6 min Read
17 Aug 2012

Written by Liam

Over 30 years experience in financial services, residential lettings and property sales. Director of a leading national estate agency chain, until leaving in 2008 to pursue other commercial interests. Vast experience in new business development, business change, management development and business strategy.

More about Liam

What to do if your house isn’t selling

In the current market conditions trying to sell your house is a tough job, make sure you give yourself the best chance of a sale by following these guidelines.

Price

Not surprisingly price is the number one driver for potential buyers. No matter how good your property looks, or how good the location, if the price is too high then it will not sell.

Spend some time doing research in your area on similar properties to your own, and if you are keen to sell consider pitching your price around 5% below the competition.

We all want to get the best price for our property but first we have to get people through the door and a competitive price is one of the best ways to achieve this. A word of warning here though, don't set your price too far below the competition as this will make potential buyers nervous as they may start to think there are problems with the property.

If you are using an estate agent then they may well have set the marketing price for your property high to secure the instruction. Talk to your agent and get some evidence from them on the actual selling price of similar properties.

If your property has been on the market for some time it is almost a certainty that you need to review your marketing price downwards.

Once you have reached a new, more competitive, price make sure your estate agent markets your property fully at the new price. You should expect your agent to  phone all customers who are looking in your area and  at your new price and encourage them to view your property.

Once you start to get viewings then offers should follow, but don't be too rigid on the price as a bit of flexibility may secure a sale.

External appearance

Before anybody decides to view your property it will be a good bet that they have driven by to have a look at the outside, and the location. If there are negatives about the external condition then you can say goodbye to a number of potential buyers.

Getting out the paintbrush to give your house a face-lift will be a weekend well spent. Keeping  the grass cut, hedges trimmed and borders weeded will make any potential buyer feel you care about your property. Don't forget the wheelie bins, keep them out of sight, if possible, or at least keep them tidy.

Internal appearance

Once you are getting viewings then you need to make sure that your property makes a good impression. In this market your house will need to look like a show house, if you want to get buyers interested. Any clutter will make the rooms appear smaller and not show them off to their full potential.

Take an objective view of the condition of  the decor and do some decorating or refit carpets, if it is required. Too many people decide to sell their property when the decor looks tired and rooms, like the kitchen and bathroom, are past their best. If you want to get the best price for your property then you either need to invest some money in updating or reduce the price significantly to attract a buyer.

Whilst on the market always keep your property clean and tidy and ready for a potential viewing . Never accept a viewing if  your property is untidy or you have visitors, as this will reduce your chances of selling.

Estate Agent

If your property has been on the market for some time then you will need to run a critical eye over your estate agent. Ask them outright what they have done to market your property in the last 7-14 days, as they should have recorded every action they have taken. If a property is proving difficult to sell many agents will push that property to the back of the drawer as they focus their attention on the easier sales.

If you are near the end of your contract consider changing your agent as this will give the marketing of your property a new approach.

If you have still some way to go in your contract period then you will need to pin down your agent to some specific actions they are going to take to get your property sold e.g. new photographs, fresh advertising together with an intense telephone campaign.

Conclusion

In the tough market conditions of today every property seller has to work hard to get a sale. Too many people just call in an estate agent and sit back and hope for the best (read  my post - How to get the best out of your estate agent). Hopefully, after following these guidelines you be in control and will find that elusive buyer.

Good Luck!

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