Five common reasons why your house is taking ages to sell, and some tips to help it off the market

Matt Robinson
Mortgage Crisis Rattles Global Financial System
Source: Getty

Uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the upcoming General Election means that London sellers are finding it more difficult to sell their homes quickly. As a result, homes can be left languishing for months.

The days of multiple offers and sealed bids on just about every property are long gone and, according to Rightmove, it now takes an average of 59 days to get an acceptable offer on a property. The reason your home just isn’t selling is often a simple one and, if you take my advice, it’ll be easy to overcome.

1. You lack a knowledgeable agent

Your agent needs to know everything about your home, but all too often agencies use the ‘bait and switch’ tactic; this is when a senior agent is sent to value the property, while viewings are passed to a less experienced junior agent, who you haven’t met, and they don’t know your property well.

You need to meet the actual person who will be managing viewings and give them a tour of your home. Ensure they leave knowing the most important selling points.

2. Your home is overpriced

Price is the single biggest reason your home isn’t selling. It’s common for estate agents to over-promise on what your home is worth to get you into a contract, and then reduce the listing price over time. According to Which? up to 1-in-3 homes sold in London are reduced by over 5 per cent of list price.

To get a realistic valuation, you can visit the Nested website and use our property valuation tool. Alternatively search Rightmove or Zoopla for recently sold similar homes. Comparing price per square foot is usually the best measure.

3. you need to depersonalise your home

If your home isn’t selling, you might need to go further and depersonalise it. Decluttering is the obvious way to do this. The ideal balance is a home that feels warm, welcoming and lived in. But put in too many personal touches and it might get in the way of someone visualising how they can make their own mark on the property.

Invite a friend round for some honest feedback and ensure you remove all bric-a-brac to create a more neutral environment. Less is definitely more.

4. You have a shoddy exterior

It’s a cliche but first impressions count. Home sellers often spend all their time tidying the inside of their home, whilst leaving the bins in a mess and the front garden unkempt. Does the gate catch? Fix it. Is the front door scruffy? Paint it. Even just buying a few brightly coloured plants from your local garden centre can make a world of difference.

Set aside a weekend to make small external improvements which deliver a big impact.

5. You’re marketing your property wrong

Almost all property searches start online so if your home isn’t getting much interest, it’s probably because of its advertising. Rightmove and Zoopla are the default of where to find a new home, and photos are often the only thing a prospective buyer looks at. You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention so excellent photography is crucial.

Declutter and ensure you are present when photos are taken to assess the rooms. Always request image approval before they are used online and in brochures.

If you’ve done all of the above and your home still isn’t selling, the only thing left to do is turn Private Eye.

6. Become an investigator

If you’re still not sure why your home isn’t selling, try mystery shopping. Ask a friend to call your estate agent and go through the process a normal buyer would. Ask questions about the property and even go on a viewing to make sure your agent is doing the best job of selling your home. And if they’re not, get rid of them and find an agent that will do your property justice.

Looking for a new home? City A.M. Homes & Interiors features London's hottest properties

Related articles