We’ve all seen those properties in our local area that seem to have had a “For Sale” sign in the garden since forever.
Even in popular areas where properties are seemingly snapped up the second they’re on the market, there always seems to be one no one wants.
Is this happening to you?
If your house is taking a while to sell, your estate and letting agents might be quick to reassure you, saying it’s just the current market.
That old ‘it’s not you, it’s them’ chestnut may be true but that doesn’t stop you feeling frustrated when your property keeps getting overlooked and left to languish like an unwanted older dog in a rescue centre.
It may well be a sluggish market and no one’s selling quickly, but let’s have a look at a few ways to tempt potential buyers to swipe right, not left, on your property.
You may have heard the saying, ‘A house is only worth what someone’s willing to pay for it. This, of course, is true but that doesn’t stop estate agents from overvaluing your home in the hope to a) attract your business; and b) earn them more commission.
It’s easy to be swayed by the thought of more money but if your property is overpriced, no one’s going to buy it. It really is as simple as that.
You can always lower the price – indeed, you’ll have to if it doesn’t sell, but this runs the risk of potential buyers who saw it at its original price, now seeing the lower price and wondering why no one wanted to buy it.
Psychologically, it sends a message to potential buyers that your house is sub-standard and now in the bargain bin, so price your house realistically in the first place.
Most people have the common sense to give the place a bit of a tidy up before the estate agent’s photographer comes around to take the marketing photos but there are plenty of photos on property websites to prove otherwise.
Similarly, potential buyers who come to view your property should be able to see through the clutter and visualise their own decor in the space but people can be blinkered and unimaginative.
We’re not suggesting you get all Marie Kondo on the place but clutter can be off-putting, so put your laundry away, don’t leave dirty plates in the sink and make the bed before letting anyone in to take photos or view your property.
As well as presenting your home at its best, the more clutter-free it is, the bigger the space will seem.
‘It’s too small’ is a common reason for houses not to sell, so don’t make your house look smaller than it actually is.
Just like the inside, the outside counts, too. Potential buyers will be put off by a rusty letterbox hanging off the door, weeds in the garden and dirty windows covered with grubby curtains or dirty blinds.
Just a few simple fixes to freshen your property’s appearance from the outside will make a world of difference to how your house appears to potential buyers.
You want people to be tempted to walk into your house, not to run far away from it in the opposite direction.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about your neighbours but if you live next door to people who are noisy at viewing times, have a burnt-out transit van on their drive or have a jungle instead of a garden, this can all be off-putting to viewers.
There’s not much you can do about a burnt-out transit van or a jungle in their garden, but if your neighbours are noisy, try to arrange viewing times when they’re out.
You may have bought your home because of its location. It was in a beautifully quiet, rural location unspoilt by noise.
Then the developers had to spoil everything and now there are plans to build a massive housing development or high-speed train link right through your peaceful idyll.
There’s not much you can do about this other than make a feature out of how handy the new high-speed train will be to get to places quickly.
A lot of the time, the reason a house won’t sell is simply that it’s got stuff wrong with it. Not problems that are easily fixed like a letterbox hanging off the door but costly stuff like damp, rotten windows, peeling wallpaper, lumpy walls where the plaster has blown, slates missing from the roof, or if you’re really unlucky, subsidence.
Although these problems aren’t unfixable, if they come up in a survey, buyers who wanted a property that didn’t need anything doing to it will be put off and, if they’re getting a mortgage, the mortgage company may refuse to grant the loan in the first place if there’s too much wrong with the property.
A property that never sells is uncommon, so don’t let this article scare you too much. There are always properties that take a while to sell, so take the above into account and hopefully, yours won’t be one of them.