Selling a home in the UK takes an average of 8-12 weeks depending on where you live, and some properties may sit on the market for much longer if a buyer cannot be found. The quicker you can sell your property, the less expense in the long run and the quicker you can move into your next home.
Many people find they have a lot of initial interest in their home which then drops off after a few weeks. Sometimes there is an obvious reason why buyers aren’t interested, which you need to address before you can sell successfully. Other times it may not be clear as to why people aren’t interested, and you may not get any feedback from those who decided to pass. If you’re still not sure, here are ten reasons why you may be struggling to drum up enough interest.
1. A negative first impression
The first impression potential buyers will have of your home is paramount, as it will heavily influence their mood as they enter your home. If it’s good, they’re likely to enter the property with a positive mind-set and therefore may be more likely to overlook the odd aspect they’re perhaps not so keen on. On the other hand, a negative impression is likely to do just the opposite.
Ensure the outside of your property is in good order and that any outside spaces have been cleared of any rubbish or overgrown plants and grass. Your windows and doors should be clean and in good working order. If you have damaged windows and doors, or if they’re very old or poorly fitted, this may put off potential buyers, particularly if they’re not keen on doing renovations and want a ready-to-go property to move into.
2. Low energy efficiency
If you have an older property, it may not be as energy efficient as newer builds. Older homes with single glazing and/or solid walls (rather than cavity walls, which can be filled with insulation) are likely to score low on the energy efficiency scale. This affects how much energy is needed to heat the home and therefore the household bills, which is likely to be a concern for buyers.
Making sure that your loft space is insulated (this can be done relatively easily and cheaply yourself with materials available from hardware stores) is something which many buyers will expect. For those with single glazing, replacing with double-glazed units is likely to help you sell your home faster, although this may not be possible for homes which are protected under certain planning laws. Check with your local authority so that you can relay this information to potential buyers. The more informed you are about potential concerns, the better.
3. Old or broken windows and doors
As mentioned above, older windows and doors are unlikely to be very efficient, and may also let in noise pollution, which can be off-putting in urban areas where traffic is heavier. Doors and windows which are not performing as they should may also exacerbate issues with mould or damp inside the home, which can be a huge turn-off for buyers.
If you can’t afford to replace all old doors and windows, simply updating your front door before putting your home on the market can make a big difference to the efficiency and outer appearance of your home, and may well raise its valuation through better looks, heightened security and heat retention.
4. Cluttered spaces
If you have lived in your home for some time, it’s likely that you will have accumulated a number of possessions over the years. Your home may look clean and tidy to your eyes, but when there are a lot of belongings and furniture present, rooms are likely to look much smaller. If you can, sort through everything before inviting viewings and get rid of anything you don’t plan to take with you when you move. This way, you’ll have fewer things to pack up and find a home for, and you can ensure your home looks tidy.
Use storage boxes and stow them in an attic or under the beds to create some room. You could even hire some space at a storage facility while you are in the process of selling. Keep surfaces as clear as possible and then consider the arrangement of your furniture — it may be set up the way you like it, but is it making the most of the room?
5. Poor photographs
It’s likely that your chosen estate agent has come in to take some photographs of the interior of your home, which will appear in their marketing material and also on websites which will list your home for sale. These images will be the deciding factor for many people as to whether they book a viewing or not, so they should show your home in a good light.
If the pictures are of poor quality, were taken on a dreary day, or do not cover enough of the home to give an interested party a good idea of the general condition and layout, you may not get many requests for viewing.
If you’re unhappy with the photographs of your home, you can request that they are retaken. If you have some good images of your home which you have taken and have full permission to use, your estate agency should be happy to use these at your request.
6. Sub-par bathroom
The bathroom is part of the home we spend very little time in, relatively speaking, but it’s one of the most important rooms where a buyer is concerned. If the bathroom is outdated or dirty, this can really put off someone who may like the rest of your home. A new bathroom, or even one which has had a decent makeover, can add 2.88 percent onto the value of the home. For example, if you are selling for £200,000, this means that you can add around £5750 to the final value.
7. Damp and condensation
If your home suffers from damp and condensation — and perhaps as a result of this, mildew and mould — it’s wise to try and get on top of the issue before putting your home on the market. If you have condensation on the inside of your windows, make sure that the ventilation is improved, and if you can, dry clothes outside and open windows when cooking and showering to prevent the build-up of water vapour within the home.
You may find that parts of your home which are in shade a lot of the time have more mould and damp issues than south-facing, more exposed rooms. Overhanging foliage and large trees can block out a lot of sunlight, which is what you need for rooms like this, so it’s worth looking into whether you can have these chopped back to maximise exposure. Having your gutters cleared regularly can also help with damp problems, so aim to have this done before inviting viewings.
8. Unsuitable estate agent
While most estate agents do their jobs well, you may find that the one you have chosen is not working for you and your property. Estate agencies will have their strengths and weaknesses, and the key is to pick one which has your best interests at heart and who is on the same page when it comes to what you want to get out of the deal.
Keep an eye on what your agency is doing for you and question anything which you’re unsure about. If you feel that you’re not getting what you expected, you are fully within your rights to change to someone else, or even get another company on board to help sell your home. When you have multiple agencies helping to sell your home, you’ll only pay commission to the one who introduced you to the buyer, rather than to all of them, so make the most of having this choice if you feel it’s right for you.
9. Visible pets
Just under half of all households in the UK have a pet, and although animals are loved by many, they can be an off-putting aspect of your home. When you have viewings, try to keep your pets away, perhaps by leaving them with a neighbour or having a friend take them for a couple of hours. Someone who is allergic or afraid of cats and dogs may be greeted with something they find very unpleasant when entering your home, which is not the impression you should be going for.
Similarly, you may no longer notice the way your pets smell, but strangers to your home could notice the odour, particularly if they aren’t used to it. This can be very off-putting, so ensure all areas are clean, bring in some fresh flowers and open the windows to mask any unwanted scents. If you can, have something baking in the oven when viewers arrive — such as bread or cakes — as this can make the property feel homelier, while masking other smells.
10. Lack of natural light
A lack of natural, decent lighting can make a home feel much smaller inside than it really is, and may exacerbate damp and mould issues, as mentioned above. Where possible, keep furniture and curtains away from the windows to maximise the light entering the home.
Large mirrors can help to reflect light and make a room look bigger, so consider buying some for smaller, more light-deprived rooms. Pale colours for the walls, such as white or cream, can go a long way when it comes to brightening a room and are usually relatively inexpensive shades to buy. Similarly, your ceilings should be painted white or at least a very pale colour, as this can really lift a room and ensure a more even distribution of light.
If your home is not selling and it’s been some time, it’s always worth asking your estate agency to collect more info from viewers as to why they are not interested. This can help you to see if there’s a common theme or pattern. If not, it may just be that your ideal buyer has yet to come along. It may also be useful to ask for the honest opinions of trusted friends and family members, as there may be something that you have missed simply by being so familiar with your space.