Why Won’t My House Sell?

September 2015

This is one of the most frequently asked questions, that home owners put to me and is often accompanied by a long sigh when they do so. Very often it is not a straight forward fix and a “magic wand” scenario rarely exists.

The world of property can be fraught with complications and with my experience, it is about going in the opposite direction by breaking everything down in to simple steps and getting to the root of the problem. It is not always about dropping the price as some estate agents might tell you!

A great example recently where the owners asked me “what had gone wrong”, led to a 2 hour meeting with them to unravel the knots that they had unwittingly got themselves in to. Their home had been on the open market for one year with a local agent and viewings had occurred sporadically. A lull in overall interest, led to them seeking my independent advice. Our meeting bought out a number of issues:

1) Photographs
The original photographs were of poor quality and not well lit. Most importantly, there were no angles of the impressive gardens, which was a key selling feature!

We instructed a professional photographer at modest cost to retake the property. We also used a high elevation mast to show the setting of the property and the land. The images now clearly showed what the property was offering:

2) Choice of Estate Agent
This was a significant factor as to why their sale had drifted off course. Whilst the agent was capable and experienced in his market sector, this client’s property was a period village house with land and was not something that the agent regularly dealt with nor had active buyers looking for such a property.

However like the “can do” attitude of many agents and enthusiasm to get property on his books, the agent informed the owner at their initial meeting, that he was the man for the job. The client was none the wiser until they found that viewings were dwindling.

3) Mixing Personal and Business Relationships
In dialogue with this client, they let slip that part of the reason for choosing the agent, was that they knew him on the social circuit locally and felt a greater affinity towards using him. In any business decision, this should have been a strict no-go.

By instructing the agent on this basis, not only did it put strain on their relationship, but it inadvertently meant that they had put the agent in a corner. Although the agent knew he had to change the sale direction, his emotional connection with the owner, meant that he was unable to fully express his thoughts. As a result, the sale drifted.

4) Choice of Marketing Platform
Marketing of a property is a necessity whether it be online, brochure, newspaper advert or on social media.

Due to the shortage of interest, the owner thought that it would be worth them advertising the property in Country Life magazine. Given the strain on their relationship (as per the point above), the agent had little choice but to run with it. At a cost of £3,000 for one page, leading to 2 calls and 0 viewings, this was a very poor return on investment.

The golden rule is to know what media outlet is best suited for your property. Country Life is great for sizeable estates, but houses with a few acres – definitely not.

5) Length of Time on the Market
At the 1 year mark, any property is starting to look tired in the market. My advice was to withdraw it immediately offline and to let it fall out of circulation. We then regrouped our marketing strategy during this downtime, to ensure that our relaunch went with a bang several weeks later.

The Result
Within 4 days of relaunching the property back on the market, the new agent had achieved 2 offers, with 1 party offering above guide price. Exchange went through exactly on time with no issues and is one of the most memorable results!

The key with any property sale is to take your time in preparing all the details whilst:
1) Instructing the most appropriate estate agent for your property type
2) The agent should value quality marketing materials, has identified the best selling features of the property and will put details out across the right channels
3) Have a clear marketing strategy laid out from the start
4) Stay proactive, keep the rapport with the agent and review the sale on a regular basis. If it’s not going how you would like, change the direction

If you would like to discuss your property sale and understand where to improve it, please feel free to contact me on 01423 788377 or alex@alexgoldstein.co.uk

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