How Do You Sell A House?

So it’s been 3 months and 3 weeks, or rather 113 days since I put my refurbished property on the market for sale with both a high street estate agents and an online estate agents.

That is a whole lot longer than I ever imagined being on the market for sale without an offer.

So what’s the story?

The high street estate agency has had a number of viewings (no definitive number has been given, despite my attempts to quantify) but no takers.  The feedback I have received is that people in general seem to like the house, but “are in no rush to buy”.  They have called me twice in the sales period of 113 days.  The star manager (and the reason why I went to them in the first place) has been headhunted to a competitor in a different town.  I am unsure what the estate agent are doing to actually “sell” my house, but when I talk to them (which is pretty seldom) they offer me “positive-news-around-the-corner” but this has never materialised.

With Hatched, the online estate agency, I get weekly statistics from Rightmove showing my property performance (which always look pretty good) but so far has translated to just 4 viewings.

Of those 4 viewings I have learned a whole wealth of market research on house buyers that I didn’t know before and it has to be said – there is nowt as queer as folk.

Here are the key reasons why people are NOT going to buy my house:

– It does not have enough period features or character.  Well, this is truly understandable – it is a 1960s build and was therefore not built with the necessity for open coal fires before the days of gas central heating or any other such modern conveniences which we now take for granted.

– A glass hob would be preferable to cook on rather than the Neff range and as such would necessitate a whole kitchen re-design.  This is also understandable, the kitchen was designed around the range in a bid to give the kitchen a central focal point.  (see above – this was my modern take on trying to create “character” in a 1960s house).

– The path to the property is too narrow.  This I don’t get.  A path is a path.  It is a standard path width.  It is a path not a road, or a runway.  It is a path.  And having checked on the width of other paths I believe it to be the same width as these other paths and no less narrow.

Truthfully, the whole experience has been a bit disappointing for me.

How can i get my property to sell

I still don’t fully understand what the estate agents are doing to sell my house (besides listing my property for sale on all the property portals), and I don’t really understand what people are looking for when they are viewing my house (apart from a wider path, glass hob and more period features).

What I do know is that within the last 48 hours a house 2 doors down from us has now SOLD and they have been on the market for LESS time than us!

This has made me MEGA-MAD

I have seen this property. It is not as big as ours, has not been fully modernised and is MID terraced to our END terrace.


It was £5k cheaper and on with a different estate agent.

So what do I take from this?

Do I just reduce our price by £5k?

Do I go with the other estate agent who sold the neighbours house?

Honestly, I am not really sure what to do next…

How do you sell a house???

********** UPDATE ***************

Have just spoken to estate agents who sold neighbours house – that was sold within 3 weeks – yes THREE weeks.  So I have that estate agent coming round later today as I need to find out what I am doing wrong!!!

  1. Lucille

    This is disheartening but I’ve heard that it takes 12-18 months to sell a decent looking property. Most buyers will want to knock you down regardless of the condition. It’s a crazy world but persevere!

  2. dave price

    How about going to the estate agents that sold the next door house, if it’s not completed, offer the buyers your house for the same price – take out the agents and you won’t have lost as much of the 5k reduced price.

    Or put it into auction, before hand negotiating that if it doesn’t hit your required reserve price, you pay no auction entry fee’s?

    I’ve done both, and they’ve worked.

    Another thing would be to consider putting the house up through a rental agency – doing the viewings (I’d actually say all viewings regardless) yourself, and show them a mortgage would be cheaper vs rental. Possibly manufacturing a way to help with their deposit. There’s the standard argument that you can’t do this. But I don’t subscribe to “can’t”. There is a way if you need there to be.

    I sold my last property through advertising via rental, even with no desire whatsoever to actually rent it. It’s another route to market.

    Good luck Sammy

    1. Sam

      Dave thanks for your comments.

      I have the other estate agent coming round this afternoon. What I do know is that the other buyers are close to exchange – apparently their house was sold within 3 weeks of being on the market but the agent has only changed the status recently.

      Not sure on the auction route as I have some good contacts and don’t want to ruin my rep if I do that

      I’ve thought about renting it (I have seen £950 pcm would be going rate) and I wondered about doing a “rent to buy scenario”…

      I’ll muse on that some more – thanks so much for the advice I really do appreciate it.

    1. Sam

      Thanks Nick I agree, am on to it now and have the other agent coming out today (who sold neighbours house) It transpires that house was sold within 3 weeks of going on the market and had 3 people bidding on it.

      Get this – the other people who viewed that property have not viewed ours….

  3. ian

    We are starting to look at properties to buy, and have set an upper price we are willing to pay. The problem is if a property is listed for more than that, we don’t know if the vendor would consider reducing the price.

    It takes time to view a property, so I am only viewing properties within our price range, as there are so many unrealistic vendors out there that will not take an offer.

    1. Sam

      thanks so much for sharing Ian, i will bear this in mind and now look to price according to what i will accept as an offer.

      Good luck with your house hunt!

  4. Hmolandlady

    Hi Sam. I’ve been reading your selling experience with interest. I’ve had 2 houses on the market since September – 1 empty and 1 tenanted. They have both been priced BMV as they are too far away for me to manage effectively. The empty one finally has an offer but the whole process is finger-scraping-down-a-blackboard slow. Agent has been very efficient. Other property has had an offer but buyer pulled out at last minute – neither agent nor solicitor bothered tell me for a couple of weeks. We’re about to put a fully tenanted, licensed and refurbished HMO on the market and going to handle the entire process ourselves – I really hope we can be more effective than the agents!! Contacting the agent who sold the other house has to be a sensible way forward? Shame, I thought the high street agent would win and wanted to be surprised by the online one!

    1. Sam

      @HMOLandlady thanks for sharing your experiences – though I am disappointed they have not worked out as yet. Yes, I can fully understand your desire to handle the process yourselves. I have found the service offered by hatched to be great and good value for money. While they have not yet found me a buyer, I still have faith in them!

  5. Simon

    Hi Sam,

    Me again!

    You could try Your Move in Stevenage (I used to live in Bedwell, and later on in the Old Town – Prestatyn Close).

    I bought two flats from them and was impressed. Lettings was very good too.

    This was back in 2005 though!!!

    1. Sam

      Hi Simon lovely to see you again 🙂
      Thanks for your comments and ideas. I have now gone with the agents who sold the neighbours house – am just about to post about it…

    1. Property Invest-err ...

      I laugh at your four months. Just taken me nineteen on a (very nice) refurb, with a fairly pro-active agent, at 85% of average valuation.

      Be thankful it isn’t up North.

        1. Property Invest-err ...

          Yes – and there are many places (at all price levels) which haven’t. Only offers were from bottom-feeding BTL investors. First-time buyer market in particular is dead, many refurbs seem to end up rented.

          1. Sam

            Then you did incredibly well to sell!

            Did you not feel tempted at all to rent the property (I know I feel that temptation?!)

          2. Property Invest-err ...

            Yes – the rental market is (unsurprisingly, given that mortgages are hard to come by) pretty strong in the area and it would have made a decent, if unexceptional, yield. Needed my capital back though.

            Sold to a BTL investor.

          3. Sam

            Interesting that it sold to an investor – I am wondering who is actually buying property right now?!

            Did you make what you hoped for on the project?

            Any keys lessons you care to share?

          4. Property Invest-err ...

            Took about 20% profit out of it, all told, so not disastrous in terms of yield but hopeless given the timescale.

            Lessons – you can’t argue with the market. In absolute terms it was never going to be a perfect property, but as 3 bed terraces go it was nicer than most when done. Don’t think I could really have done anything differently in terms of the refurb to move it more quickly.

          5. Sam

            That’s great you still made a decent return – well done!

            You are so right “you can’t argue with the market”. That’s a great lesson and I wholeheartedly agree with you on that – whether or not I like it!

            Good luck with your next venture 🙂

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