Can't sell your house? Phil Spencer's tips will tell you why – and how to

Phil Spencer advises on how to move your house sale forward when you're struggling to find a buyer

UK property: colourful homes
(Image credit: HomeOwners Alliance )

Phil Spencer has advised both house buyers and house sellers for years, and now he's got some fresh tips for those trying but struggling to sell. Despite reports of a booming housing market, house sales are actually taking longer post-lockdown than they did before, about a month longer on average than pre-pandemic.

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But for some sellers, the delay becomes worryingly long; eventually it becomes obvious that the property is failing to sell altogether. If this is happening to you, Phil Spencer gives reasons for a house failing to sell – and what to do about it – on Move IQ. 

1. Your home has been over-valued

As Phil explains, an overly high asking price is the number one reason why homes fail to sell: 'Your expectations and those of the potential buyers just aren’t marrying up. Quite simply, it could just be too much money, or the property needs some work doing to it.'

Whatever's the reason the property is perceived as overpriced by potential buyers, '[t]he longer you leave it on the market to stagnate, the sadder it will look.' If you've waited for months and months and haven't had any offers, it could be time to consider reducing the price. 

2. You live in a noisy area

If you live next to a busy road or a building site, or another source of noise, you probably no longer hear it – but your prospective buyers almost certainly will, and can 'completely put off some buyers', according to Phil. If the noise is a permanent feature of your property, you will need to be more flexible with accepting a lower price.

3. Your online photos aren't of the best quality

High-quality and attractive photos are crucial to securing interest at the online browsing stage. Quite simply, 'if the photos of your property don’t do it justice, your home will be lost in the noise.' So, pay attention to the quality of promotional material when choosing an estate agent. 

4. Your estate agent isn't up to the job

Speaking of agents, if your house hasn't sold in many months, it may be time to ask some tough questions about how hard the estate agent you've hired is working to sell the property. Phil suggests you ask the following:

  • Have they given you honest feedback
  • Have they done everything possible to sell, including thinking outside the box in terms of who might be a suitable buyer for your home?
  • Have they marketed your property effectively?

5. Your home isn't being presented correctly

Having said all that, there's only so much an estate agent can do if your home isn't suitably presented for a sale. Houses that are messy, full of smelly pets, poorly decorated, or difficult to view tend to put off potential buyers. People tend to be quick to make up their minds, explains Phil: '[t]he first thing a buyer sees, hears and smells when entering your home is essentially make or break.' So, to speed up the sale, give the place a deep clean, hide your pets during viewings, and make sure everything looks (and smells!) beautiful. 

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