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“My House Won’t Sell” — How to Move out and Move On

For sale sign on whitewashed house

Has your house been on the market for months with not so much as the hint of an offer? Or have you only received offers far below the property’s market value? Waiting for the right buyer to come along can be a long and stressful process.

According to research by The Advisory, it took an average of 129 days (4.2 months) to sell a home in the UK in 2019. However, it can take even longer if your home is in poor condition, located in an unpopular area or is an unusual building. Additional factors, such as the time of year and the “heat” of the market can also affect how long it takes to sell a property.

So why isn’t your house selling and what can you do to boost the chances of clinching a deal?

Why Isn’t My House Selling?


  • The asking price is too high. The most common reason homeowners struggle to sell is they have set the asking price too high. This can make it difficult to secure viewings, let alone offers. Properties that are priced too high and then reduced take months longer to sell than those priced accurately in the first place.


  • A poor estate agent. The choice of estate agents can be overwhelming, from traditional high street agents to online operators. But not all agents are created equal. If yours isn’t being proactive in securing viewings, has poor customer management skills or has too many clients to handle, your property will take longer to sell.


  • Ineffective marketing. Buyers have access to hundreds of property ads online and if your home isn’t marketed well, they’ll swipe on by. An ad that lacks multiple high-quality images, detailed information and floor plans will not make a potential buyer pick up the phone to request a viewing. 


  • Getting a mortgage for your property is difficult. Traditional mortgage lenders are less keen to lend for the purchase of certain types of property, for example, unusual buildings or flats above shops. This reduces the pool of potential buyers to those who can meet the lender’s stringent criteria or those who can afford to buy without a mortgage. 


  • A “cold” housing market. There is a wide range of events and circumstances that contribute to market heat. If there is a recession or political uncertainty, such as Brexit, houses may move more slowly and higher prices could be harder to achieve. 


  • The property lacks “curb appeal”. An uncared-for home is much harder to sell than one that is clean, tidy and well-maintained. If the property is not well presented for viewings, potential buyers may find it hard to envision themselves making it a home and are unlikely to make an offer.


  • It’s the wrong season to sell. Property moves at different rates depending on the time of year. Spring is typically a good time to sell with lots of people looking to buy. In contrast, the build-up to Christmas tends to be quiet with most people putting their moving plans on ice until the new year.


  • Your property chain puts buyers off. If you’re in a long property chain, potential buyers may worry about the risk of a break further down the chain causing problems and so can be reluctant to make an offer. 


How to Move out and Move on 


If you’ve identified any of the above problems, what can you do to increase your chances of finding a buyer and get moving?


  • Re-evaluate the asking price. Some estate agents inflate their valuation in a bid to get your business. This can result in a high asking price that puts people off. Take a look at similar properties (size, location, condition, etc.) that have sold recently and those that have been sitting on the market for some time. This research should give you a good idea if you’ve priced your home too high.


  • Switch estate agents. If your estate agent isn’t pulling their weight, shop around and ask friends for recommendations. There are also some helpful estate agent comparison tools online. Try to understand why your current agent isn’t getting results and take your list of expectations to some different agencies to find one that can serve you better. Alternatively, ditch the estate agent and go it alone. There is no rule to say you must use an estate agent to sell your home. 


  • Improve your property ad. Consider using a professional photographer to take some new photos of your home, showing it in the best light without being misleading. Make sure your advertisement contains details relevant to the target market. If you are selling a large family home, make it clear it has a large secure garden and an excellent school nearby. If you don’t have floorplans in your current marketing, add them.


  • Ask for feedback. Asking potential buyers for feedback after viewings can provide valuable insight into why the property isn’t selling. Does everyone say the house looks smaller than in the photographs? Add some more accurate images to your ad. Are lots of people put off by the messy garden? Spend a little time or money giving it a good tidy. 


  • Complete basic repairs. If some small repairs need doing, such as broken window sills or dripping taps, it’ worth spending a little effort checking these off the buyer’s to-do list. Additionally, removing vibrant and very personal decor such as patterned wallpaper and brightly coloured wall paint, can make the home more neutral and help potential buyers imagine themselves living in the property.


  • Take the property off the market for a while. If the market is cold or it’s a slow time of year for property sales, consider taking your home off the market until things pick up. This will save you the time, hassle and money involved in trying to sell against all the odds. Furthermore, a house that has been on the market for some time may make potential buyers wary or more likely to make a low offer. Put your home back on the market when properties are moving quickly.


  • Move into rented accommodation temporarily. Properties marketed as a vacant possession are attractive to buyers as there will be no property chain on one side and no need to wait for the current owners to move out. Equally, by moving into rented property short-term, you will increase your appeal as a buyer because you will be chain-free.


  • Sell to a house buying service. This is the fastest way to get a guaranteed sale. House Buyer Bureau buys any property in any condition or location. We can provide a cash offer almost immediately and once the valuation is complete and a firm offer made, the completion can take place in as little as seven days. There are no estate agent fees to pay and although the cash offer will be less than the market value, this makes little financial difference when the costs of a traditional sale are taken into consideration (agent fees, repair work, mortgage repayments). 

If you’re struggling to sell your home, House Buyer Bureau can help. We are the UK’s favourite house buying service and have helped hundreds of customers sell up and move on. We typically pay 80% of the market value and with our new 120-day guaranteed sale we can offer up to 90%. Contact us for your cash quote today.