There are many reasons why your house may not be selling. But every house will have a buyer…at the right price.
If you can’t sell your house what are your options?
- Reduce the selling price.
- Fix the easy repairs around your house.
- Postpone selling your house.
- Change estate agents to a more proactive agent.
- Sell to a property solutions company.
- Offer your home on a Lease Option.
- Rent your home instead.
Why isn’t your house selling in the UK
A house sale essentially requires two things. These are a ‘willing buyer‘ and a ‘willing seller.’ Which means if the price is right, there will always be someone who is willing to buy any house.
But let’s take a look at the above solutions to help your house sell if it may not be selling right now.
I can’t sell my house what are my options if I want to move now
1. If you can’t sell your house reduce the selling price
Every house in every street around the UK has a price cap or perceived value. The ‘perceived value‘ by the seller is not always the same as a potential buyer’s perceived valuation.
The true value of a house depends on any number of things.
So what does affect the value of your home?
Location of your house is very important
Where your home is located will affect how much it’s worth. This isn’t just where it is situated within the UK, but also where it is located in a particular area of the UK.
Prices can differ significantly between homes even in the same village, town or city. They can even vary greatly from one street to the next too.
For example, when I searched on Zoopla for 3-bed houses in Bournemouth, this is what I found. At the time of the search the lowest price of a three-bed house in Bournemouth was £205,000. But the highest price was £825,000.
That’s the same number of bedrooms and in the same town in Dorset!
If your house is over valued for its location, this will affect how long it is on the market. One option in this case is to reduce the price it’s being sold for.
To sell your house fast, reduce the price to below market value. This way you’ll get more people through the door looking for a bargain.
2. Fix the easy repairs around your house to help sell your house at the right price
How up together and how well maintained your house is will affect how easy or not it’ll be to sell. Bear in mind that only a small percentage of home-buyers like to buy a house that needs renovating.
Is your house a doer upper? If so, the price needs to reflect this fact. But if you want to get top-dollar for your house, it needs to be in top condition too.
If your home needs repair work doing, which means the buyers will need to spend money spent to bring it up to date, this will affect the valuation. In other words, this reduces the value of your house. This is because it requires money to be spent.
This will limit your market, as only certain people are happy to buy a house that needs doing up. This could delay the sale, especially if the value doesn’t reflect the work to be done.
Your potential options:
- Either reduce the listing price with the Estate agent (i.e. to reflect the level of work required).
- Spend money and do the work that needs to be done. Thereby increase the value of you home and widen the market for more potential buyers.
But of course, carrying repairs takes time.
If you don’t have the time to wait for this. If you want to move quickly, your options are more limited.
3. Postpone selling your home if it’s a buyers market that’s preventing your house selling then re-list when market conditions improve
If the market is slow at the time you’re trying to sell your home, this will slowdown how long it takes to sell. Unless you list your house at under market value that is.
A slow property market could either be at a certain point in the calendar, i.e. selling a house in December, which is not as good a time. Versus selling a house in the Spring.
It could also be the housing market in general is slow. As we all know the housing market has its ups and downs.
If it’s a buyer’s market and there’s a glut of your type of house on the market, this may have an impact on how long it takes to sell your house. Buyers can be more choosy about the house they buy in a buyer’s market.
One option is to take your house off the market. Then re-list it when market conditions change or improve.
However, if you are keen to sell your house quickly, this may not be the best option for you.
In which case you may need to consider dropping the price. But please read on for other options open to you if you house isn’t selling.
What if your house sale has gone stale
There’s always a window of opportunity to sell a house. It’s always better to have it sold within the first month or so from when it’s listed for sale. Buyers are put off if a house has been on the market for months. This information is readily available on Rightmove and the like. Take a quick read of this article about properties listed on Rightmove, but in particular the section on ‘can you see price history on Rightmove‘.
Buyers will ask questions like ‘what’s wrong with the property?’ ‘Why isn’t the house selling?’
They’ll worry they’ll have a similar problem in the future when they come to sell. This in itself will drive its value down.
What are your options if your house isn’t selling?
Your first option would be to postpone selling your home and re-listing it 6-months later.
When you resist your property in sic months time, be mindful about listing price. If you make the mistake of listing it at too high a price, this could mean your property will remain on the market and stagnate again. This will put you right back in the same position as you are now. So instead of delaying the inevitable price reduction, your best option might be to reduce the price to sell your house now.
If you can’t sell your house, your best option is to drop the price. If you want to sell if fast, consider a reduction to below market value. As already noted above, all houses will sell at the right price. All you need is a willing buyer to offer a price that you become a willing seller at that price.
Have an option house if your house isn’t selling as quickly as you’d hoped
Another option which often works well to sell houses fast is to have an open house. An open house creates a buzz and creates competition. Assuming you get a house-full of viewers. But the price needs to be right. In fact you are better to list your house slightly below market value for an open house. If you get enough people through the door, this may create bidding war. This bidding war may push the price above the listed price.
However, depending on whether or not your house requires repair work, you should consider doing this before you hold the open house sale.
Except for dropping the price immediately, most of these options to sell your house can take time. If you don’t have time, your best option would be to reduce the price to get it sold quickly.
But please read the section on offering your home on a lease option below, as this may be your answer. A lease option can be the perfect solution if dropping the selling price is not an option. This could be because of the level of your mortgage or you need a certain amount out from the equity you own to be able to move on.
4. If you can’t sell your house change a more proactive estate agent
Even with websites like Rightmove and similar, the sale of your house is dependent on how proactive your estate agent is.
To check how proactive they are with your property have a friend to call your agent. Have them describe a similar property to your own and see if yours is mentioned. If your friend is willing, ask them to book a viewing to see how well the agent does on the viewing to sell your house.
It’s also important that the agent values your property at the right price. There are some estate agent agents that price houses high in order to win the contract.
After you’ve signed the contract, and after a few weeks of no viewings (because your property is listed at over market value), they encourage you to reduce the price. This can be a big mistake, as already noted above. If a house doesn’t sell within the critical window of opportunity, the property may get stuck on the market.
But then this situation attracts certain buyers looking for a bargain. As noted in the above link to the price history on Rightmove, investors and savvy buyers hunt out properties that have been listed for over 3-6 months. They then use this opportunity to dive a hard bargain with an offer.
To avoid this huge mistake, make sure you receive at least two, but preferably three estate agent valuations. But also check the valuation yourself on websites like Zoopla or Mouseprice (Mouseprice valuations cost, whereas Zoopla are free).
Recommended reading about choosing the right estate agent if you can’t sell your house
At this point, there are two articles I recommend you read. These include why do estate agents valuations vary so much, but pay particular attention to the section that explains what to do if you have three valuations that vary by so much. The second article is about how to choose an estate agent. In this article, there are eight important questions you must ask all estate agents you interview.
Get references and look at online reviews about the agent. This will give you an indication as to how well they will represent you. You want to make sure they will be proactive on your behalf.
If you discover your estate agent isn’t working well, your best option would be to change your agent. But this depends on the contract you’ve signed. It’s possible to get multiple agents, but this normally affects the agent’s fee. Most estate agents charge a higher fee for multiple agents.
Check your contract. Then consider your options.
5. If you can’t sell your house sell your property to a property solutions company
If you don’t like the idea of becoming a landlord (see below). Also, if you don’t like any of the suggested options above discussed above, you may be able to seek help from us.
If you get stuck, please feel free to make contact and we’d be more than happy to have an informal chat over a coffee (or on a Zoom call due to Covid!!). There’s no obligation and no hard sell.
We are here to help, and if we can we will.
6. Offer your home on a Lease Option if you can’t sell your house
Offering your home on a lease option may sound complicated to you, but it’s not. It’s a bit like agreeing to a delayed completion. But there is an important difference with a lease option. Whereas with a delayed completion both the buyer and the seller are committed to the sale, with a lease option it is only the seller who is committed to the sale.
A lease option is a legal contract between a property owner and a buyer to lease or rent a property for a specific period. The option contract states that at some point between the beginning and end of the contract rental period the buyer has the option to buy the property at an agreed price, but not the obligation.
With a lease option there has to be consideration, just like there is when you exchange contract on a normal house sale. Which means for the contract to be legally enforceable the buyer must pay the seller an agreed amount of money. This is referred to as an option fee, which is a bit like a deposit.
The biggest advantage to you with a lease option is there’s the opportunity to get full market price for your house. The second big advantage is that lease option agreements can be put in place very quickly. There’s no requirement for property searches. Plus there’s no requirement for the buyer to get lending.
To find out more about how lease options work and how this could work for you if your home isn’t selling, please take a read of this article ‘selling your house on a lease option and is it a good idea‘. Included in this article are the five benefits to you.
7. Rent your home instead and become a landlord if you house isn’t selling
If your house isn’t selling, another option for you is to become a landlord and rent instead. This isn’t everyone’s idea of a good solution, but it can work well. Not everyone wants to become a landlord, especially since the introduction of the ‘tenant tax‘ (see below). Many people simply don’t want the hassle of tenants and would prefer to sell instead.
There are many problems associated with renting properties. But some people are happy to be a landlord, which is similar to those who are okay running their own business.
There are also many rules and regulations you need to follow if you become a landlord.
The most important landlord rules include:
- Finding good paying tenants.
- Make sure you carry out tenant checks and obtain references, plus where relevant rent guarantors.
- Being responsible for rent collections.
- Preparing tenancy agreements.
- Taking a tenant deposit and putting this into the tenant deposit scheme.
- Property repairs and maintenance.
- Having gas safety certification for any gas appliances in the property.
- Installing smoke detectors and alarms, together with carbon monoxide detectors
- Evicting tenants that don’t pay.
- Keeping abreast of the Landlord and Tenant Act and the laws that govern becoming a landlord.
Many of the above things can be delegated to a rental agent for a fee. Which is what most sensible landlords do. But before you decide to become what is known as an accidental landlord, you might like to read this article about ‘what are the real costs of becoming an accidental landlord?’
However, if you decide on this option, you can use your equity as your deposit. You do this by converting your existing mortgage into a buy to let mortgage.
But if you don’t need to sell your house as you have enough money for a deposit on your new property, don’t rent your house out on a residential mortgage until you’ve read this article about renting out your house without a buy to let mortgage and not telling the lender. Pay particular attention to the implications section and mortgage fraud!
If your bank or lender allows you to keep your existing mortgage, there may be fees to pay and the interest rate may change. Generally lenders who agree to you renting your house will generally increase the interest rate.
If on the other hand you need to use your equity for a deposit, this article is a good read ‘can I use the equity in my house as a deposit for moving house‘ instead.
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