Problems in selling your house

You made your decision to sell and move into that wonderful new house in that up-market suburb. But what do you do if you're having trouble selling our house? You've probably made a fundamental mistake. Don't panic! Lets first go back to the basics and see what might have gone wrong before we try and fix it.

The reasons for the non-sale can usually be attributed to the following: Bad marketing, bad timing, bad pricing. The strategy that you follow in marketing your home becomes of paramount importance and the choice of agent or DIY sale is critical. The DIY strategy focuses primarily of pricing and your house is then a commodity. An agent should bring a lot more value in terms of qualified, vetted and interested buyers than you would get on a DIY process.

Bad marketing can sabotage a sale by overexposure, underexposure and incorrect pricing.


  • Too many show days - A home on show week after week creates a sense of urgency and desperation.
  • Too many agents - if your home is with multiple agencies you'll end up with multiple adverts and buyers going from one agency to another will pick up your multiple listing and, never mind the double commission risk, it again detracts from the value.


  • You do need enough effective exposure. Some agencies won't do enough to promote your home but will promote any home for a deal. They could also be trying to minimize costs in the marketing of your home.


  • If you set the initial asking price of your home incorrectly it can be hard to recover from the stigma that will attach to it. Either 'too expensive' or, when you do start adjusting the price, 'too desperate' once again. The rule of thumb is to reduce the asking price by 5% every month or every 2nd show-day for 3 months. If your pricing is correct and the other factors are not adding to the problem, the market is probably to blame for the lack of a sale. You have the choice to reduce even further but I would recommend the more conservative slower approach.


  • Sometimes there are just too many other better-priced homes on the market and yours might get lost in the myriad of options open to buyers. The more desperate sellers in the market, the worse the situation will be for your home. If Joe Bloggs, with a comparable home, is willing to drop his price 30-40% to secure the deal, it adds to the other buyers' attitude and they might expect the same reduction from you.

What now?

It won't help to say 'I told you so' at the point where you're 3 months into marketing your home and you realize that some or all of the above mistakes have been made. Consider withdrawing your property from the market for 2 months and then start afresh. Take the time to work on the feedback you should've received from your show-days. E.g. 'lousy colour in main bedroom', 'high maintenance garden', 'crack in dining room'.

These 2 months should be enough time for most serious buyers out there to have rotated or purchased and moved on and you'll have a 'new' market to deal with. If you're already committed to buying a new home, I hope it's a conditional deal and you can withdraw without penalties.

Now. Choose the right agency. Set your price correctly. Don't overexpose your house. Have a plan.

Happy Selling.

Article by: Dave Welmans -