Why won’t my house sell? (And what can I do about it?)

Across the UK there are several types of property that usually take longer to sell than others.
Even quirks, location and repairs aren’t always insurmountable problems. Picture – suppliedEven quirks, location and repairs aren’t always insurmountable problems. Picture – supplied
Even quirks, location and repairs aren’t always insurmountable problems. Picture – supplied

We asked Chris Hodgkinson, Managing Director of property buying company House Buyer Bureau what they were, why they take longer to sell, and what a seller can do to improve their chances of selling.

Chris said: “There are lots of reasons why an individual property might not sell, but when you step back and look at things from a ‘property type’ viewpoint then these are the most common ones:

– Larger, expensive properties: You might think it is just luxury mansions with sprawling estates that take longer to sell, but in fact any property that is priced at the very high end of a local market will limit the pool of potential buyers. Sellers’ should focus on location and unique features to help attract specific buyers, but a realistic asking price is crucial.

– Remote or rural properties: Initially after the pandemic we did see more people searching for rural properties that offered seclusion and outdoor space, but in recent times we’ve seen a return to higher demand for city and town living and proximity to amenities. As a seller you can’t change your location, but you can make the most of it, so highlight unique selling points like stunning scenery or nearby outdoor activities to attract the right audience. There are still buyers out there who will find it appealing.

– Unconventional properties: Properties with unusual layouts, historical quirks, or non-standard features usually take longer to find buyers due to their niche appeal. The best you can do with properties like these is to emphasize their unique charm and individuality.

– Flats with short leases: Leasehold flats with less than 80 years remaining can be unattractive to buyers due to the potential costs associated with lease extensions. The government is proposing changes to make it easier to sell a leasehold property but in the short term sellers should consider extending the lease before listing or offering to contribute towards the extension costs to attract buyers.

– Properties in need of significant repairs: Fixer-uppers can appeal to property investors and renovation enthusiasts, but extensive work can deter most buyers. When selling a property you want to appeal to the biggest audience you can so be upfront about repair needs, provide detailed estimates, or consider addressing some key repairs to make the property more appealing to a mainstream audience.

Chris adds that there are other factors that can stop a property selling, and these are all things you can do something about.

– Overpriced properties: Setting an unrealistic asking price can significantly slow down the selling process. Researching similar properties in the area and getting several estate agent valuations can help ensure a competitive price that attracts buyers.

– Poor presentation: A cluttered, unmaintained property can turn buyers away. Declutter, deep clean, stage the property, and address any cosmetic issues to make a welcoming and attractive first impression.

– Limited marketing: Poor listing photos, inaccurate descriptions, and lack of visibility on property portals can hinder visibility. Make sure you are working with a good estate agent, who is using professional photos, and is proactively marketing your property via social media.

Chris added: “Even if you have one of the ‘harder-to-sell’ property types there are plenty of positive things you can do to increase your chances of a sale. My top recommendations would be:

– Be realistic with you pricing: Check what properties sold for in 2023 and pitch your price in line with these. Prices have reduced a little so don’t be too greedy. Make sure you’re looking at properties of a similar type and condition, and location.

– Make a good first impression: Declutter, clean, and stage the property to create a desirable and welcoming atmosphere. Open doors and curtains to let in lots of natural light.

– Make sure your photos do you justice: You want your buyers to imagine themselves living there, so avoid photos where people or animals appear, or you have clothes on the bed or washing hanging up. Anything that clutters a picture or detracts from the room!

– Highlight unique selling points: Celebrate and showcase any unique features or amenities that set your property apart from others.

– Be open to negotiation: Be prepared to negotiate on the price and be flexible with viewings and dates to attract potential buyers.

– Be open to alternatives: If you can’t find a buyer or your sale keeps falling through, then you might do well to look at other ways to sell. You could try and sell at auction, or you could get a guaranteed cash sale in a timescale that suits you by talking to a professional property buying company like House Buyer Bureau.

Remember, every property is unique, and the time it takes to sell can vary depending on various factors. Be patient, flexible, and willing to adapt.