Advice on selling house - one year on and still no offers

(107 Posts)
Munchkinsmama Sun 19-May-13 13:59:48

So, our house has been on the market for almost one year. We are with an online estate agent but as of yet have had no (sensible) offers and viewings are not exactly thick and fast. We originally put it on just under the highest valuation, but knowing that was probably a bit optimistic quickly reduced it by £10K. We reduced the house again 3 weeks ago to by another £10K. We just can't afford to drop it anymore, as we need what little capital we have left in it for the minimum deposit for a new house. And to be honest it's now on at a very competitive rate for similar properties, although admittedly its a two bed cottage at the high end of the price bracket for a 2 bed - due to location, size, standard and character. But it is comparable to similar properties nevertheless. Its also now on for less than what we paid for it 7 years ago.

Since reducing the price we've had 2 viewings (although one generated by someone we know who was looking for a buy to let) and an open house today which generated 2 more viewings - although i suspect neither were that serious and just curious.

I'm at a loss at what more to do. The house is finished to a pretty high standard. Kitchen and bathroom all under 3 years old and tastefully (IMO) done! Despite having an 18 month old son the house is always immaculately presented at viewings (most toys hidden and is presented like photos/how we used to live in it before child came along as target market is young professional couple).

I know the market is slow, and tbh although things in my area are selling, those that are selling in my price bracket do tend to be 3 beds - with the odd exception.

Does anyone have any words of advice to help shift our house. I'm 20weeks with dc2 and we'd really like to be in something bigger by the time he/she comes. I have considered moving to a local estate agent but all the house buyers we know just use rightmove so really i really question the benefit. And having dropped the price means finding the £3000 or so would be hard to find!

Any chance of a link?

Erlack Sun 19-May-13 14:25:43

A link would be good if you feel you can share.

I hate to say this but if the house is not even getting viewings then the likelihood is people think it is overpriced.

member Sun 19-May-13 14:26:01

Rightly or wrongly, my perception of online estate agents is that dealing with them as a buyer, would make an already stressful procedure more complicated as it would be harder to just "pop in" if the process was stalling. I also subconciously think that the vendor is extremely money-motivated in going for the cheaper option & that making any sort of deal would be harder. That's before mentioning that I'm always sceptical that the price has been set realistically & with local knowledge in mind.

So whilst yes, I look at Rightmove, I wouldn't go out of my way to view such a property unless it was extremely outstanding.

Notyetthere Sun 19-May-13 14:31:38

I would sign on with the local EA, have them take new photos. If its been on for 1yr and its in very good condition then I suspect the stumbling block is the price. You say that the price is at the top end for a typical 2 bed, I reckon potential buyers decide that with a tiny bit more borrowing they could just about get a 3 bed. That's what we did. We offered (stood rejected) on an immaculate 2 bed but then realised with a little extra borrowing (about £9 extra per month on mortgage repayments) we could just about get a 3 bed for not much more.

I believe if priced right it will sell. I also advise you don't price according to what you paid, it would be nice if you at least broke even but with the current market, I would look at comparative recently sold prices. Just bse you need to achieve a minimum to enable you to buy your next house does not mean people will pay the difference. I'm writing from a buyer's POV and also watched my BIL overprice his bungalow that eventually sold 16 months at a 30% below original asking price.

Clargo55 Sun 19-May-13 14:38:09

Yes, hard to give advice without seeing property.

We currently have a property on the market for 30K less than we purchased it for in 2008. We have only had one really low offer. When we contacted the buyer to negotiate a deal he said 'No way, in this market it is worth nothing more'. Unfortunately ours is on at offers over 69,950 as this is our existing mortgage+fees. There is no room for us to drop the price.
Property is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay atm. The price of previous sale seems to have little connection.

greenformica Sun 19-May-13 14:45:23

I don't mind online estate agents, after all estate agents are only shop fronts really.

I'm sure you have looked at the price of other two beds in the area. Is there anything comparable to help you readjust the price?

Otherwise take it off the market and stick it back on when the market is more buoyant. Our area is back to 2007 prices already. There is a steady turn over here but other areas are behind.

I agree with others, it's likely that people think it's overpriced for a 2 bed.

Unfortunately, when selling a house now, you just can't think of the price in terms of what you need to be able to afford the kind of property you want. It doesn't matter that you need X if people think your house is worth at most X-10k.

Having dropped your price previously doesn't mean you've come down to what buyers think it's worth either. Indeed, having put it on for nearly a year at one price and then dropping it a little bit (but nothing like what the buyers think the price drop should be) can actually put people off. It is a strong indication that there's no point looking because the sellers won't consider the kind of offer you'd might willing to make.

When we were looking, we saw lots of houses on at c.£50k more than we thought they were worth (and presumably everyone else, as many of them are still on the market a year later or they never sold and decided to stay put/rent out instead). Some of them would drop their price by £10k after many months of not selling, but it actually made them even less appealing to view as you knew the owners weren't going to accept an offer.

Relaxedandhappyperson Sun 19-May-13 14:54:26

I'd try a local estate agent. Get them all round, explain your situation and see which will work for your interests the best (and isn't just commission-driven).

I've had all manner of difficulties with my sale and the fact that the agent is a real person not just a website has been invaluable. But a good choice of agent is really important.

specialsubject Sun 19-May-13 14:57:12

as you can't get feedback from the viewings, you don't know what is wrong. But it is almost certainly over priced.

if you can't drop the price then you probably can't sell.

get a real agent round - no sale, no fee.

Are you comparing your price to the asking prices or the selling prices? Because being competitive with the top end of asking prices at the moment may put you a long way from bring competitive in terms of what people are actually paying.

RCheshire Sun 19-May-13 15:01:43

Agree with others. From your list it sounds like you know it's the price. Maybe you paid a little to much as you loved its character? If so you're dependent on someone else coming along who falls for it rather than focusing on the number of bedrooms.

I've sold two places in different towns both using online agents so I don't tend to think that's the reason

Blu Sun 19-May-13 15:06:12

Have you had a board up?

I would get 3 local high st EAs round and give the best of them a time-limited agreement to sell it.

EAs do do more than provide a shop-front, a good one doing a good job, bringing it to the attention of the right buyer, can work wonders. (I have sold 3 times so far, and note that one popular local branch of a national chain takes a stack 'em high, sell 'em fast' approach, another family firm takes longer but gets a higher price, etc etc.

Ask what sort of buyer they would target, what the strengths and weaknesses of the house are, and why THEY think it might not have sold yet.

When an EA has a client who has an offer they do their best to find that client a house as fast as possible so that they can get the chain moving and claim their fees.

ethelb Sun 19-May-13 15:14:48

LINK? I'm going to be a first time buyer looking at two bed cottage typw things in 2 years or so and have been looking and similar properties and could review yours if you want?

doglover Sun 19-May-13 15:43:28

Price it realistically. We bought 7 years ago for £350k and are currently selling for £320k. Prices (in most of the country) have reduced.

3uper3tressed Sun 19-May-13 16:11:01

If you are solely using online advertising it is worth looking where in the price brackets of the website you are using it sits....so, for example, if you are selling a 2 bed and want £130k for it, it might seem sensible to market at £135k, however, when people search for properties they tend to search in £10k brackets...so your property will be in the middle of all the searches done for properties worth £130-140k...this could mean it is 4 or 5 pages back in the results and not get looked at, whereas if you put it on at £140k dead, it could be first, or at least first page.

If you continue to use online only, I would suggest getting some friends to critically assess the photos - do they do the house justice? If not, get them retaken - a decent agent should have a wide angle lens to show your property to the best of its potential.

Also might be worth considering having it as a premium listing?

Another trick is taking it off and adding it back on, as searchers who are set up for alerts will receive an email to notify them of the 'new' property...someone who has been looking for 6 months may now have a different opinion of your property than they did at the start of the search.

Finally, if you are looking at the YP market it sounds like 'dressing wise' you are on the right lines...perhaps consider buying some premium bathroom products...'Mr & Mrs' cups hanging on your mug tree - small stuff like this in my opinion sews the seeds of how people see their lives going over the next few years and creates the right feel

To be honest, if it has been on this long with so few viewings I would question the quality of the agent. In my opinion, this is just not good enough - if it is overpriced they should tell you, if it's not, what the hell are they doing? Not a lot by the sounds of it. Go to them, tell them you are getting fed up and are considering using another agent, ask for honest advice on any changes needed to the house and take it, then give them a month. If they don't deliver, ditch and get someone else in.

Good Luck

Take it off the market so it will be fresh again.

Get a proper estate agent.

Cut the price.

ShadeofViolet Sun 19-May-13 16:18:06

I agree that a move to a proper estate agent would help, one that has highstreet presence and will push your property. You will also be able to get feedback on any viewings you have.

Have you thought about an open day? Thats how we sold ours last time.

HousewifeFromHeaven Sun 19-May-13 16:18:49

You paid top money 7 years ago Im guessing, and prices have gone down considerably.

I have just sold my house for £20,000 less than I paid 7 years ago. I'm gutted but pragmatic. The house I'm buying has also gone down in value o it's a case of swings and roundabouts I rekon

MinimalistMommi Sun 19-May-13 17:55:10

Use local estate agents ! We just bought in February and the way we found our house was by scouring local estate agents!

I would move to a local agent. Yes people use Rightmove but as someone has said earlier as a purchaser I wouldn't want to deal with an online agent.
DH and I have a couple of buy to lets and thought we would give an online agent once, with no success at all, one viewing from some baffoon who viewed an unfurnished property, made us a low offer on rent then expected us to furnish it !
Put is on with the agent we usually use and it was let in a week.

Munchkinsmama Sun 19-May-13 19:34:49

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and helpful replies. I'm feeling quite flat right now after a long week and another weekend of keeping the house immaculately clean for what feels like little gain.

Here is a link to our house on rightmove. A critical eye is welcome. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-25821063.html

In terms of price, what we paid for it has impacted on what we have wanted for it previously. Although in the north, the little area that we live in has done relatively well at retaining value. However, admittedly the valuations we used when we put the house on the market were about 10 months old so they are close to 2 years old now. The house is priced at £189K. We had 3 valuations at the time, one came in at £195K, one at £200K and one at £215K. So we initially priced it at £210K, dropping it to £200K after a few weeks. We paid £193, and as i said have invested in renovating too.

Our problem still, is that we can't really afford to drop it much more, and i do believe that (now) it is well priced. Because its not a 'standard' house (i.e. new build / semi in estate) its hard to find comparisons, but another cottage very similar did come on the market for a shirt while for £2K less, but then had a change in circumstance.

I don't know why (probably a reflection on the estate agent) but we had had zero feedback so far, which is incredibly frustrating as we have no idea what is putting people off - price, size, location etc.

We've just updated the photos, have a board and have just (today) held an open house.

I've been thinking about taking it off for a while. I was thinking about letting it stay on until summer, as the market seems to quieten then anyway, but then dc2 will be due in the autumn so really not the best to be relishing and i soooooo want to move before then!!!!!!!! Aghghhhhhhhh its sooooo frustrating!!!!!

MammaMedusa Sun 19-May-13 19:41:51

I think your first photo could be taken from a better angle - if it were at more of a diagonal it would look less shadowy and small.

doglover Sun 19-May-13 19:41:55

Gorgeous - looking property. smile I live in the south of England so can't really help with the area / price thing! (Where are your kitchen and worktops from?!)

MoominsYonisAreScary Sun 19-May-13 19:42:43

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