Can’t sell your house? Here’s 6 things you can do about it

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

Can't sell your house? Here's what to do | Couple smiling outside sold house UK

If you live in the UK and you’ve put your house on the market but it’s not selling as quickly as you expected, don’t panic. Being stuck with a house you can’t sell can be a highly stressful situation, particularly if you urgently need to relocate or if the property has become a financial drain. But whatever the reason why you can’t sell your house, there are several things you can do to take control of the situation. Here’s our list of six of the best options.

1. Lower your asking price

The number one reason why a house doesn't sell is because the price is too high. If there’s not much interest in your property, or you’re not getting offers close to what you are asking, you may need to lower your expectations about how much you can get for it.

The property market can have its ups and downs, across the UK as well as on a more local level, so pricing a house correctly isn’t always easy. Good estate agents should know the market well but unfortunately, their valuations can sometimes be unreliable. It’s possible they misjudged the demand, or it could be that they told you they’ll get a higher price for your property just to win your business. This is why it's a good idea to do some independent research into what your home is worth rather than taking their word for it. In either case, any valuation of your home is just a best estimate, and if your house isn’t selling, the market is telling you that buyers do not see your property as being good value for money.

If you are unable to drop the price because you need to cover your mortgage and/or other secured loans with the sale, you’ll find helpful advice in our guide to escaping negative equity.

2. Give your house a makeover

To stand the best chance of selling your property, it pays to make it appealing to as many people as possible. It's essential to have the house looking clean and tidy for viewings but sometimes that’s not enough. If it’s been on the market for a while and not getting much interest, to prevent the advert going stale, you might want to try taking it off the market for a little while and putting it back on as a fresh listing with a fabulous new look.

Giving your property a makeover doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg but can make a real difference to its marketability. This can be anything from repairing a broken fence, to a spot of painting and decorating. It helps to tone down any quirks and opt for neutral colours to create the feel of a blank canvas. This makes people feel like they could move in and make the place their own without too much effort. It may also be worth consulting with a professional property staging company to give your home that showroom feel.

Depending on your budget, you could go a step further and fit a brand new kitchen or bathroom. Spent wisely, a little refurbishment can increase the value of your house and improve the chances of it selling much quicker.

Once you’ve given your property a makeover, list it with a new set of photos and make sure you change the featured or lead picture so potential buyers don’t dismiss it as one they’ve seen before. Quality professional photos with good lighting can make a big difference here too. Remember, there’s no rule it has to be a photo of the front of the house, so show your home from its best angle, which could be from the rear or even inside, such as a spacious living room or kitchen.

3. Try a different estate agent

It might not be that your house is difficult to sell – the reason it’s sticking on the market could be down to your estate agent. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t doing all they can to sell it for you, they may be struggling to sell your house because you selected the wrong agent for your particular area or type of property. Try using GetAgent to compare the experience and track record of estate agents in your area.

Your first port of call should be to speak to your existing agent to let them know if you are not happy about the way your house is being marketed. You should also be prepared to listen to their feedback to see if there’s anything within your control that’s preventing the property from selling. If you’ve done this and you still think they aren’t doing a good job, you might want to look for someone else to sell it for you.

However, before switching estate agents, always check the small-print in your contract to make sure you’re not going to get caught out having to pay two lots of commission. Your existing agency may have a clause in your contract with them that entitles them to a fee if your house sells within a certain time period, or if they originally introduced the buyer – even if the sale goes through another agency.

If your existing agent has exclusivity for a period of time, unfortunately you may need to wait it out unless you can get it in writing that they will release you from it. If there is an introducer clause, you can ask them for a list of names of the people they have introduced so you can keep a record and give it to your new agent. Be up-front with your new agent and before instructing them, make sure it's clear who you’ll be paying a fee to if someone previously introduced becomes the buyer.

4. Sell your house in a different way

Did you know that you can sell a property in the UK without using an estate agent at all? Many of these options are often overlooked but can be more effective if you are having trouble selling your house.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages over a traditional sale, depending on your particular set of needs. So whether you need a guaranteed fast sale, want more control over the process, or need to make sure the sale price clears your mortgage, there are alternatives that can be worth exploring.

From private sale, to auction, to companies who can buy your property directly from you; we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of alternative ways to sell a house that don’t involve using an estate agent.

5. Rent your property out

A house that won’t sell can become an expensive financial burden, especially if you aren’t living there. Renting out your property to someone else is one possible way to cover the cost of your mortgage and other bills that you’d otherwise be stuck with after you’ve moved out. It can even be profitable in some cases.

However, there are important legal and moral obligations that come with being a landlord that shouldn't be taken lightly. You’ll have a duty of care towards your tenants, and that means making sure the property is well maintained so that it’s safe, secure, and fit for human habitation. Money (and time) should be set aside for this, as well as for the additional tax liabilities you may incur from your additional earnings.

If you can’t sell your property and plan to rent it out instead, we recommend that you read more about what’s really involved in renting out your home.

6. Postpone the sale

If you’re having difficulty finding a buyer for your home, you may want to reconsider whether you really need to sell it at this moment in time. If the property market has hit a bit of a slump and your need is not urgent, by postponing the sale for a few months or more, you may be able to re-list it at a time when market conditions have improved and you have a better chance of selling.

However, if you need to move home urgently, or the property is putting a strain on your finances, putting things off is not an option for you. Instead, review each of the five options above to see which of them will work best for your situation, and get moving.

If you would like to know more about how Betterplace can help you sell your home in a flexible way, please call us on 024 7736 0020 or fill out our quick contact form.

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