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Too many sales are taking too long

- but Wilsons buck the trend

So far this year, 28% of available homes on the market have been on the market for more than six months. There are 8% of properties that have been listed for over a year. In 2018, 26% of properties had been up for sale longer than six months, while in 2017, this figure was 27%. However, these recent figures are a big improvement from 2012, when 40% of available properties had not secured a buyer within six months, and one in five homes (29%) were still without a buyer after 12 months.

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said this week: “If you’ve failed to find a buyer after several months of marketing, then it could be that overall demand in your area is low due to local market conditions. However, if some properties are selling and yours is not, then you either have a property with limited appeal or the price is too high. If you’re unlucky it could be both. Rather than dropping the price, if you have the funds available, you could look at increasing its appeal. That may mean refitting the kitchen or bathroom, two of the most impactful rooms from a buyer’s perspective.  Is there scope, through re-arranging the layout, or via an extension, to make an open-plan kitchen or an en-suite bathroom, which are both popular features.”

Miles continued: “It could be as simple as redecorating in neutral colours or giving the place a good clean and a garden makeover. If there are more serious or costly works required such as wiring, heating, rising damp or a new roof then it may be best to look at reducing the price to allow for those items. But get your agent to make it clear on the listing that you have priced accordingly, so the buyer does not try to knock down the price again. Getting detailed feedback from every viewer and listening to your estate agent’s advice will help you decide the best course of action. After six months or more on the market, your property will appear pretty stale and could be ignored by some prospective buyers. A price reduction will be required to make them take notice, or if you do a makeover then make sure new photos and an updated description show it off.”

Tips to help sell sooner rather than later:

1. Don’t rush to get your property on the market if everything’s not ready. Most properties receive 70% of their interest in the first two weeks. Don’t launch with placeholder photos, descriptions or without a floor plan – as you’ll miss your best chance to impress the keenest buyers. Great listings have at least five photos, a floor plan and a well-crafted description aimed at a clear target audience.

2. Kerb appeal. Potential buyers form an impression within seconds of seeing your property. To make a good impression, it’s important to give your home kerb appeal so paint the front door, tidy the garden and get out the hanging baskets.

3. Be picture perfect.  Professional photography will help your property stand out from the crowd – especially at this time of the year with blue skies and gardens looking their best.

4. De-clutter. Buyers need to picture themselves living in your property and it can be hard to see through walls and walls of family photos so de-clutter and try to make the place as neutral as possible.

5. Animals and viewings don’t mix. Make sure pets are elsewhere and out of the way during viewings and that you’ve put away the cat litter tray.

6. Listen to your agent. It’s an estate agent’s job to give honest and impartial advice so take this on board when preparing your home for sale.

7. Be accommodating at viewings. Be as accommodating as possible with viewings, particularly with an open house by going out and leaving your agent to it.

8. Price. It’s key to have a strategy and the speed you want to sell the house will affect what price you ask for it. But if you do your research, price competitively and are braced for a negotiation, the odds of selling are more likely to be in your favour.

As we boast at the top of this blog, Wilsons buck the trend. In a recent survey Wilsons were shown to have had their properties available for sale for an average of just 24 days, in contrast with many of the larger local agents averaging around 80 days. We put this down to careful pricing together with excellent marketing. If an agent has a property on the market for anywhere approaching six months, it’s almost certainly down to price which surely needs addressing – There’s nothing wrong with a property that price won’t cure!

By Chris Willey

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