Published: 25/08/2021Despite the strongest market in a decade, with property selling faster than ever, there are still homes throughout the local area that have not sold.
If you've been on the market for some time, you could be wondering why on earth you don't have a buyer when demand is so high. With a backdrop of record-breaking prices, selling speeds and low supply, it's far easier for an agent to make a sale than to fail, so why is your home not under offer?
Whatever stage you're at, the good news is that however long you've been on the market, there's always a path to finding a buyer. It's simply a matter of asking the right questions then taking the right steps.
DOES YOUR MARKETING POP?
The vast majority of people will first encounter your home online, so the way it looks in photographs and how it sounds in the description are crucial to generating the correct enquiries.
When you look at your photographs, do they fill you with joy and make you fall in love with your home all over again? Your photography should capture all the best qualities by showing off the rooms, highlighting architectural details and celebrating the finer points with close-ups as well as whole-room shots.
Moving onto the description, does it sound like it's written by a real fan of your home and a true property expert, or does it read like a standard cut'n'paste estate agency blurb?
Words matter and, while your description doesn't have to be Shakespeare or Stephen Fry, it should be a compelling call to view that showcases everything your home offers now, to any further potential, to the unseen qualities that lie beyond the pictures.
Can you see room for improvement? If so, ask your agent if they're willing to take new photographs or amend your description to include whatever you feel is missing or to upgrade the enthusiasm and urgency.
IS YOUR PRICE TOO HIGH OR LOW?
It's the easiest thing in the world for your estate agent to call you after a couple of months and tell you that reducing your price will get you a sale.
Often that advice is true, but the story isn't always so cut and dried and down isn't the only way your price can go. There are plenty of homes that sell with a second agent for more money than their original asking price with the first.
Why would an under-priced property not sell? Aside from the photography and description, the enthusiasm of your agent will have a significant impact on your sale. Before agreeing to a hefty price reduction, review every aspect of your marketing and ask a friend to enquire about your home and tell you about their experience.
Once you've taken everything else into account, does the evidence suggest your price is too high? Setting the right asking price is key, but if you suspect your agent initially overvalued your home to win your business, you may not feel they deserve another chance. Perhaps it's time to use the company that quoted a more realistic figure in the first place.
WHAT DOES YOUR AGENT SAY?
Have an open conversation with your current agent to explore every possible reason why your home hasn't sold. Getting clarity can help you sow the beginnings of a new approach or provide a concrete story around what might be holding things up.
As well as reviewing all the feedback from every viewer, ask if those people made any subsequent comments. It's not unusual for buyers to make further remarks about previous viewings as their search for a home continues, but have their additional thoughts reached your ears?
Next up, it's worth doing some number-crunching. Ask your agent for the total number of enquiries about your home, then ask why they aren't converting into viewings. Knowing why people don't want to view your home is as valuable as the feedback from those who have.
Finally, does your agent have any thoughts on why your home hasn't sold? Has their original advice changed since you first instructed them, and does their current advice reflect similar homes that have sold nearby? If you feel misled in any way, clear the air to confirm or allay your suspicions.
IS YOUR HOME SET UP TO SELL?
The experience buyers have when they come to view your home is a crucial factor in whether they make an offer, so check if any presentation advice was forgotten. From odd jobs to clutter to styling, is anything not quite right?
Think back to when you first invited agents into your home. Although you only chose one, perhaps the advice from them or from others somehow got lost in all the commotion of getting your home ready for sale. Do you still have notes from their visits? Perhaps you'll find some valuable comments around optimising the way your home shows.
Little things like moving an armchair to create a clear sightline to a bay window or French doors can make a massive difference to the impression formed by a buyer. Spaces without purpose can leave viewers wondering how to use them, so give any unused rooms a clear role, even if it's just for show. And for any outstanding little jobs that never got done, finish them now.
Opinionated friends, relatives and neighbours can also offer priceless insight through a fresh pair of eyes. Ask them what they think would help your home look better in photographs and on viewings - they might have an idea you'd never think of yourself.
WHAT'S YOUR NEXT STEP?
Once you've built a complete picture of why your home isn't selling, you'll have all the information you need to make a decision on moving forward.
Do you feel your current agent has done a great job? If they've been at your side all along, kept you informed, given you useful advice and have a firm plan for the weeks ahead, you might wish to stay with them to see how things go. Alternatively, you may feel disappointed and want a fresh approach.
Did you have a clear second choice from when you first had agents round? Now is the time to get back in touch. If you'd prefer to invite some new blood in to see what they have to say, two good starting points are looking for sold boards near your home and checking the portals for the listings of local agents.
Follow that up with a visit to their websites to see how they present their properties: attention to detail around photography and descriptions shows an appreciation and talent for marketing, making a solid foundation for deciding who to invite into your home.
Whether you're starting a new strategy with your existing agent, or if you feel it's time to move on with a new selling partner, getting your price, marketing and presentation right is the magic combination to finding a buyer.
Looking for a fresh approach? We’d love to hear from you!
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