Breathing life into a 'stale' property


Q. My house has now been on the market for 6 months without success. Advice please!
A. There is no denying the fact that the market is still fairly tough – and the winter we’ve just had didn’t help either. Even so, 6 months is a long time. Assuming you’re still happy with your agent – and they’ve been keeping you in the loop - I’d say it’s time to take a completely fresh look at things, to re-examine every aspect of your strategy, from the asking price right through to the way your home is presented.

First, ask your agent for a new valuation – if possible, performed by a different member of staff from last time, and using the most up-to-date market data. After all, the single biggest reason why a property doesn’t sell is that the asking price is too high. If you are serious about selling, you may therefore have to bite the bullet and accept that a more realistic asking price is needed.

At the same time, get your agent to a take a fresh look at the condition of your property. They may be able to point out one or two things which, 6 months down the line (and again, after last winter) now need sprucing up in order to enhance its visual appeal.

Some new external photos, perhaps taken from a different angle, are also a good idea. People remember pictures, and if they see the same one over and over again, they simply reject it – something which is particularly true of the internet, where most people now search for property. Many will simply scroll down looking at thumbnails, and ignoring ones they have seen before – so a new picture may well catch their eye. Also, bear in mind that we are now into Spring (at long last!), so if your outside shots look decidedly autumnal, that will be even more of a turn-off.

Finally, even a small thing like moving the For Sale board to a different position can have a positive effect.

Whatever the provisional wing of the consumer lobby might say, none of the above are “estate agents’ dirty tricks.” They’re just good marketing practice – the property equivalent of a greengrocer polishing his Granny Smiths! None of them can absolutely guarantee you a sale, of course, but together they just might attract some fresh attention from buyers – and ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.