You’ve put your place on the market but months later you still haven’t had any offers and you can’t figure out why it hasn’t sold. Unfortunately, it’s an all too common story in the London market. We’ve come up with a list of what (at least in our opinion) are some of the main reasons some properties sit on the market longer than they should.
We know, we know – this is the obvious one! An unrealistic asking price will often be why a property fails to get traction early, if at all. This can be caused by a lack of communication from the agent due to a fear of losing the business on the price they quoted, picking a price based on what the neighbour sold for when the two properties aren’t really comparable or sudden changes to the market such as elections (or Brexit!), rate rises or changes to tax laws/zoning.
“Just because a similar home sold for a certain amount three months ago doesn’t mean that your property is worth the same,” says Sam Hunter our head of sales at Key Property. “The market is constantly changing and three months is a quarter of a year. Especially in the market we see now, most sellers and their agents reduce prices to meet the market too late and end up chasing the market down. This normally results in a lower sale price than a vendor who responds to the market.”
Advertising the highest price in the area won’t necessarily attract the best buyer. But advertising a price guide that is in line with market expectations will encourage more buyers and actually provide some competition between buyers when they all show up to view. A thought-through asking price and the natural competition it generates is a sellers best friend.
2. Noisy locations
Too much noise nearby tends to be a reason for potential buyers not to even view. “A property situated on a train line or a major car thoroughfare with heavy traffic and a shopping strip can present a selling challenge as people have a preconceived idea that it will be noisy,” says Sam.
Sam says he always recommends to vendors and local developers that they install double-glazed windows and invest in thick, quality doors to block out the sound. This shows potential buyers when they come to visit the home that there is a long-term solution to manage the noise and that the home is in fact comfortable to live in.
“Poorly presented, under or partly renovated properties or properties needing repairs can deter buyers,” says Sam.
With the younger generation of buyers purchasing a bigger proportion of the properties each year, you need to tailor your sale to them. The internet is the biggest source of buyer enquiries but there is always a sea of properties online at any time so you must ensure yours stands out.
Where possible a coat of paint and a good clean always helps but also inquire into getting a stylist through to help you with your presentation or to fully furnish vacant properties to give it that wow factor.
4. Poor Communal areas
First impressions count. Most buyers will get a feeling for life at your property from the moment they enter the building. If there’s old carpet, lights not working, a smell of damp or front door is hanging off its hinges, most buyers will have made they minds up before we get to the door of the flat. First impressions last.”
If you can’t do it yourself, hire a handyman to tidy the front of the property and communals, it’s money and time well spent.
5. Building works in the neighbourhood
Building works commencing in the street during the marketing campaign or neighbouring properties under construction will definitely put off buyers.
I know it’s not always possible but it helps to do your research to find out what building works are coming up and when and try to time your sale to avoid the disruption.
6. Over supply
Too many similar properties for sale in the area will affect the speed of your sale, and may even affect the price when you do sell.
While this is beyond the control of home sellers, if you are in a position to hold off putting your property on the market until there is less competition, it is worth considering. Otherwise, speak to your agent about ways you can set your house apart from the pack.
7. Poor marketing
You need a strong marketing campaign to reach every potential buyer and achieve a successful sale. Don’t do your own marketing or settle for photos that portray your property in an unflattering way.
Make sure you have professional photographs taken of the property and a property video highlighting the key (pardon the pun!) selling points. Make sure your agent markets your home through all avenues. At Key Property we use several marketing avenues from print to social media as well as the major websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla and market your home directly to our database of clients to make sure we’re casting the net as wide as possible.
8. Choice of agent
Sometimes it isn’t your home that is the problem, it’s the agent. A good agent will give you a realistic price with comparable sales to back them up, handle all the marketing to ensure the property is presented in the best light and you should have a sale in a reasonable amount of time. A good agent will also build rapport with the buyers and know who the serious candidates are. However there are cheap agents out there and like everything in life, you get what you pay for.
When you are selecting your agent, don’t necessarily go for the cheapest or the most expensive, go for the best. The one who you feel will do the best thing by you. I have seen a lot of people lose tens of thousands of dollars on a sale price just in order to save a couple of thousand on commission.
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