Selling a house quickly

Written by Douglas Ross in Selling

An old house in the woods with ivy running up its sides

Firstly, is your house not selling or are your expectations of the process misaligned with your local market? Every city and every region in Australia has different averages as far as ‘time on market’ is concerned (the average period homes or units/apartments are on the market before they sell), making selling your home quickly hard if you live in certain areas.

Typically, those within the largest markets (Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane) will have the shortest average time on market, but this fluctuates with changes in the local and national market and the economy.

However, if your property has been on the market for at least four weeks, has gone to auction, and has either attracted a price significantly lower than your reserve or hasn’t attracted any interest at all, it may be a good time to reassess a few things. It is not uncommon to have a property passed in at auction and to have to remarket it, but this is no reason not to look at the following reasons why your house won’t sell:

Marketing mishaps

It might seem that the ‘marketing’ of your home is a simple affair. You have photos done, list the property, clean up for house inspections and then go to market. Right? Not necessarily.

A good agent will detail exactly what it is about your house they are going to market and who they are going to market it towards. Be cautious of being given a one-size-fits-all solution for the marketing of your home and be equally cautious of this part of the process being passed over too quickly when in consultation with your agent.

The biggest question to answer is that of who will want to buy your home. If brands make it their number one priority to answer this question, the same should go for your home. The size of your property, its layout, the land it sits on, its condition, its price and its location are all variables that will affect who your ‘target audience’ is.

A house in need of renovation is probably not going to attract a couple with three young children, while a four-bedroom, two-storey home is unlikely to attract a downsizing couple entering retirement.

So, if you are not targeting retirees, should you advertise in print? Print is a relatively small and shrinking part of a marketing campaign, which understandably attracts older buyers who are used to using newspapers to find properties. If you are targeting a young professional couple with a two-bedroom apartment, print may not be necessary.

Secondly, presentation is key when selling a house and you will need to comply with the aspirations of your target audience.  Those who view your photos of the property and then come to an inspection should not find any surprises (photos need to reflect reality), while conveying how your property is suited to that target audience. If you are targeting families, it can be worthwhile to show just how well your home works for families, through the presentation of each room.

A light coloured living room with fireplace and chandelier.

A stunning interior – or is it? If you marketing photos don’t align with reality, your house won’t sell.

Presentation faux pas

Houses in need of some TLC rarely fly off the shelf, unless they are within the inner rings of a city. We have talked about how you should target the styling and presentation of your home towards your target audience, allowing them to imagine themselves living in your property, but there is also the need to ensure your property is presented as well as it can be as far as its condition is concerned.

Minor repairs and cosmetic renovations are a relatively inexpensive but fundamental step in making sure your home doesn’t dissuade potential buyers from investing in your property. This includes internal and possibly external painting, gutter repair, minor landscaping, crack repair and any other issues that may detract from the property’s appeal. Even if the property could be renovated, presenting it as well as you can will inspire confidence in the buyer.

If the property is dilapidated and most of its value is in the land, expect lower returns and a longer time on market. If you can’t get the price you need, consider sitting on it for longer to allow for a change in the market.

House won't sell: a paintbrush, tools and colour samples all held up by a number of people

Take the time to mend disrepair in the home, which can be a leading reason why your house won’t sell.

Puffed up pricing

Are your expectations for your property based on your hopes or research? While a good real estate agent will accurately reflect the value of your home within the market via the listing price, it is important and now commonplace for vendors to have a thorough understanding of the market themselves before selling a house. Using online tools, such as View’s Price Estimate tool, is a great way to get an idea of the value of your home. It gives you comparable properties with which to estimate the value of your home, as well as market-relevant data and the option to receive a property appraisal. Having an ongoing understanding of your property’s value as well as your local and national markets will help to avoid overestimating your listing price, another leading cause as to why your house won’t sell.

Timing taboos

Like pricing your property incorrectly, a lack of knowledge in the market may mean you risk selling your home at the wrong time. There are few agents that are going to knock back your business because they believe you should wait for another six months, so it is up to you to be aware of whether or not it is a seller’s or a buyer’s market, the state of median house or unit values in your area and city and the projections for the market in the long-term. You may find that you are trying to sell a home in a buyer’s market, where there is an oversupply of houses on the market compared to the demand, and your property is either getting lost amongst this supply or is overvalued as a result.

Still worried about selling a house? Check out the ultimate selling guide for more handy hints.