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House Selling Situations & Why Your Home Is Not Selling

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Do you have your home on the open market, and are wondering why your home won't sell? How houses not selling in your area could affect your house sale? Or, how selling a house with problems could be achieved?

Well you're definitely in the right place! On this page we will cover all things ‘houses not selling’, including market trends, how you can sell your house on the open market and what to do when your home won't sell.

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How many house sales fall through 2023?

It has long been known in the house selling industry that roughly one third of house sales fall through. But in the busiest house selling season and best time to sell (July-September), just over 27% of house sales collapsed in 2023. 

Reasons for the house sales falling through in 2023 differs but over 58% of the failed sales were due to buyers changing their minds or getting cold feet. 25% of the failed sales were due to chain breaks and over 8% of the failed sales collapsed before mortgage approval.

One of the issues which had plagued the housing market in 2023 was the fluctuation in mortgage interest rates, particularly in June and July, which led to higher monthly repayments. As a result, some buyers began to withdraw their offers due to affordability concerns. 

Unfortunately, a problem we see time and again is in slower housing markets, a single sale falling through can impact entire property chains, as finding replacement buyers quickly is more challenging – but not impossible (cough, cough, us). 

How many house sales will fall through in 2024?

While we cannot give you a fool proof answer, we can expect that the housing market trend of one third will remain strong over the next year. 

This is partly because around 60% of all property transactions are through estate agents, auction houses or private sales, all routes which can facilitate higher risk towards house sales falling through. 

The strength of cash buying in the housing market is growing, in 2019 the amount of house sales via cash buyers was around 28%, in 2023 however, it was just over 38%. So this may account for some stabilisation from guaranteed house sales. 

We generally find that most buyers, even if they are generally well-prepared and motivated, still remain cautious, as market confidence still remains uncertain.

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We've written several guides in order to help you navigate the process of selling your home, from auctions to chain breaks, we can help.

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If you would rather read about the usual house selling process, please read below as we go through the standard “ on the market” selling process.

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How do you prepare your home for sale?

When preparing your home for sale, house staging can play an important role in attracting potential buyers. Staging involves decluttering, depersonalising and arranging furniture to showcase your home’s best features. 

It’s about creating an inviting atmosphere that allows buyers to envision themselves living in the space. Simple touches like fresh flowers, neutral paint colours and adequate lighting can make a significant difference. 

Something to always remember is, first impressions count, so curb appeal is equally important. Ensure the exterior of your home is tidy, the garden is well-kept and the front door isn’t falling apart. 

There are home staging companies out there, but, homes staging professionals are in demand due to houses not selling as fast as they used to. We would recommend contacting one of these companies as soon as you want to get the house onto the market. 

You may also wish to address minor repairs before listing the property. This could include fixing leaky taps, replacing broken tiles or amending any cosmetic damage. These repairs might seem minor, but they can be red flags to prospective buyers, suggesting potential neglect. 

A home in good repair usually translates to a smoother sale process and can positively impact the final selling price. However, this isn’t always the case. 

If you have a run down property, you may want to consider selling to a cash house buyer like us! We will buy any property in any location, as long as it has the potential to be renovated. 

How do you set the right asking price?

The first thing you need to do when putting your house on the market, is try to get a good understanding of your local housing market. This can be achieved by researching recent sales of similar properties in your area to gauge market trends. 

If you notice that houses not selling in your local area, then this may be an indication that the area is in low demand, and that the prices are too high. 

You may want to consider factors such as location, property size and unique house features. Being informed on the market around you helps to set a realistic and competitive price. 

The next thing you will need to do is outreach to three different estate agents and ask for house valuations, then create an average of the three valuations. This should give you a mark in which to base your asking price off.

Your pricing strategy should balance attractiveness to buyers with your desired return on investment. An overpriced home can deter potential buyers, while underpricing might result in a faster sale but lower profits. 

Sometimes, pricing slightly below market value can generate more interest, potentially leading to bidding wars. You can collaborate with your estate agent to determine the best strategy based on market conditions and your personal circumstances. 

What’s the best way to market your home?

In today’s digital world, most property searches begin online - in fact, over 60% of all property listings are online using Rightmove, Zoopla or OnTheMarket. 

High quality, professional estate agent photographs are vital in capturing the interest of potential buyers. Ensure your listing includes plenty of images showcasing both the interior and exterior of our home. 

Your estate agent should be able to provide you with a compelling property description that highlights the key features and selling points of the property. 

One way that estate agents can excel when marketing your home is through open houses and private showings. These are opportunities to make a direct impression on potential buyers. Ensure your home is clean, tidy and well-presented. Be flexible with viewing times to accommodate as many interested parties as possible. 

Your estate agent should be able to handle these showings, and offer professional insights to potential buyers. 

How do you handle house offers?

When you start receiving offers, evaluate them carefully. Consider not just the price but also the buyer’s position. Are they part of a chain? Do they have mortgage pre-approval?

Your estate agent should handle the negotiations for you, while helping you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each offer. 

Clean communication is essential throughout the entire negotiation process. Misunderstandings can lead to sales falling through or unnecessary delays. Keep open lines of communication with your estate agent and potential buyers to ensure all parties are aligned on terms and expectations. 

Once you accept an offer, the conveyancing process begins. This involves legally transferring the property ownership from you to the buyer. It’s a complicated process that includes handling contracts, dealing with the Land Registry and transferring funds. 

Hiring a competent conveyancer or solicitor to manage this process can streamline this period of the house sale. They will guide you through each step, ensuring legal compliance and addressing any issues that may arise. 

Unfortunately, as you are selling on the open market, you will most likely need to pay for your solicitor and estate agent fees, which can amount to 3%+VAT of your final house selling price. There are services available which will cover all the fees associated with selling your house (like us), so it's important to keep an open mind. 

What do you do when houses not selling?

If you are selling your house on the open market, and wondering why your houses not selling then there are a few things you can do. 

You may want to speak to your estate agent and see if your property is too overpriced within your area, or if there are any things you can do to improve the online listing. You may need to carry out new estate agent photography or improve the listing copy. 

If you have a budget, you may be able to push your online listing across the Rightmove and Zoopla platforms with paid advertising.

If this still isn’t gathering enough attention for your property, then you could sell your house through a cash house buyer like us. We operate on a Below Market Value purchasing model, but you will benefit from a very fast speed of sale (and we will cover your solicitor fees).

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What’s the best way to sell a house with problems?

When selling a house with problems, whether they are structural issues, cosmetic features or location problems, you will need a solid strategy in order to attract the right potential buyers and secure a successful sale while avoiding the risk of the house sale falling through.

The first thing you will need to do is get a RICS survey conducted on the property. This will provide you with a thorough assessment of the property to identify all the existing problems, both obvious and hidden. 

Where you can, you should attempt to follow the measures provided from the RICS survey in order to ensure the property is habitable. Obviously, how much you do will depend on what price point and return on investment you are looking for. 

You could fix major issues that could be deal-breakers for buyers such as internal plumbing, roofing or electrical problems. 

In an ideal world, you would ‘fix’ your house with defects and then put it on the open market and get full market value for the property. However, we understand that people have time and budget constraints, which means that sometimes work on properties falls by the wayside.

If you fall into this category, worry not! We will buy your property as is, in any location, in as little as seven days. We can do this because we have our own cash reserves at the ready in order to purchase properties with problems or defects. 

Why is selling a house with defects to a cash buyer often the best route to sell?

Selling a house with problems to a cash buyer can often be the best route, especially if your home isn’t selling in the conventional market. When a house is not selling due to defects or other issues, it can stay on the market for a long time and actually end up costing you in utility bills and council tax.

The reasons why your house isn’t selling could be numerous - from being stuck on the market due to unrealistic pricing, being in a location where the average time to sell is high, or simply because the house may not be presented in the best light. 

In such a scenario, even a competent estate agent may struggle to secure a buyer, and the property might end up sitting on the market for months, if not longer.

Cash house buyers offer a solution to this dilemma. We specialise in buying properties that may be struggling to sell in the current housing market. Whether it’s because the house has been on the market for so long, due to market conditions that are not favourable, or because the property is overvalued, we offer a fast sale option.

By choosing to sell your house fast to a cash buyer like us, you can avoid the prolonged uncertainty of when and how your house will sell. We streamline the selling process, making it easy for people to move on from properties that have been on the market for months.

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Why are houses not selling at the moment?

Houses not selling are causing distress among many homeowners and potential sellers.

According to Zoopla, one of the UK’s leading property listing platforms, there are several reasons why some houses might not be selling as quickly or as frequently as in previous years. 

Here’s an analysis of the key factors contributing to this trend:

Shift in house price inflation

The UK has experienced a shift from a high annual house price growth of +7.2% in November 2022 to a decrease of -1.1% by November 2023. This slowdown in price growth can lead to caution among both buyers and sellers, impacting the number of houses being sold.

Market sentiment and demand fluctuations

While market sentiment is improving with a 17% increase in new sales and 19% higher demand compared to the previous year, this recovery is still in its early stages. Buyers and sellers may still be adjusting to the new market realities. 

Higher mortgage rates in 2023 have made affordability a significant issue for many buyers, particularly those dependent on mortgages.

Regulatory and economic factors

Stricter mortgage affordability testing introduced in 2015 has limited overvaluation in the housing market and controlled buying power. This regulatory environment, while preventing excessive debt, also constrains the ability of new buyers to enter the market. 

Strong labour markets and rapid earnings growth have provided some support to the housing market. However, this might be enough to offset the challenges posed by higher mortgage rates and overall economic uncertainty.

Changing buyer dynamics

First-time buyers, making up 40% of would be movers and upsizers are significant in the market. Their activities are heavily influenced by the current economic conditions, including rent dynamics and mortgage affordability. 

A notable trend is the movement of buyers, especially in Southern England, seeking better value for money by moving over longer distances. This shift in buyer preferences can affect local markets differently.

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What is the most common reason house sales fall through?

The reasons for house sales falling through can be multifaceted, reflecting the complexity and sensitivity of the property market. Below are some of the most common factors contributing to failed property transactions:

Market sensitivity to mortgage rates

The property market is particularly sensitive to mortgage interest rates. Even minor changes in these rates can significantly affect buyer affordability and confidence, leading to hesitancy or withdrawal from transactions. 

Prolonged periods of fluctuating or high mortgage rates create an environment of uncertainty, causing both buyers and sellers to reconsider or delay their decisions. 

Financing and mortgage challenges

The process of qualifying for a mortgage has become more stringent. Buyers who struggle to secure mortgage approval due to financial constraints or changing economic conditions may have to withdraw from a purchase. 

Buyers and sellers must be aware of the financial risks involved, particularly in unstable economic periods, and should work closely with financial advisors and lenders to understand and mitigate these risks. 

Legal and title complications

Issues with a property’s title can arise during the conveyancing process, leading to delays or cancellations of sales. These can include disputes over boundaries, rights of way, or prior claims on the property. 

Resolving legal issues, ensuring compliance with property laws, and addressing any anomalies in the title or documentation can be time-consuming and complicated, sometimes causing deals to fall through. 

Buyer habits

Today’s buyers are more cautious and deliberate in their decision marketing process. This shift towards a buyer-focused market emphasises the importance of financial readiness and optimal market timing. 

Buyers are also increasingly prioritising value for money and are willing to delay purchases until they find a property that meets their finance and lifestyle needs. 

Chain fragility

The property market operates on a chain of transactions, where the sale of one property often depends on the sale of another. This interconnected nature makes the market vulnerable to chain breaks, especially in slower markets. 

Houses not selling quickly also affects the entire housing supply chain as a single failed sale within a chain can trigger a series of collapses, leading to multiple failed transactions. 

Surveyor issues

Conducting surveys before listing a property can identify potential issues that might derail a sale later. Addressing these issues proactively can prevent surprises and disagreements during the negotiation phase. 

Sometimes, unexpected uses revealed by a survey can lead to renegotiation or withdrawal by the buyer, especially if significant repairs or legal complications are involved.

How many house sales fall through after an offer is accepted?

According to a survey conducted by Home Selling Expert, which included 305 individuals who have sold or attempted to sell their homes, it was found 31% of all house sales fall through at least once before completion. 

This figure provides a broad overview of the rate at which sales fault to complete after an initial agreement has been made. 

In another survey conducted by House Buyer Bureau, one in five sellers, or 20%, have been gazundered over a 6 month period. This means that 20% of sellers had experienced a situation where a buyer submitted a lower offer than previously accepted before the sale competed. 

Among those who were gazundered, 73% accepted the lower offer. While this doesn’t directly contribute to the house sale fall through rate, it does highlight the frequency of renegotiated deals. 

Importantly, of those who did not accept the lower offer, 34% saw their sale collapse. This figure specifically relates to sales falling through after an offer is revised downwards and not accepted. 

The 31% figure from Home Selling Expert gives an overall indication of the proportion of house sales that don’t reach completion for various reasons, including but not limited to gazundering. 

The data from House Buyer bureau sheds light on a particular circumstance - gazundering - and its outcomes. Specifically, it suggests that when gazundering occurs and the lower offer is rejected, there is a 34% chance the sale will fall through. 

Why is it so hard to sell your house?

One of the reasons why it might be hard to sell your house is because you are in a buyer’s market. In a seller’s market, demand exceeds supply, giving sellers the upper hand. Homes often sell quickly and prices tend to be higher. 

But, in a buyer’s market, there’s an abundance of properties available, giving buyers more choice and negotiating power, often leading to lower prices and longer sale times. In a buyer’s market, houses not selling quickly are often expected. 

Understanding the current market trends could make the difference between selling fast and selling in 2 years time. As a house seller you should be able to adapt your strategy according to these conditions and possibly adjust your expectations in terms of sale price to decrease your time on market. 

Selling a house can be hard, and is influenced by many different factors. From fluctuating market conditions to the type of property you own. But, it doesn’t have to be hard! If you want to sell your house fast, for free, and effortlessly, then why not sell to us?

We are a leading cash buyer who has helped thousands of homeowners sell their house over the years. We will cover all the fees usually associated with selling your house, including your solicitor fees! Honestly, our service is completely free and we will do everything in our power to ensure you are kept satisfied with our services.

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