Struggling To Sell My House - Here Are Your Options

Written by Mathew McCorry

If you read my property blog now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will make you read it.

Have you had your house on the market for a period of time and become frustrated that it just isn’t selling? Putting your house up for sale is a stressful process, and struggling to sell your property is a common struggle.

It’s easy to become frustrated when your house is sitting on the market, as several months pass, bills consistently coming out your account, having to keep your property in immaculate condition for those potential viewings, it’s tough!

Not to worry, we’ve written a guide on struggling to sell, how long is too long, what you can do to get rid of the property, increase your chances of selling and the common pitfalls for you. Keep reading to find out more!

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How Long Does It Take To Sell a House?

One of the main reasons people get dejected with selling their home is that the time they expect it to take. If you’ve spoken to an estate agent before, just to get you on the books, they’ll make you believe that you’ll get sale in no time at all, and at a price higher than you expected, and although this sometimes happens, it’s not often the case.

In the UK, the average time you can expect to sell a house in any given year typically sits between the two to three month mark, although this varies wildly from area to area.

If you go onto the market with the expectation of it taking the longer end of that, three months, then you won’t be setting yourself up for disappointment. Everyone wants to have views and offers immediately after putting their home on the market, but it doesn’t always happen like that, so don’t get too disheartened straight away.

How Do I Get Rid of a House That Won’t Sell?

Now, it’s a different kettle of fish if you’ve been on the market months and you’ve just not seen any movement, very few visits and little sign of a sale on the horizon. Not everyone can wait forever when it comes to selling their property, so if you’re struggling to sell and need to speed up the process, how can you go about it?

Quick Sale Companies

One of the options that you have is companies like ours, a fast house sale alternative to the open market. Quick sale services can buy your house for cash in as little as 7 days. Whilst you’ll likely have to take a reduced amount, a lot of the costs are made up by the fact we cover your solicitors fees, you won’t have any estate agency costs and you’ll save considerably on bills due to the short duration.

Getting a quote is completely free, and it offers a stress and hassle free way of getting rid of your property quickly.


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Auction

Another option you have available is to go to auction. There not as scary as you may think, and auctions usually attract a different kind of buyer than you get from listing on popular property portals, so you’re exposing your property to a potentially new audience.

Part Exchange

This is only really applicable if you are planning on moving into a new build property as an onward purchase. New build companies, like Barratt Homes, Redrow or Persimmon for instance, all tend to offer a part exchange option, which means you can sell your house to them and get a new one in return, much like a car! In all honesty, we wouldn’t particularly suggest it, because part exchanging often results in a lower price than using a quick house sale company, many of them do in fact partner with cash buying companies.

Lower your asking price (again?)

This might not come as music to your ears, but another option you have is to simply lower your asking price and see if you get anymore interested. Most people seem to think that doing this will immediately mean a sale, but again, that isn’t always the case if demand is low in your area. Think long and hard before lowering it, because chances are if you do, you’ll get offered less at auction, part exchange or by a cash house buying company, reflective of the new perceived market value.

Convert the property to a Buy To Let

An alternative option that is a little bit out there! If the selling market in your area is a little bit stale, you might want to have a look at the rental market. You can often flip your mortgage, depending on your provider, to be a Buy to Let mortgage and rent your house out, whilst also earning a profit. This won’t work for everyone, as some people will need the equity out of their house for a deposit, but it could be seen as a temporary solution with moving into a rental property yourself until the market picks up again.

How Can I Increase My Chances of Selling My House?

Do none of those options quite work for you? There are still a few things that you might not have tried, which you can do in order to try and increase your chances of selling. Below we have detailed a few things you should look to do in order to increase your chances:

Highlight School Catchment Info

Now is the ideal time for parents of school children to be looking to move house. They want to be in, and settled, by the time the summer holidays are over and the new school term begins. If you’re in a decent catchment area where schools have an Ofsted-rating of “good” or “outstanding” then it’s worth mentioning this in your property ad description in order to entice motivated buyers.

Pitch Competitively

When you list your property on Rightmove it will sort properties in that area from highest to lowest price. If you pitch just below what your property is worth then it will pop it towards the top of the list, leading to more views. If several people see it and bid on it then you may end up getting at least the amount you wanted, if not more. The same can be achieved by pricing your property just below the next Stamp Duty band. More people will be interested in the property at the lower band price and this will generate competition, ultimately leading to you getting a better offer.

Offer an Incentive

Anything that will convince a buyer that they won’t need to spend a lot on the property when they move in will be a real sweetener when selling your home. Offering to include all white goods, any made-to-measure blinds or curtains and light fittings could save a buyer hundreds of pounds which they will see as a bonus. Anything that has been customised for that property will be of little use to the vendor in their onward house so might as well be included, especially if it encourages a sale.

Similarly, if you have space that could incorporate an extension at the property, it may be worth getting planning permission. This can add ‘hope value’ if buyers see the potential and want to buy into that. A lot of buyers like to think they can make their mark on a property they purchase and this enables them to do this if they have enough vision.

Add Some ‘Show Home’ Styling

De-cluttering, tidying and mending broken fixtures are all totally necessary and valid, but what about adding little touches that will enable a buyer to picture themselves living there? If you have a bit of budget to play with then why not ‘dress’ your property? Give it a show home vibe with scented candles, mirrors, accent walls and key pieces of furniture. Doing this will sell a lifestyle, as well as a property. Some buyers may want to offer higher than your asking price if you’re prepared to throw in the added extras.

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Use a Quick Cash Buyer

If you’re struggling to sell your property on the open market or you’ve just had a buyer pull out of the sale then a quick cash buyer might be an option. Maybe you have your eye on an onward property and don’t want to miss out on it or maybe you need to sell your house to pay for another investment. Whatever the reason, a quick cash buyer has money at the ready and can complete in a timescale to suit you. All legal fees will be included in the service so, although you’ll get less than the market value for your property, you’ll get a hassle-free sale and peace of mind.

Change Estate Agents

If you’re on the open market with an estate agent and it’s been a considerable amount of time without any viewings or interest, you might want to consider switching. You want to ensure that your estate agent is making the effort to increase your likelihood of a successful sale, they should be sending out emails to their database, drumming up interest with people who view similar properties, tweaking your description, taking extra photos, and doing whatever they can within their power to increase your property listing visibility. If they aren’t doing all this, and there’s little movement, consider an alternative, you could either run duel agents or switch completely.

What is The Most Common Reason A Home Fails To Sell?

We’ve gone through how to increase your chances of getting a sell, but what are the most common reasons that your home fails to sell? If you can’t sell your house, it might be time to reassess some of your options, here are just a few of the reasons we regularly see:

The price is too high

We touched on this in the article, and you should never be pressured by an estate agent to lower your asking price. You should always do your own research to determine whether you think it’s priced fairly or not. It can be hard, you might need to achieve a certain amount, or you might hold your house in high esteem compared to some of the others on the market, but when researching the market, and comparable property in your local area try and see it from someone else’s point of view.

Bad timing

Unfortunately the housing market isn’t always buoyant, it has times where it can be a little bit quiet and demand is lower. This is something that is out of your control, and a buyers’ market means that you will have far more competition for your property. You might want to assess alternative options like an auction or quick house sale company, or alternatively, wait it out or delist your property.

You’re not staging your house to sell

We know it’s hard, having to always keep your house in tip top condition, but it’s worth it and it will pay off! There’s nothing worse or as off putting as a buyer if you walk into a messy house, they want to be able to picture it as their own, as if they where living there.

This also applies to viewing etiquette, if you’re the one doing the viewings of course. You need to make sure that you don’t overwhelm them, be polite, answer their questions but let them explore the house at their own pace.

The photography isn’t cutting it

Photographs are the first port of call for any buyer, they need to be eye catching and their job is to get the buyer to enquire. You want to ensure that your photography looks professional, and this doesn’t mean taking it on your smartphones camera, there are several tricks professional photographers will use to make your house look that bit better in the photos, such as fish eye lenses which make the room look larger. If you’re house isn’t selling, try change or add more photos.

The estate agent

We’ve mentioned this repeatedly, so we won’t touch on it too much, but yes, they are one of the main reasons that you might be failing to sell your house. They might not be drumming up the business for you to get viewings, or when it comes to actually having the viewings, they might not be selling the property as well as you could.

Non-standard / unique property

If you live in a property that isn’t necessarily considered standard, or has some unique quirks, although you love them, others might be of a different opinion. Having a property with a non-standard construction, or just generally being unique, might make it more difficult to sell, and one of your best options here is often to go to auction.

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