My house isn’t selling – should I change agents?
Before you start asking what the problem is, you need to ask yourself is there a problem at all – Have you set an unrealistic timescale?
Ask three people how quickly a property should take to sell and you will get three answers. In fact, the average time to sell varies dramatically in different markets, between areas and, between agents within the same area (E.g. in West Cornwall, the difference between the best performing agent and the worst is almost 6 months!)
Zoopla provides a basic tool showing the average time on the market for your postcode area with home.co.uk having much more in the way of analytical tools as well as showing average and median times to sell (different from ‘time on the market’).
Properties don’t sell or generate viewings for all sorts of reasons and this article wont be able to answer or deal with all of them but I hope that by the time you have finished reading it, you will have a better idea of what might be the problem and the information to develop a positive strategy to achieve that sale.
In simplistic terms, a property doesn’t sell because either; the buyers don’t know it is on the market, they won’t view it or they can’t buy it. Let’s look at these individually.
1. The buyers don’t know it’s on the market. It’s a statement of the blindingly obvious but, if potential buyers don’t know your home is for sale; how can they arrange a viewing, fall in love with it and make an offer?
Most often, this is a problem caused by the agent not marketing your property correctly. Buyers will usually do an initial internet based search followed up by a physical visit to agents’ offices and a drive around the areas they want to move to.
If your home isn’t on a well visited website/s, local paper, in the office window or, handed out to potential buyers when they visit the office then; the chances are you are not going to sell.
Progressive agents will harness the power of social media to help drive interest (Facebook & Twitter etc) as well to help increase the number and quality of potential buyers looking at their customers properties. It also helps if you have a board* outside your home.
2. They won’t view it. Let’s assume that your home is being marketed properly; it is on a major website, your agent is using social media to generate interest and suitable prospective buyers are being encouraged to view it.
Apart from people for whom the property simply isn’t right for them (wrong number of bedrooms etc); people won’t view a property for many reasons. It may not photograph well, it may be in a less desirable area or, it may simply be too much money. How do you know which?
Ask your agent. Good agents are the ones who are honest with you about the condition of the property, its ability to generate a buyer and the price it might eventually achieve after a surveyor has been and any re-negotiations have taken place.
If you aren’t achieving any viewings, and it’s not because of a lack of marketing, the chances are that it is price that is putting off buyers. Your property may look absolutely gorgeous but, if the price is significantly over what the market will stand for that type of property, nobody will bother to view. Why? Because they don’t want to offend you by making a realistic offer or, believe that they will be wasting their time if they do. Have you discussed your marketing plan with an award winning agent yet?
3. They can’t buy it. Leaving occasional, but thankfully rare, time-wasters aside; people may simply not be able to buy your property. This may be because you have a property that is difficult to mortgage or insure for some reason (structural defects, type of construction, mining areas etc) or, is it simply that you are holding out for a price that may not be achievable in the current market? I.e. Your agent is achieving offers for you but they are not at a level you are prepared to accept.
Should you change agents? Only you can answer that but ask yourself the following questions and you might have a better idea of the right answer for you.
- Did I choose my current agent because I felt the offered the best service or because they told me what they thought I wanted to hear?
- Have I played my part and presented my property at its best – neat, tidy and clean etc?
- Is my property advertised effectively (websites, agents office, social media etc)
- Do I receive regular calls and advice on the marketing of my property from my agent or; I am I having to constantly call them?
- Do I trust my agent to be honest with me?
- Am I happy with my agent?
- Might part of the problem lie with me?
Whatever the answers to these questions, it is quite often worth talking to your existing agent about your concerns; even if you intend to change agents, the knowledge that they are possibly about to lose a customer (with the loss of potential income as a result) may just be enough to spur them into finding you a buyer. Alternatively, if you have decided that now is the time to change agents and have a property in West Cornwall, PDQ would love to help you make your next property move.
Liked this? Sign up for our ‘Top Tips’ property Newsletter here
*Whilst many people don’t like this idea as they see it as free advertising for the agents you would be surprised just how often a board is the first time a buyer is made aware of a property being for sale. In a study I carried out in the late 1990’s in an office I managed I found a board increased the chance of a property selling by as much as 31%. Sadly, I do not own and no longer have the data from which this statistic was gleaned so I am unable to publish the results. It is, however, offered in good faith.
I welcome feedback so please feel free to leave constructive criticisms or ask questions below. If you could also take a second to rate my blog and pass it on to others who you think may find it interesting that would be great. Thanks.
About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter Chris was born and lives in Penzance. In his spare time; Chris likes to keep fit and is a long-standing member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.