Posted by Vivo_Team on April 30th, 2020

What to do if you can’t sell your house: causes and solutions

As our UK-wide survey revealed, selling your house is one of life’s most stressful events and was ranked even higher than having a baby or getting married! Often, you feel emotionally connected to your home and if you’re not finding offers flooding in for it, it can be easy to take it quite personally. If you feel that you just can’t sell your house, take heart as you’re not alone. It’s a common occurrence and happens for a multitude of reasons. You may want to sell your house quickly due to relocation or perhaps you’re struggling to sell an inherited property, finding yourself stuck on the open market. In some cases, people become accidental landlords – renting out their property as they’ve been unable to sell. Here we look at the most common reasons why you can’t sell your home, from not appealing to your target buyers to issues with the open market itself, and what you can do to make the exchange day a reality!

1. Seasonality is important

The time of year that you put your house on the market can have a big impact on whether you’re able to sell it quickly. To give yourself the best chance of a swift turnaround, it’s important that you put your house up for sale at a time where there are lots of people looking to buy. School summer holidays are a difficult time to sell as buyers are unable to commit to the process due to family and holiday arrangements.

What to do if you can’t sell your house due to seasonality

The obvious answer is to wait till the appropriate season arrives. Springtime is considered to be the best time to sell a house fast as it is normally linked to an increase in demand. However, if waiting is not an option, think of the things you love about your house in each season and make sure this is reflected in online property portals and during house views. For more information on the best time of year to sell, read our guide here.

2. Is your asking price putting people off?

Another key reason why you may not have sold your house yet is due to your asking price. While everyone wants to secure the best price possible for their property, your price may be dissuading buyers from furthering their interest in your home.

What to do if your asking price is stopping you from selling

First of all, make sure that your asking price is reasonable. We recommend that you look at data for similar houses sold in your area to price your house fairly and correctly. Ultimately a true judge for how much your house is worth lies in what a buyer is willing to pay for it.
With the correct asking price, your negotiating approach could be sabotaging a successful house sale. Don’t abruptly reject offers for your home that are below your desired price. Often buyers may start low, but ensure you politely decline the offer and make a counteroffer. Consider the buyers’ position and then decide what your minimum price is. For a cash buyer, for example, you may be happy to accept a slightly lower price as it should be a speedier sale. Your counter offer should be slightly higher than what you are willing to accept. If the buyers have a serious interest in your property they may come back with an offer close to or the same as your counteroffer. However, holding out for the highest price can often cost you money in the long term with council tax and utility bills.


3. I can’t sell my house (online)

With the rise of selling online, people will often first see your home on a property website or app. There are benefits to this approach, for example, the breadth of properties that are available to view can really help yours stand out from the crowd if marketed well. However, this could also work against you as users can see the length of time a property has been listed, which may have a damaging effect if it’s longer than average. In addition, a primary issue that stops awareness of your listing turning into interest is the photos of your property. Ensure that they are professionally taken (not blurry) and the rooms are well presented – no clutter or outdated Christmas decorations. Poor photography can often terminate a house sale before it has even begun.
Unattractive pink bathroom puts buyers off buying your home

How to have a house-selling online profile

The key to having a profile in a property portal that sells is to always keep the buyer in mind. From the text to the images, you should consider what you are communicating to the potential buyer. Profiles that look clean and provide all the relevant and useful information in a concise way will be easily digested by the readers, and if they are paired with professional and attractive pictures you’ll have a winning combination. There are plenty of tips on the internet and specialised photographers that can help you make your profile standout. Even if you are not the person in charge of your profile, you can always look up your property on the internet and give your agent some feedback!

4. Providing a poor staging experience

Do you get house views that don’t result in any further interest? A poor viewing experience (from the buyer’s perspective) can ruin chances of selling your home. Factors such as over-excitable pets, messy children’s bedrooms and cluttered gardens can instantly turn off a viewer, so make sure your house is presented for the person buying.

How to improve your staging experience

Try to help people imagine themselves living there and emphasise the potential of the property. Remember, prospective buyers aren’t judges of how you’ve made this house a ‘home’, they want to see what they could do with the space! Over personalisation of the property is a big turn off – prior to reaching the viewing stage look to decorate your room in a neutral way. Quirky chairs may not be for everyone:

Deck chairs in living room not appealing to homebuyers

5. Is your property out of fashion?

Outdated decor means you can't sell your house

Another potential reason that your property may not be receiving offers is that it is simply out of fashion. Property trends fluctuate and features that were once popular when your house was built or refurbished may be now undesirable. Some of the most common outdated features are wood panelling (very 80s), dark, brooding kitchens (light and airy kitchens are currently on-trend), pebble dash exterior walls or adjoining bedrooms for families. In addition, situational aspects such as the location’s attractiveness change with times. The increase in technology now plays a part in your house’s ‘worth’ – consider whether your area has poor 4G coverage, or ability to receive high-speed internet. Perhaps the Ofsted rating of your nearby school has fallen foul and is no longer an attractive place for those relocating to raise a family. Remember people are looking for the ideal ‘whole package’.  With this in mind, you will need to consider the above when setting an asking price for the property as it will have­ an impact of its value.

What to do if you have can’t sell an old fashioned house

Depending on the extent to which the unfashionable elements are embedded into the house, refurbishing could help you to not only make your property more attractive but also raise its value. But it’s not always necessary to go to that extreme, old-fashioned properties can be turned around into quirky or houses full of charm with some minor changes. You can get some inspiration from design magazines and give your house a new feel.

Old fashioned living room not appealing to modern house buyers

6. The property chain is against you

Turning the focus away from just your house, the open market is a common reason why you can’t sell your home – and often it has nothing to do with you! As we have discussed before, having a broken property chain can stall the progress of your sale. A potential house purchase on the chain may have hit a snag or completely fallen through, which can delay or totally derail your sale. Perhaps your buyer’s buyer pulled out due to a structural issue raised in the survey or an agreed sale down the line was gazumped (a seller accepting a higher offer elsewhere). Situational instances such as divorce or illness can impact everyone involved in the property chain, so there really are no guarantees until you’ve exchanged.

What to do if your house falls through

If you are tired of having your house fall through and you want to sell your house fast, you can try a fast property buyer. Vivo buy houses in 14 days but, more importantly, once you accept our formal offer, the house sale is secure. This means that you can feel safe that you have finally sold your house and there will be no more surprises. Learn more about what to do if your house falls through here 

7. Buyers are unable to secure the necessary finances

Your buyer’s ability to secure the necessary finance to purchase a property is another reason why you may be struggling to sell your home. Depending on your property type and situation, you may be selling to a first-time buyer and with the downturn in the economy, securing a mortgage is more challenging than 10-15 years ago.

The easiest way to ensure this doesn’t happen

To avoid the pain of a house sale falling through, accepting offers from ‘pre-approved’ buyers is the best chance to see a successful sale.

8. People change their minds – frequently!

One of the biggest (final) hurdles is the concept of buyer’s remorse which is said to affect over 50% of all house sales! Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases in a person’s life and often homeowners will get cold feet which can result in them withdrawing from the sale. Maybe they feel that they need a bigger house or are unsure about the area they’re moving to. Sometimes this hesitancy leads to gazundering and they offer a lower amount than previously agreed.

Be firm to stop this from happening

Make sure your buyer is aware that you are not open for a price reduction and that if they are unable to proceed at the agreed price, the property will go back on the open market.

I still can’t sell my house – what are my options?

Option 1

Sell to fast property buyers

Fast property buyers offer a price below the market in return of a speedy house sale. This option is particularly attractive because most of the reasons why you aren’t being able to sell your house will not affect fast property buyers. See how Vivo can help you sell your house in 14 days securely.

Option 2

Consider putting your house for rent

The market doesn’t seem to want you to sell your house, maybe you should rethink your strategy and find tenants that will provide you a reliable source of income. Although you’ll need to rearrange some plans, this option could stop your house from being a financial burden and you will always have the chance of putting it for sale in a better moment. Take a look at our guide on becoming an accidental landlord

Option 3

Lease your property

Consider it a soft house sale. Some buyers have problems making up their minds and this can be a way of getting their foot on your door! Generally, it will also mean the tenants will pay a higher than average rent to have the option of buying the house at the end.

Vivo can help

Struggling to sell your house can be a particularly unpleasant experience, especially if your plans are on hold until you have sold. At Vivo, we understand what a difficult situation this can be. Vivo was established to offer an alternative to an open market sale; a guaranteed fast sale, removing any insecurities which go hand in hand with an open market sale.

As specialist fast property buyers, many of the aforementioned circumstances do not apply and we’d be happy to see if we can help you in your situation. Firstly, Vivo Property Buyers buy property in any condition and because we’re chain-free, this means that we’re proceedable! Once you have accepted our final offer, your house sale is guaranteed with no last-minute changes. Our flexible approach to home buying means that you can stay in your property for an agreed time after the sale so that you can organise your next move in your own time, stress-free.

If you’d like to find out more about our service, please call us on our free-phone number or fill out our quick form below.

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Vivo Property Buyers is the trading name for Potrell London Ltd, The Ashridge Business Centre 121 High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 2DJ.

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