What to Do If You’ve Been on the Market for a Long Time
You put your house on the market all enthused and excited about the prospect of the selling and moving on. But, if months down the line you’re still no closer to a sale, your enthusiasm is no doubt beginning to wane. How can you make sure your property captures buyers’ interest so that you can secure that elusive offer?
Maybe, all those months ago, you had a good spring clean and decluttered. But has some of the clutter crept back? Have you stopped making an effort? You really need to keep up the enthusiasm! Treat every viewing like it’s your first. Make sure your property is looking its absolute best each time, no matter how tedious you find cleaning and tidying. If you never bothered decluttering in the first place, DO IT! Presentation makes a huge difference to how potential buyers feel when they look around – they need to envisage themselves living there, and if they can’t see beyond your dirty dishes and piles of post they certainly won’t be getting a warm fuzzy feeling.
Listen to Feedback
Your agent should provide feedback from each and every viewing and, together, you can use this to build up a picture of what people think of your property. There will be some feedback that you can’t do much with – such as ‘it wasn’t for us’ (although your agent should press them for something a little more specific), then there will be feedback that you can’t do much about – such as ‘we wanted a south-facing garden’, but there will also be useful feedback and if there’s a recurring theme, you may spot something you can do to help. If people are commenting that the garden needs a lot of work, then get digging! If they’re saying the third bedroom is too small, have a look at the furniture or the way the room’s arranged. Is it overcrowded? Could you show the available space off in a better way?
It’s not worth investing large sums of money in refurbishments or improvements as it’s unlikely that you’ll recoup the costs, but it is worth spending a weekend decorating to make the property look more appealing. You may have grown fond of the 1970s wallpaper in the hallway but it could be putting buyers off! Invest a little time, effort and a few tins of paint and you could change that first impression for the better.
If you don’t think the photos your agent took are showing the property off, don’t be afraid to say. Ask them to take some more, or take some yourself, that look more inviting and appealing. If your photos were taken in the winter with Christmas decorations up and snow on the ground, refresh your property details with new ones now that the sun’s out and the garden’s in full bloom. If seasonal photos date the property details then potential buyers will know immediately that it’s been on the market for a long time, and could start to question why it hasn’t sold before even giving it a chance.
Your agent should be working to sell your property and, although they can’t wave a magic wand, they should be as keen as you are to make it happen. Have a discussion with them about why the property hasn’t sold, and what their ideas are to regenerate interest. They will have been through this many times before so should have strategies in place. If they seem distinctly lacking in enthusiasm or short on ideas, maybe they’re not right for you. Take to RightAgent to find a new agent who knows the area and has a proven track records of success (check your contract first to ensure you’re not tied in).
Review the Price
A price reduction isn’t ideal, as it can make buyers assume there’s something wrong – or it could get the sharks circling, looking for a bargain. Ideally, the price should have been pitched right in the first place, but sometimes a reduction is necessary – especially if the market has dropped or stagnated since you first put your property on. Again, take advice from your agent and, if you’re not tied in, ask for new valuations from others too. Use your own knowledge of similar local properties and check ‘price paid’ data on http://landregistry.data.gov.uk/ to see what they’ve sold for recently. If yours isn’t overpriced, don’t be bullied into reducing by an agent who doesn’t think the extra commission is worth the effort.
Published Mon 11th May 2020 - Last updated Tue 16th May 2017
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