? When evaluating why you have yet to receive any firm offers for your property, it is essential to be honest with yourself. Most curb appeal issues can be addressed relatively quickly and often at little cost. However, remember this; you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Lack of photographs for potential buyers
Whether you are listing your property with a local estate agent, on one of the many online websites, or perhaps you are trying the direct sales approach through social media, you need photographs, photographs and more photographs. As a buyer, when you log onto any property website, you will be hit with many potential homes of interest. The more you can see of the property and multiple pictures of the outside, the more aware you will become of what it offers.
If you have 20 properties of interest, you won’t have time to delve into every property in detail. Instead, your eyes are drawn to the photographs, which should show the “best side” of your home. So what is there to draw in a potential buyer if there is a lack of photographs?
You are listing the property at the wrong time of year
Many people believe it is a myth that there is a right time and wrong time to list your house for sale. There have been numerous studies on this subject, one of which was carried out by the Home Owners Alliance (HOA). The conclusions were as follows:-
Many people assume that summertime is the best season to sell your home. In fact, study after study shows that spring is the best time to sell your house. There are numerous reasons which include:-
- Potential buyers are unlikely to be on vacation
- No lengthy school holidays
- Gardens are often coming into bloom
- The sun tends to be out for longer
- No Christmas celebrations
When you sit back and think about it, it makes sense; spring has a mix of extended daylight after the long winter nights. The weather starts to improve, and your garden will likely be springing to life.
Initially, you may have thought that the summertime was the best season to list your house for sale. When you think about it, there are numerous reasons why months like July and August are perhaps the worst time to list your property. Some of the issues to take into consideration include:-
- Family vacations
- School holidays
- Childcare issues
If some potential buyers are busy during the time your property is listed, it makes sense that you will have fewer viewings. Unfortunately, this equates to less competition and reduced upward pricing pressure, which can make it challenging to complete the sale, never mind obtaining the “right” price.
Autumn is one of those hit-or-miss seasons when selling your home. In the early weeks of autumn, there are some positives:-
- The weather tends to be milder
- Your property should be looking in good shape
- No major school holidays
Fast forward to the end of autumn, and the situation is very different:-
- The weather tends to turn colder
- Darkness falls much earlier
- Your property may not look as appealing in the dark
While most seasons have pros and cons when selling your home, autumn covers both ends of the spectrum. A tricky time to get the best price for your house!
Winter tends to stretch from December through to February, during which time we can be subject to the full range of weather conditions. On average, winter is the second best season to sell your home, behind spring but ahead of summer and autumn. This season tends to be split into two sections, pre-Christmas and post-Christmas. Ahead of Christmas, there are numerous considerations such as:-
- Darkness falls earlier
- Cold weather
- Lack of funds ahead of Christmas
- Families and individuals focusing on Christmas
- Estate agents, banks, etc. will close for Christmas
This can be very different if we flip the coin and look at the post-Christmas selling period. On a more positive note:-
- People tend to be looking toward the New Year with hope
- Businesses are open after the Christmas shutdown
- There tends to be a more general feel-good factor
Obviously, the weather could still be a consideration towards the end of winter and even the beginning of spring, but there are some positive aspects to consider.
Timing is only one of many issues to take into consideration when looking to sell your home, but it is an important one. You must give yourself the best chance of selling your property, attracting the most viewers and potential buyers.
The house needs repairs
If you sit down and look at your property through the eyes of a potential buyer, you may see repairs which need completing, ranging in cost. If you are honest, perhaps this answers the question, why is my house not selling. Some people seek a project, a home which they can renovate to their liking and put their stamp on. Where there are significant repairs to be done, this may be a little too much for many potential buyers. Again, put yourself in their shoes; if you were a potential buyer, would you be prepared to cover the cost of repairs?
Also, there is the question of whether potential buyers have the funds available to carry out these repairs. Many readers will be thinking; surely you can negotiate the price down to take into account any potential repairs? Obviously, this is sensible, but if the repairs are significant, there is every chance that you could find other issues when you begin to delve a little deeper. Very often, the dive into the unknown stops many potential buyers from making an offer.
Options if your house is not selling
If your house is not selling, relatively minor tweaks, as mentioned above, may increase viewing numbers and ultimately offers. Unfortunately, with more serious repairs, in many ways, you are returning to the drawing board to start again, resetting the clock. However, in some cases, the seller may be looking for a relatively quick sale and may have limited funds to carry out repairs. What are the options available in this scenario?
There is a growing array of cash buyers in the UK. Companies and investors who have cash available and will consider a range of different properties, with no limitations on:-
- Repairs required
This option can be desirable for those with a home requiring potentially costly repairs but with limited funds to invest. Indeed, we see many homeowners looking to downsize; therefore, investing in repairs before a sale can be difficult to justify. In reality, it can very often improve the chances of a deal but whether you would see an uplift above the cost of repairs is another matter.
Benefits of a cash buyer
Companies who buy houses for cash can be attractive to some homeowners because of the speed at which they complete transactions. For example, with a cash buyer:-
- They will clarify their interest very quickly
- Funds are immediately available
- There is no transaction chain
- No commissions to pay
- Many will cover all legal fees
Some companies who buy houses for cash in the UK have been known to complete transactions from start to finish in a little over four weeks. This compares to potentially months via the traditional route with no guarantee of success.
What price do cash buyers pay?
As a cash buyer, the average discount to market price tends to be in the region of 30%, although this will vary with different properties and areas. At face value, this can seem like a significant financial hit when many people are struggling. However, it is essential to take into account:-
- No advertising costs
- Legal fees covered by the buyer
- No estate agent commissions
- Reduced number of mortgage payments during the selling process
- No repair/refurbishment costs
Considering the average property takes nine months to sell, these are potentially significant cost savings. Deduct these from the market price of your home, and the discounted offer can sometimes look more attractive.
It is just as important to ask yourself, what can I do to improve my chances of selling my home? As it is to ask why is my house not selling. As we have touched on above, there are many factors to consider and potential actions to be taken when selling your house.
Companies that buy houses for cash will offer a discount on the market value, but if you consider the potential savings, this gives a more balanced impression. This option is particularly attractive to those with a home that needs significant repairs but may lack the funds required. Many traditional home buyers want to buy the finished article, but companies looking to acquire houses for cash will consider those which often need significant repairs.