After decades spent selling houses in the UK, I see property sellers making the same mistakes time and time again and wondering why their house won't sell. The reality is that there is a buyer for every house. However, it's not the seller's fault that they are inexperienced at selling property - after all, most people only ever sell their home once or twice in their lifetime. When you are responsible for selling thousands of homes a year, you learn to spot the mistakes and rectify them quickly. Here are the six most common mistakes sellers make and what to do to fix them:
Being unrealistic about the value of their property
We all think our house is worth more than our neighbours: that lovely kitchen, the cool bathroom and that beautifully landscaped garden. The fact is that your house is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it. So be realistic about the price you are likely to get, as it would be better to pitch the price lower and get a sale than have your property sit on the market for months unsold. You can get a realistic valuation for your property here.
Fail to choose the best estate agent
To have the best chance of selling your house, you need to choose your estate agent wisely. Many people will think that "cheapest is best" and just choose the agent with the lowest fee. However, it is important to also take into account how successful the estate agent has been at securing the asking price for properties they've previously sold. Not only that, but how quick they have been at selling properties. Fortunately, there is now a comparison tool that allows you to compare estate agents across all those factors so that you can find the best and cheapest estate agent near you that is most likely to sell your house.
Fail to present their property in the best light
It amazes me how many sellers fail to prepare their property fully prior to putting it on the market, they then wonder why their property sits on the market unsold for months on end. Imagine trying to sell your car without giving it a good clean inside and out! For more on this subject, read my article "Selling your home? 10 tips on how to showcase your property".
Not seeing viewings as an opportunity to sell
A viewing is like a sales appointment where the seller should be pulling out all the stops to make the viewer fall in love with their property. Unfortunately, many sellers see viewings as a bit of an intrusion and give potential buyers just a cursory tour around the house and then expect them to buy it. Prepare well for each viewing, and conduct them in a professional manner, to increase the chances of a sale.
Dismissing offers to quickly
Every offer should be taken seriously and not just dismissed out of hand. Many offers that could have been rejected instantly can be negotiated up to a realistic price, and a sale achieved, with a bit of patience. People will often make an offer at a very low price just to test the water. If they are in a good position to proceed to completion, then they will be worth spending time on. Here is where a good estate agent will really earn their money as negotiating offers is one of their key skills.
Accepting an offer but not getting all the relevant information
Many sellers accept an offer, but in their excitement fail to get all the relevant information about their buyer. Have they got a property to sell? Do they need a mortgage? What are their timescales for moving? How many other sellers in the chain? Without this information, a seller is in the dark just hoping that their sale goes through. Get all the relevant information and take control of your sale and you will increase the chances of it reaching completion.