If it feels like selling your home is taking forever you're not alone. New research from Rightmove has found that more than a quarter of properties currently for sale have been on the market for at least six months.
The property website found that 28 per cent of properties have been on its books for half a year or more, while eight per cent of properties have been listed for at least a year.
House sales have been sluggish for the past few years thanks to tax changes, mortgage restrictions and high prices being compounded by Brexit uncertainty. Rightmove said 26 per cent of properties were on the market for six months or more in 2018, and 27 per cent were in 2017.
While there are always a number of factors at play in the market, from overall demand in a particular area to the price and presentation, there are changes a seller can make to entice potential buyers — without dropping the asking price.
“If you’ve failed to find a buyer after several months of marketing, then it could be that overall demand in your area is low due to local market conditions. However, if some properties are selling and yours is not, then you either have a property with limited appeal or the price is too high," said Rightmove's Miles Shipside.
“After six months or more on the market, your property will appear pretty stale and could be ignored by some prospective buyers. A price reduction will be required to make them take notice, or if you do a makeover then make sure new photos and an updated description show it off.”
Here are eight ways to get your home in the best state to avoid reaching that six-month mark.
1. Don't rush to put your home on the market
If your listing isn't ship shape then it could affect your ability to sell the property.
The majority of listings will receive 70 per cent of interest in the first two weeks of being on the market, so know who you want to sell to and make sure you have at least five good quality photos, a floor-plan and a well-crafted description of the property before it goes online.
2. Give the best first impression
First impressions really do count for buyers and anyone coming to the door will make an initial assessment before they've even walked through yours.
Be sure to spruce up the outside of your house if you need to – think painting the front door, hanging a few baskets or giving the garden a tidy.
3. Use the professionals
Use whatever tools you or your agent may have at your disposal. If you're able to use a photographer or your agent can offer one to take pictures of your home, then take advantage to make sure buyers looking online or in estate agents' windows see it at its best from the get go.
4. Clear some space
It's important to help buyers picture themselves in your home, but that can be hard to do if there are toys lying around or family photos covering the walls. De-clutter your home and let potential buyers imagine themselves making it their own.
5. Not everyone likes animals
Pets and property viewings rarely mix – make sure any dogs, cats or hamsters are well out of sight when potential buyers are around — and don't forget to hide the litter tray, too.
6. Listen to advice
Estate agents may not give you the advice you want to hear when you're preparing your home for sale, but it may well be the advice you need.
Don't forget, they deal with dozens of sellers each month and should be giving you honest and impartial help to best market your property.
7. Be accommodating
When it comes to viewings it can sometimes be hard to have the owner in the property when buyers are taking a look around.
It helps to be as accommodating as possible, which sometimes means simply going out and leaving your agent to it.
8. Plan your price
Pricing your home depends on a number of factors, from how much work you've put into the place to how quickly you want to sell it, but it's always key to have a strategy.
Researching how much you can reasonably expect for a home in your neighbourhood, pricing competitively and ultimately being prepared to negotiate is more likely to make the odds of selling in your favour.