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UK Homeowner Advice For Selling Your House Fast

By Ben Kennish

Help! I’m Stuck with a House I Can’t Sell. How Do I Get Rid of a House that Won’t Sell (in the UK)?

Help! I’m Stuck with a House I Can’t Sell. How Do I Get Rid of a House that Won’t Sell in the UK?

stuck with a house that wont sell

There is undoubtedly an abundance of information online about how to sell your property, and do it quickly – and yet, a situation that’s rarely discussed, is one where a homeowner is quite literally stuck with a house that won’t seem to sell.

Today, we’re going to be taking a look at what your options are if you’re stuck with a house that you can’t sell in the UK.

What are the Main Reasons Why a Property Won’t Sell?

Before delving into what you can do should you find yourself in this scenario, it makes sense to take a look at what the main reasons are as to why a property won’t sell.

  1. The Asking Price is All Wrong

Without doubt, one of the biggest reasons that property doesn’t sell in the UK, is because they’re up for an unrealistic asking price:

  • It’s a rule in the world of real estate that if an agent overvalues your property and puts it on the market, that it’s unlikely to sell.
  • In order to sell your home, you have to attract potential buyers to view your home. Without viewings, you won’t sell, and that’s a given. If a property is overpriced, the chances of getting a good amount, or any number of viewings at all is slim.
  • It’s a mistake that’s made by homeowners all over the country.
  • If people are selling a property as well as buying one, it’s quite often the case that they feel pressure to achieve the asking price in order to pay off their mortgage and also have a deposit left over for their new home – but the market doesn’t actually work like this.
  • Potential buyers do not buy property depending on what the seller or estate agent want. They’ll only pay what they think the property is worth at that given time, and that’s that.
  • If your property is up at the right asking price, it’s likely to sell. If it’s not, it’s unlikely to sell – and that’s the bottom line.
  • A good way of being realistic about your valuation, is to gather more than one – usually two or three is sufficient.
  • There’s a great tool on Zoopla that allows you to look at the asking and selling prices of similar properties in your area, so this is a good source of information to work against too. Just make sure the dates are recent, as the market is fluid and is therefore subject to change.
  1. First Impressions Count – and Yours isn’t Good

First impressions count, and no more so than in the property word. So if you’re not giving a good one, then this could be the reason your home isn’t selling:

  • Remember, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.
  • Therefore if you don’t show your house off to its absolute best – both inside and out – then you’re not going to sell.
  • Prime examples of this would be the fact that the walls need painting, or that the front door is looking a little worn. Furthermore, pay attention to your garden. The exterior of your home is often judged by its “kerb appeal”, and therefore if this isn’t appealing, the rest will follow.
  • Another good tip is to remove personal items from around the house to an extent, and to declutter.
  • Consider other things – like smells – too. Small details such as this can be really off-putting to potential buyers, and that’s the last thing you want to do.
  1. Your Kitchen is Looking Outdated

The kitchen is quite often referred to and thought of as the “heart of the home”, and is therefore a huge selling point to potential buyers. If yours is outdated, then this could be an issue:

  • If your kitchen is looking remotely tired or out of date, you might want to consider replacing or renewing it prior to putting your home on the market.
  • We know, however, that replacing an entire kitchen is pricy. If you can’t afford to do this, at the very least you could sand and paint your cupboards and cabinets and replace their handles in order to give them a cleaner, and more modern look.
  • There is a chance that if a potential buyer likes your home despite the kitchen, they’ll still put in an offer – but they’re likely to ask for a reduction on the asking price because of it.
  • Furthermore, just make sure your kitchen is clean and tidy! Pots, pans, plates and so on lying around will make the space look cluttered and automatically put buyers off.
  1. The Bathroom is Looking Outdated

If your bathroom is looking outdated, then this could cause the same issues that the kitchen would:

  • If the sink, bath, toilet and any other whiteware is outdated and therefore slightly discoloured, it can be hugely off-putting to potential buyers.
  • Again, buyers are either likely to be put off altogether by this, or will ask for a reduced price on the property.
  • Replacing and painting your bathroom could be the key to selling.
  1. Your Estate Agent isn’t Doing Their Job Properly

Although they can’t take all of the responsibility, if your estate agent is not working hard enough, then this will make selling your home more difficult than it has to be:

  • Choosing the wrong estate agent can quite literally stop you from selling your home.
  • A way of ensuring you go through a good estate agent, is to go through recent recommendations. This way, you’ll know straight from the horse’s mouth what they are like to work with.
  • However, you’ll also want to ensure the estate agent you use is the right agent in relation to the kind of property you’re selling, as they all have specialities, strengths and weaknesses.
  • The best kind of estate agent will be pro-active, so make this one of your top priorities when choosing.
  1. You’re Selling at the Wrong Time

Last of all, but by no means least, the reason that your property isn’t moving off the market could very simply be that you’ve chosen to sell it at the wrong time:

  • There is a commonly deliberated argument in the world of real estate that there is in fact a right and a wrong time to sell property.
  • However, if your price is right, there does tend to be a buyer, regardless of the market.
  • Do be wary of selling in the wrong market at the wrong time of year, however. This can lead to a listing becoming stale because of nothing other than circumstance, and therefore the price must be reduced in order to sell.
  • Buyers are often put off by property that’s on the market for many months, because they automatically assume there is something wrong with it.
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So, how do I Get Rid of a House that Won’t Sell in the UK?

So, we’ve taken a look at the reasons why your property might not be selling on the UK market, but should you find yourself in this situation, what can you do?

  1. Check Your Valuation with More than One Estate Agent

As we briefly mentioned above, you should always have your valuation checked by more than one estate agency:

  • Asking one agent for a valuation and no more can lead to your house being overpriced.
  • Remember, that some estate agents will work on commission, and will therefore tell you what you want to hear in order to gain your business. This won’t necessarily be in the best interest of the sale going through, and could lead to significant overpricing.
  • Remember above all else, that an overpriced house WON’T
  • Reducing the selling price will usually grab the attention of buyers scouring the market for property, so that’s always an option should you find yourself in this scenario. Many property websites will actually highlight the reduced properties, so that they come up first, too.
  1. Spruce Up Your Home in Order to Give a Good First Impression

First impressions are so important in the property game, so why not spruce up your home in order to make its first impression the best it can be?

  • Sometimes, sprucing up a property can be as simple as cleaning and tidying it, because buyers can find clutter and mess off-putting.
  • If you have pets, you could be sure to take precautions to ensure that your property doesn’t smell of the said animals.
  • As we mentioned above, tired and outdated looking kitchens and bathrooms will negatively impact the sale of a property, so it’s well worth doing up these spaces prior to sale.
  • In cases where the property is extremely tired or run down, the only buyers that you’ll be likely to attract will be investors.
  • If this is the situation that you’re in, then it’s best to target your sale at investors and builders in order to quicken up the selling process – however be reasonable about the asking price. You can’t ask top dollar for a house that needs work.
  • If you do want to sell your house for top dollar, then you might want to consider investing in having the kitchen and bathroom renovated.
  1. Change Estate Agencies

If your estate agent is to blame for the slow sale of your home, the best thing to do is to change agencies:

  • Sometimes it’s having the wrong estate agent for the kind of property you’re selling, and other times it might be that your agent is not pro-active enough. In both of these circumstances, you’re far better changing to a more suitable agency.
  • Some sellers actually choose to go with several agencies in order to sell their home, and this is a perfectly viable option if you can afford to pay several fees.
  • Also be sure to check out websites such as Right Move in the selling process, as they can really help along the way.
  • As many as 90% of property buyers consult online websites before estate agents nowadays, so it’s imperative to ensure your home is listed on at least one of these if you want a quick sale.
  1. Rent Out the Property and Become a Landlord

It’s not an option that appeals to everybody, but if you’re at the end of the line and your property just isn’t selling, you could consider becoming a landlord and renting it out instead:

  • Some homeowners actually end up doing this completely by accident after moving to their new home.
  • However, it’s not as appealing as it once was, because of the government increasing taxes for landlords.
  • The UK government have, and are continuing to make life more difficult for landlords. This includes them doing things such as taking away tenant eviction rights, taking away interest rate relief on mortgages and stopping landlords from charging tenants for background checks and so on.
  • Furthermore, it’s also a lot of responsibility as landlords are responsible for home safety and repairs, so it’s not a job everybody wants.
  • Therefore, if you are contemplating becoming a landlord, there is a lot to think about beforehand.
  • The only way you can really do this is through a Limited Company.
  • Your home, however, is in your personal name. In order to transfer it to a limited company so that you can rent it out, it’s likely you’ll have to pay a fair amount out on things such as legal fees, stamp duty, capital gains tax (if applicable) and so on.
  • This can be an option if your property will not sell. You can even just rent it out temporarily, then put it on the market when it picks up.
  1. Consider Lease or Rent to Own Options

If that doesn’t appeal to you, then you could consider putting your property up as a lease or rent to own:

  • For people who are reluctant to commit to buying, rent to own and lease options can be extremely appealing.
  • In this particular scenario, the so called “buyer” will lease your home for an amount that you set, usually one that will cover your mortgage payments. A good way of thinking about it if you like, it that this “buyer” is minding your mortgage for the time being.
  • In order to do this, some sort of contract or agreement must be drawn up between you and the mortgage company, so if you’re considering this option, be sure to get in touch with your lender.
  • At the time of lease agreement, another contractual obligation is the “buyer” having the option to buy the home from you for a specified price one day in the future. It’s usually a set time frame, like three or five years, for example. The only guideline is that it can’t exceed the length of your mortgage.
  • In this scenario, the “buyer” will also be responsible for the repairs etc in the property, which takes some of the load off you. Furthermore, they’re more likely to treat your home as their own and with respect than a generic tenant – even if they don’t end up buying it in the end.
  1. Wait Before Putting Your Home on the Market

We did say there can be a right and a wrong time to sell, and if you’re looking to sell at the “wrong” time, it might be an idea to wait until the “right” time to put your home on the market:

  • If you can wait, that is, because we understand that every situation is different. However if you can wait, then sometimes it’s no bad thing. Patience is a virtue, after all!
  • Sometimes, there is a “wrong” time to sell, and this can be dependent on a number of factors.
  • Some of these factors can include, but aren’t limited to the time of year, and the state of the market. For example, if the market is a “buyer’s market” at the time of sale, it can be difficult to sell your property for the right price. It might be great for the buyer because they’re likely to get the property for a reduced price, but for the seller it can be incredibly frustrating.
  • You could consider taking your property off the market for the time being if it’s already on, then reintroducing it at a better time. It’s a better option than leaving your listing to stagnate over time, because it makes you more likely to get the asking price.
  • Generally speaking, the Spring time is a great time to sell – around the Easter period. Winter is often the slowest time on the property market. These are things to bear in mind when choosing when to sell.
  1. Sell Your Property for Below the Market Value

Finally, although it’s not an ideal option for many, if you don’t have the luxury of having time on your side, then you might want to consider dropping the asking price of your property to below the market value:

  • We’ve already touched on this very slightly, but it makes sense to look into this option further.
  • Remember what we said earlier on, and that’s that if the house is for sale at the right price, chances are it’s extremely likely to sell.
  • However, if you don’t have the time to wait the sale out, then selling a property for below the generic market asking price can have it taken off your hands in a flash. If there’s one thing buyers love, it’s thinking that they’re getting a good bargain.
  • One thing to consider is whether or not this is an affordable option for you, as it isn’t for everybody.
  • It’s also worth considering that it can be incredibly difficult selling your property for below the price of what the mortgage is on the property. Particularly if you find yourself in negative equity.
  • This isn’t a viable option for everybody, as we said. Every house selling situation is different, and you have to do your research in order to figure out what is right for you.
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Final Thoughts:

We’ve covered a lot of ground on the topic of why property doesn’t sell, and what you can do to prevent that happening, so before we go, we’re going to do a quick round up of everything we’ve discussed thus far:

  • Generally speaking, if the price you’re asking for on the property is right in the market that the house is for sale in, it’ll sell.
  • Asking the wrong price for a property – particularly overpricing – is the main reason why many houses don’t sell.
  • There are certain rooms in the house – such as bathrooms and kitchens – that can hugely influence the sale of your home. The better presented and more modernised they are, the easier it becomes to sell your property for the right price.
  • If your estate agent has overpriced your home or isn’t pro-active enough in the sales process, you might want to consider hiring a new one.
  • There are options to be considered wherein you as the homeowner would rent your property out, either on a long or short term basis. If you’re considering any of these, be sure to research the terms and conditions thoroughly, and to speak with your lender in depth on the topic.
  • There is a thought of “right” and “wrong” time to sell your property. If you have the time to do so, you could consider waiting for the “right” time before putting your home on the market, or even take it off the market temporarily and reintroduce it at a later point.
  • Finally, if you don’t have time, and can afford to financially, dropping your property to just below the market value will make it more attractive to potential buyers, and listing websites are likely to highlight it, therefore making it easier to find online. This can be difficult for those who aren’t in a great financial situation, or who have negative equity on the house, but it’s an option to be considered all the same.

Above all else, remember that there’s always a reason why a property isn’t selling, and therefore there’s usually a viable solution. It’s just about recognising what the reason is, and figuring out how to combat it.

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2 thoughts on “Help! I’m Stuck with a House I Can’t Sell. How Do I Get Rid of a House that Won’t Sell (in the UK)?”

  1. Hi Ben

    I’ve been trying to get hold of you about my house that i’m struggling to sell. I’ve been to a few quick sale companies but their prices are too low. I’ve heard you may be able to help me? The house is a 4 bed cottage near Oldham, fairly good condition. Been on the market for 5 months with Pattinson but got no interest so far. Really need to move to be closer to my daughter but feel like its not going to happen any time soon. Any ideas what I can do to get it sold faster?

    1. Hi James. The reason your house is not selling is probably down to the valuation being off. Without knowing further info about the property it’s difficult to say. Quick sale companies will likely offer much lower than market value – so it’s a good idea to see if I can help before you use them as a last resort. Drop me an email on the contact page with the full address and i’ll see what I can do to help. I have a few investors in the Oldham area who are currently looking for stock for their portfolio so there may be something I can do there to get you sold.

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