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Why won't my house sell?

Having trouble selling your home? If you're wondering, "Why won't my house sell?", you're not alone. But don't worry — you have options.

Preparing to move

Selling a home can be stressful — and it’s easy to feel impatient if things aren’t moving along as quickly as you’d hoped. It may be that you want to sell in order to move before the stamp duty deadline — or maybe it just seems like your house has been sitting on the market for ages. So if you’re ever found yourself wondering, “Why can’t my house sell? What are my options?”, then you’re not alone. 

But first, we should say this: Nobody can guarantee your home will sell — and they definitely can’t guarantee it will sell for a certain price or within a certain time frame. Anyone who tells you they can “guarantee” they can get you bags of cash and a speedy sale may not be being totally honest with you. And we think honesty and transparency should come first.

There are sometimes when your house will almost certainly sell quickly or for a certain amount — if the market is really hot in your area, if you price competitively — there are times where it may almost be a guarantee. But that’s as close as it should get. 

Now, if you’re having trouble selling your home in the UK, we can suggest some things that may help. But first, let’s look at why your house isn’t selling — or why it may not be. 

Why isn’t my house selling?

OK, so there’s no easy answer to this — because every sale is different. There are a lot of reasons your house may not be selling. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • It's priced incorrectly

  • It's a slow market

  • It's not being marketed correctly

  • Your photographs aren't strong enough

  • Your listing doesn't stand out

  • Your home doesn't look its best at viewings

  • There's a short lease or another quirk

A good way to think about these are things that you can do something about versus those you can't. Some of them might be out of your control, like if the market is really slow because it’s a recession or a slow time of year. 

But a lot of reasons your house might not be selling are within your control. The price may be too high, your listing may not be showing it off to its best, your estate agent may not be getting it on the right portals, or maybe there’s a short lease that's putting people off. Your estate agent should be able to give you advice on what might be slowing you down. 

My house isn’t selling, what are my options?

Again, this is where your estate agent should really shine. There are a lot of things that they can suggest to help your property sell.

  • A price adjustment

  • New, high-resolution photographs

  • A video or virtual tour of the home

  • Updating the listing to help the property shine

  • Marketing to a new audience

  • Doing necessary building work

  • Making decorating changes — like fresh paint or carpets

  • Tidying up for viewings

  • Using social media to market to local buyers

If the price is unrealistic, they can tell you to lower it — but it may be worth trying a few other things first. Make sure that your photos are high-quality and really show off the best features of your home, work on the listing to make sure you mention all of the key features, and you can even consider trying a premium or featured listing to get more eyes on your property. Don’t forget to highlight a property’s potential — can you expand? Convert? A lot of buyers have an eye out for a place they can add value to. 

Also, make sure you don’t forget the power of the viewing: Is your home clean and tidy every time someone walks through the door? Is it enough of a blank canvas for buyers to imagine themselves there? Would a fresh coat of paint transform their whole experience? Making the first impression really count may be the key.

Talk to your estate agent about what they would suggest — and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box."

If your home isn’t selling, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, sometimes it will be a price issue, but often it’s a combination of factors. Talk to your estate agent about what they would suggest — and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

If you really want to make your home stand out, we have tips on how to make the most of your listing and how to prepare for a viewing, so you can be sure you’re putting your best foot forward. 

Why won't my house sell FAQs

Normally we’d recommend talking to your estate agent and trying the options above — like redoing your listing or lowering the price. You can always try an auction, where you might get a quicker result than a traditional sale. But there are lots of costs involved and you may not get the best price for your property, so make sure to do your research.