Why Can't I Sell My House? Mistakes to Avoid

Common Mistakes When Selling a Property

Selling your home can be a daunting task, especially when you’re doing it for the first time, or for the first time in a long time. There is very little room for error and mistakes big or small can easily be made without you being immediately aware of them. These mistakes can be detrimental to you achieving a fair price on your home and may result in a failed house sale. Almost half of all house sales fell through before completion in England and Wales last year. For those of you who are wondering ‘why can’t I sell my house?’, we’ve put together this guide. We’ll cover the most common mistakes made when selling a property and share advice on how you can avoid making them yourself.

Entering the housing market without conducting any prior research

We all know that the housing market has been somewhat uncertain recently, due in part to the General Election in December and Brexit looming this month. Entering blindly into an unstable housing market could cause you to make the mistake of putting your property on the market at a particularly bad time. Before it comes to selling your home, you should look into the state of the property market in your area and neighbouring areas to scope out the latest stats. Remember to look at the asking and sold prices of homes similar to your own (same type, number of bedrooms, bathrooms or of a similar layout) and how long they have been on the market, as this will give you an idea of supply and demand. It can also be a good idea to look for trends over longer periods to see if there have historically been any consistently good or bad periods in which to sell.

Choosing the wrong method to sell your home

When it comes to selling your home, many people only choose the most ‘traditional’ route – selling through an estate agent. However, it is important to consider all approaches when putting your house on the market, the pros and cons of each and then pick the route that suits your needs. Approaches and their pros and cons include:

High Street estate agent


Local knowledge

  • Formal approach
  • Take care of advertising the property
  • Some will handle viewings on your behalf
  • Can negotiate on your behalf


  • Expensive
  • A home may still be on the market for some time
  • Viewings still need to take place
  • Not discreet – home advertised heavily and ‘for sale’ sign erected outside your home

Online estate agent


  • Cheaper fees, often around £1,000
  • A greater amount of choice between online agents
  • Sellers have more control over the sale of the property


  • Fees often need to be paid upfront
  • Online estate agents will not conduct viewings so sellers will have to do so
  • Unlikely to sell a house fast; a home may still be on the market for some time
  • Marketing may only be undertaken for a fixed period, with more costs incurred if your property hasn’t sold before then

Sell to a cash buyer, such as House Buyer Bureau


  • No viewings
  • Discreet – no for sale signs erected
  • No fees
  • No survey costs
  • Guaranteed fast house selling (property is certain to sell and in as little as 7 days)
  • Cash buyers, so cash will be in your bank as soon as the sale completes


  • You’ll receive a competitive price, but it won’t be the asking price for your property. To receive a free cash offer for your property, enter your postcode here.
  • It can be tempting to try to go it alone to avoid expensive estate agency fees, but it’s worth remembering that selling your property will then be mostly down to you, leaving you with a lot of work to do. That’s why it’s worth carefully considering the above pros and cons and getting a no-obligation cash offer from a property buyer such as ourselves, as this is the only way to be armed with all of the information you need to decide how to sell your home. 
Check out our Guide to Selling Property Without Estate Agents here.


Making your asking price too high

Average house prices are becoming more and more accessible, so if your initial asking price is unrealistic, your potential buyers are likely to be aware of this and therefore not pursue your property. In fact, in some cases, offering your property for less than its marketed value can result in a higher final sale price, as it encourages competition between buyers who may increase their offer in order to outbid other interested parties.

Not taking care of maintenance issues

Most, if not all, homes require at least some form of repair or maintenance at the time of putting the property on the market and its worth remembering that buyers will be turned off by any problems you leave for them to fix. As the potential buyer will have a survey carried out, there will be no hiding these repairs and it could cause them to make you a lower offer. If you want to sell a house that needs repairs, save yourself money and time in the long-run by ensuring all repairs and maintenance are taken care of first.

Failing to prepare your property for photography and viewings

These days, most homebuyers begin their search online and so having photographs that showcase your home in its best light is crucial to immediately catch their attention. You must also ‘stage’ your home for viewings. This means positioning everything in the most flattering layout, getting rid of any clutter and ensuring all surfaces are clean and tidy. The staging element of your property is even more important if your house will be vacant at the time of viewing, as you want the potential buyers to see it as a home for themselves, not just an empty shell.

Lack of advertisement and marketing of your home

Gone are the days of a simple classified ad and an image in the newspaper or estate agent’s window being sufficient to sell a house. If you’re putting your property on the market using a high street or online agent then it’s important to double-check that your property is being marketed as widely and as well as possible. Ensure your property is listed online, in a variety of places such as Zoopla and Rightmove, as well as on your chosen estate agent’s site. The listing should include top quality imagery and as a bonus, you could even include a virtual tour of the home. This may come at a cost, but your estate agent might be able to help you with this.

You should ensure you have visible for-sale signage outside of your home and generate word of mouth too. Shout it loud and wide ‘I want to sell my house!’

Working with a poor estate agent

Don’t stick with an estate agent that is performing poorly and doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere with shifting your property. An underperforming estate agent could cause a host of issues, from inaccurate pricing and time-wasting buyers to bad marketing and unprofessional viewings. If your estate agent isn’t working for you, then move on. Don’t bide your time and lose out as a result, especially as the longer your property is on the market, the less it is likely to sell for as buyers pay attention to ‘time on market’.

Underestimating the costs involved

It can be a costly feat to sell a home and there are many expenses to consider before you put your property on the market. Firstly, you must bear in mind the fees and commission charges of your chosen estate agent (whether considering an online or high street estate agent). The average fee charged by traditional estate agents in the UK is currently 1.42% of the final selling price, inclusive of VAT. Online estate agent fees typically end up costing £1,000 for the UK’s average home.

Then, on top of this, there are any necessary repair costs, expenses of moving your belongings to your new property, taxes, insurance, closing costs and also any costs included in buying if you are purchasing a new property. Having an accurate estimation of how much it will cost to sell your home will be imperative to ensure the process goes smoothly and doesn’t leave you in a difficult financial situation.

If you’re wondering how some of these costs add up, take a look at the table below which shows the costs of using a traditional estate agency compared to selling to us at House Buyer Bureau.

Selling to us means the price achieved isn’t as low as you think!

£120,000 Example Cash Sale Traditional Estate Agency
Asking price example £120,000 £120,000
Average agreed purchase price £95,000 £110,000
Final agreed price after survey £95,000 £108,000
Estate Agent fees £0.00 £1,980
Estimated cosmetic repairs to prepare your house for sale £0.00 £1,500
Solicitor fees £0.00 £1,000
Estimated bills (During the sale process) £0.00 £1,200
Estimated mortgage payments (During the sale process) £0.00 £2,700*
Time taken off to see Estate Agents and Lawyers £0.00 £300**
Net price achieved £95,000 £99,320

*£450 per month based on 6 months to sell.

** Based on £75 a day and 4 days off work.

Ignoring kerb-appeal 

If you’re selling through an agent and putting your home on the open market then kerb appeal needs to be addressed. It’s possible that potential buyers could be passing by your home frequently while it’s on the market and you want to catch their eye. The exterior should entice buyers to be curious about the inside and interested enough to walk-in during open-house showings. You don’t need to make big changes, just simply spruce it up a little with a quick coat of paint, getting rid of weeds and cleaning the pavements, keeping any grass neat and tidy and placing some flowers or greenery around the entrance.

Remaining emotionally attached to the property

This one is the most commonly made mistakes, and it is only natural having made a home out of your property over the years that you have spent there. It probably holds a lot of memories and you may have put your heart and soul into making it your own. Once you decide to sell, however, you must learn to let go of this and become objective about your reasons for selling. Try to look at your home the way potential buyers will to ensure you’re covering all bases for viewings.

Additionally, if buyers catch a hint that you’re emotionally invested in the property, it could put them off making an offer for fear of you backing out at the last moment. You should also avoid letting your emotions rule negotiations. View your property as a commodity that will soon be owned by someone else.

Luckily, when you sell to House Buyer Bureau, you don’t need to worry about any of the above. We buy your property regardless of how it looks, its condition or its location. We can even do it in a timescale that suits you, or in as little as seven days.

We remove all the hassle of maintenance, repairs, viewings, marketing and advertising, expensive estate agent fees and property market uncertainty. We can offer you a fair and competitive price for your property and we won’t lower this once the formal offer has been made.

We are a genuine cash buyer with the funds readily available to buy your home. If you want a fast and easy way to sell your home without the worry of making mistakes, get in touch with us today, or simply enter your postcode on our homepage to receive an instant cash offer for your property.

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