Why Won't My House Sell

Bill Gassett's picture
Reasons Why Homes Don't Sell

The Reasons Homes Don't Sell

Are you having trouble selling your home? Are you asking yourself, "why won't my house sell"? On average, it takes 2 to 3 months to sell a house or property in the UK.

In the United States, it is considerably less at the moment. In fact, buying a house has been extremely difficult due to low inventory. In a strong seller's market, there is definitely an underlying problem if your home has not sold.

Has your home been sitting on the market for much longer than that, and you can’t figure out why? Do you need advice for selling your home fast?

Countless factors determine why some houses sell quicker than others. From marketing efforts and price point to location and size, buyers are often looking for specific features.

While some homeowners decide to skip the estate agent fees and sell a property on their own, this could be the main reason why your home is still sitting on the market.

Real Estate agents are experts in their field. Not only do they have insider information on the current market, trends, and buying habits, but their marketing efforts far surpass what you can accomplish on your own.

In addition to hiring a real estate agent, there are several reasons why your house isn’t selling. Keep reading to learn what changes you can make to improve your chances of closing the deal.

It’s Priced Too High

Price is the number one factor in selling (or not selling) a property. If you’re asking too much for your home, chances are, it’ll sit on the market until you lower it. Pricing to sell is critical in achieving the most money for your home.

The first issue is that most people think their home is worth more than it is. We get it. You’re emotionally attached to your house.

Maybe it was your first home after getting married or where you raised your children. You see its potential and sentimentality.

Unfortunately, buyers only see a structure with four walls and a roof. They see the size of the bedrooms, yard, and proximity to local shops and schools.

Thanks to market analysis and comparisons, buyers are armed with what other homes similar to yours are currently selling for or recently sold for. There’s no pulling the wool over their eyes. If your home is overpriced, they’ll know it, and they’ll move on.

Another reason pricing your home too high is a major problem is that prospective buyers may never even lay their eyes on your listing. Most buyers set a price range when searching for properties or a cap.

Let’s say they search homes under 300,000, and your house is overpriced by 10,000. Now, it’s listed at  310,000, and that buyer will never even see it!

It’s also hard for buyers to get mortgage approval for homes that are priced too high. If the mortgage company appraises the home at under the asking price, you may lose out on another potential sale.

Valuations are the perfect way to determine a reasonable asking price for your home. While you don’t want to give it away, you also need to be realistic.

Real Estate agent fees often include a home valuation that compares your house to similar ones in the area. Even if you decide to adjust the price slightly, this will give you a good starting point. You might as well price it correctly because it is not going to appraise otherwise.

Poor Quality Photographs

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This couldn’t be more true than when trying to sell a house.

Even before Covid-19, 90% of prospective buyers searched homes online. That means that the photographs of your house are the first (and possibly the last) thing they see.

If the pictures of your home are low-quality, buyers are more likely to click past them and into a more appealing listing. The chances of them requesting an in-person viewing also drop dramatically.

Your property needs to make a good first impression. While cellphone cameras are fine for snapping pictures of your family and pets, leave your listing photos to the professionals.

A real estate agent is skilled in taking pictures to market your property. Whether they take them themselves or hire a professional photographer, they know the right angles, lighting, and staging to make your house stand out.

Speaking of staging, this is another big factor when selling a property. Is your home overly cluttered? Are personal pictures hung on the walls or picture frames beside the bed?

While these personal touches are fine for you and your family, they won’t help when it comes to landing a buyer. You want the buyer to imagine themselves in your home and their bright future there. This is pretty tough to do when your house is filled with your own personal memories and artifacts.

Real Estate agents are constantly emphasizing the need to get rid of junk before listing for sale. For a good reason - not doing so can slow down getting the house sold!

Reduce clutter by removing unnecessary items from the walls and shelves. Clear off your kitchen and bathroom counters. Make your bed and put that dirty laundry away.

You want your home to look as crisp, clean, and new as possible. A real estate agent can help give your home a much-needed facelift.

It Lacks Curb Appeal

The inside of your home isn’t the only thing people will see. In fact, their first impression will be of the outside of your house. This includes paint, landscaping, and, yes, clutter!

Whether it’s in pictures or in person, you need to pay close attention to your home’s curb appeal. This is especially important if you paid extra estate agent fees for a “For Sale” sign for your front yard.

A sign will draw more attention to your home, which is a good thing! But not if the outside of your home looks like a junkyard.

Make sure your lawn is mowed and manicured. Invest in some extra landscaping, including small bushes, flowers, or trees.

Walkway lighting is another great addition both for safety and aesthetic appeal. A Realtor can visit your home and give you pointers on what to do and what not to do!

While paying real estate agent fees might seem like a loss, in the beginning, it’ll lead to big gains in the end when your house finally sells! View it as more of an investment than an expense.

Your Listing Needs an Overhaul

Photographs of your property are at the forefront of any online listing -- but they’re not the only important feature. The listing as a whole, including the description, plays a huge part in selling a property.

If your house doesn’t sell, it could be because your listing needs a major overhaul.

The listing should highlight your home’s key features. Here are a few of the most common line items your listing should include (if applicable):

Recent upgrades
High-end appliances
Oversized yard
Parking
Detached or oversized garage

Buyers also search for homes with parking options and good schools. A well-designed listing could mean the difference between selling and sitting on your home for months.

Real Estate agent fees often include crafting a professional listing that attracts numerous buyers. Realtors know what buyers are looking for and how to present your home in the most favorable light.

Your Property Isn’t Listed on the Right Websites

With most home searches being done online, your property should be listed on some of the most popular and visited websites like Rightmove and Zoopla in the UK and Realtor.com and Zillow in the US.

These sites only deal directly with agents, which is why you’ll want to pay those extra real estate agent fees if it means access to these portals. Rightmove is the UK's biggest property portal and a go-to for many home buyers.

Remember, if your prospective buyer is also using a real estate agent, that professional will be searching these portals for homes like yours. Not listing here will put your property at a major disadvantage.

Real Estate agents also have access to premium listings which put your property at the top of the search results with larger, more attractive photographs and longer descriptions. Not only will your property get more views, but probably more inquiries and offers.

To compare estate agents and get a better idea of which will list your property in the best way, use Rentround. The platform compares agents for sellers & landlords for free.

Property Viewings Aren’t Going Well

Congrats, you’ve landed a property viewing! That means that someone saw your home’s listing and wants to get a better, first-hand look.

But what happens if the viewing appointment doesn’t go well? You need to present your house in the right way.

All too often, homeowners don’t know how to conduct viewings and make a few major mistakes that turn buyers off.

A few examples are following the buyers around the house without giving them space, arguing with them when they make negative comments, or showing a messy, cluttered house. Sometimes there is an overabundance of "things" that really should be put into storage.

Any of these missteps could cost you the sale.

Another thing many homeowners fail to realize is that smell plays a huge part in selling a property. If you have pets, are a smoker, or have other unpleasant odors wafting throughout your house, it’s sure to turn buyers off from the start.

Fresh baked cookies, a candle, or open windows add an inviting scent to your home, masking any unpleasant odors. These are all small touches that make a big difference! It's easy to make your home look better even when you're on a budget.

For starters, walk your home with an unbiased, outsider perspective. If this was a home you were going to buy, what features do you like and which turn you off? Use this as a starting point for making changes.

Unfortunately, this is pretty impossible for most homeowners. It’s difficult to step back and view your home as an outsider, especially when you’re emotionally attached.

Real Estate agent fees include not only preparing your home for viewings but conducting them. That means the homeowners aren’t present.

While this can be difficult for you, it’s actually best for selling a property. Buyers don’t feel comfortable viewing a house with the homeowner present. It adds unnecessary pressure and stress.

They may not feel comfortable asking questions or pointing out negative features. You may also feel compelled to chime in and defend your home. Nothing turns off a buyer more than a pushy, overbearing homeowner!

A real estate agent is also skilled in showing homes. They know how to highlight the best features while also putting a positive spin on some less-than-perfect aspects.

It’s the Wrong Time to Sell

Timing is everything when trying to sell a house. If your home isn’t selling, it could be that you’re marketing it at the wrong time.

The best season to sell a house is in the spring. This is when the warmer weather rolls in and people are eager to get out and start home hunting.

One problem you might face is that everyone has the same idea, with multiple listings hitting the market at the same time. This is why estate agent valuations are so important. Market comparisons give you a better idea of your competition and what you’re up against.

The property market sometimes sees a spike during the summer months when families with children are looking to buy and get settled before the next school year starts. You’ll see a slow down during the winter months, especially around the holidays.

Mortgage Companies are Hesitant About Financing Your Property

Most buyers need a mortgage to purchase a home. Without it, they don’t have ample funding. If a home buyer can’t get approved for a mortgage on your property, you may be sitting on it for a while.

Some properties and homes are more desirable than others. For example, lenders are hesitant to give mortgages on newer kinds of housing like a shipping container house, homes made of unusual materials, or ones that have a short lease.

You may be able to take certain steps to mitigate these problems before putting your house on the market. If you’re currently facing these issues, a Realtor can help you adjust your current financial situation to better accommodate mortgage approval down the road.

You’re Marketing to the Wrong Buyers

Marketing 101 teaches you that your target audience is everything. Trying to sell anti-aging cream to teenagers or baby products to single bachelors doesn’t make sense. And neither does advertising to the wrong target market for your property.

If your home is located in a suburban area with good schools, you should be advertising to families with children. Smaller homes in quiet neighborhoods are great for retirees. Bachelors and singles love trendy flats near the city and nightlife.

Make sure the right buyers are getting their eyes on your listing. Estate agents are skilled in not just marketing your property but marketing to the ideal audience.

You also need to think about the buyer’s financial standing. Find buyers who have an agreement in principle from a reputable mortgage lender. This means the lender has already processed the person’s financials and has agreed to lend them a certain amount of money.

This reduces the risk of the sale falling through (though it can still happen).

If the ideal situation arises and you get multiple offers, choose wisely. Ask an estate agent to help you evaluate the potential and risk factors of all interested parties.

Always go with the buyer who seems most financially secure. The timing might play a part as well.

If you need to sell fast, go with the buyer who’s ready to move in ASAP. Some buyers may need to sell their current property before buying yours. This is known as a chain and can complicate the process, so be sure the deal makes sense before signing any final paperwork.

Long-Chain Properties are Less Appealing

Speaking of waiting on another property to sell, long-chain properties are less appealing to buyers, especially those looking to buy now and move in immediately.

A chain is a series of property sales and purchases that are linked. All of the sales must go smoothly to achieve the final outcome.

More properties mean more chance of a deal falling through and the chain “breaking”. If you’re locked into a long chain, you may lose some buyers who are worried about a delay in the sale and closing.

It’s best for buyers and sellers to sell their current property and rent before closing on the new home. This guarantees the first sale is final and the money is available.

When eager buyers hear they have to wait for you to secure your next home before finalizing the sale, they may move onto a different property that’s move-in ready.

Paying Real Estate Agent Fees will Save Time, Money, and Headaches

Are you struggling to sell a house? Have several deals fallen through and you’re at whits end?

Above are just a few reasons why your home is still sitting on the market. High prices, messy appearance, and misdirected marketing efforts are just a few factors that might impact the sale of your home or property.

Our suggestion? Hire a qualified real estate agent to help sell your house once and for all!

Real Estate agent fees cover a wide range of services from professional photographs and listings to viewings and even financial background checks on potential buyers.

When time and money are of the essence, you can’t go wrong with hiring a qualified real estate agent to help sell your home. Once you do, you'll be able to pack your bags and move to the next house. Hopefully, you have found our home selling tips to be useful. Best of luck!

About the author: The above article on why won't my house sell was written by Raj Dosanjh. Raj is the founder of the estate & letting agent marketing platform Rentround.

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