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Struggling to sell house

I will use first person to make the narrative simpler, but the seller does not want to post the actual advert here so unfortunately can't get opinions on the house itself. All comments and opinions appreciated.

"I bought my mid terrace in outer London in 2019 for 550k, in hindsight that was too much to pay. The previous owner had bought it for 505k in 2017, and they also had a lot of difficulty selling. I spent 20k on improvements including replacing kitchen and bathrooms.

The road has mixed housing, ranging from shared ownership flats at 150k to semis at 800k, but even the other mid terraces (including both neighbours and the houses opposite) vary in size / number of bedrooms, and no terraces sold in the past year, so difficult to value.

Nonetheless I got 4 agents to come in June this year. They all independently said 625 or 650. So listed it at 637,500 with the agent who had recently sold a semi on my road for its asking price of 720.

After 3 weeks there were 25 viewings who all liked the house but many said the rooms were too small. Price reduced to 620, another 3 weeks and another 25 viewings, same feedback.

Price reduced to 585, only 10 viewings this round but got one offer for 560 who had an AIP and deposit of 125. Two weeks later that buyer decided to pull out because they felt that the mortgage payments would leave them with too little disposable income. Then two more offers for 525 and 540 and the agent could not get them to go higher. Agent can only suggest going down to 560 and waiting.

I got in three new agents who were presented with all of the story. They all said they didn't think it was worth any less than 585, and they don't understand why there haven't been any better offers.

All had different ideas on how they would change the marketing strategy, so the question now is which of the new agents to choose. They all offer the same commission and broadly the same terms, and they all recently sold properties nearby but not on this road, for close to original asking price.

Agent 1 is has a large branch network and think the original agent was mainly targeting people with a lower budget hence the low offers, so they would target people with a higher budget looking e.g. 5 minutes drive closer to central London, where you can only get flats with smaller floor area for 550k. The rooms of those flats are smaller than my rooms so they don't understand why that was such an issue.

Agent 2 is a small local agent and say they really get to know buyers, to find ones who actually are interested my type of property, not just throwing as many viewers as possible and hoping one sticks. Says all the terraces in this and adjacent roads have rooms of this size, so if that is a problem they should be looking in a completely different area.

Agent 3 is a medium-sized agent who says if they identify a buyer who might be interested in my property they will bring them to one on for 500 and one on for 650, so hopefully they will see mine is in the middle and understand that is what they can afford. Of course, my property will also be used as the upper/lower examples for buyers with different budgets."


  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Forumite Posts: 1,237
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    Ok so when things aren't selling easily EA's will of course become even more salesperson like so take everything with a pinch of salt.

    We are hitting a period where people start looking again with a view to getting moved by Christmas but the higher interest rates and blunted the market somewhat so no guarantees.

    There is no magic answer I am afraid but a renewed listing nice and shiny will bring some new viewers in.

    Go with your gut on what EA to use.
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Forumite Posts: 11,183
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Having replaced the kitchen and bathroom may have cost you £20K but it's unlikely to have added much, if anything to the value of the property.

    rising interest rates mean people are finding it harder to get mortgages and are much more aware of affordability 0- I suspect that there are a lot of people finding they can't really afford what they want and perhaps still adjusting to the new realities, so it may be that a lot of your potential buyers are still adjusting to the fact that what they can afford is a smaller property than what they were expecting to be able to afford.

    For agents, I'd look at which agents have sold similar properties - I appreciate that there aren't any similar on your street that have sold recently, but an agency which is mostly selling flats and smaller terraces may have more experience with properties like yours, and a bigger pool of potential buyers. 

    That said, if the offers you are getting are in the £525-£540K range that may be the realiststic value of your property 

    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • MultiFuelBurner
    MultiFuelBurner Forumite Posts: 1,237
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    This (I don't agree)

    Having replaced the kitchen and bathroom may have cost you £20K but it's unlikely to have added much, if anything to the value of the property.

    This is not completely true, some only believe in sq feet price and others know the decor can add value to a home.

    You know the visual difference you will have made a d of course with the internet the savvy buyer will also see this on past listings and your new listing.

  • JM68
    JM68 Forumite Posts: 46
    10 Posts First Anniversary
    Sixty viewings and only one offer suggest it was priced too high and/or it really is a niche property.

    Using the online Nationwide House Price index calculator, it suggests a house that sold in London in Q3 2017 for 505,000 should be worth 553,000 in Q2 2023 (latest full Q data available).

    As TBagpuss says, the market is now starting to be really impacted by mortgage rate rises.

    In theory in a downturn it should all level out i.e. if you drop x% so should properties you want to buy.  In practice, it often takes time for that to pan out.  Also, and potentially yourself included here, some will inevitably sell (if they have to sell) for close to or even less than hey paid, because of where the cycle was when they purchased.

    On the EA front they will all overprice, claim local full asking price sales, and give you some pitch about how they have a special strategy to find the buyer.  Its what they do generally but even more so during a downturn.

    But as long as its on Right move with decent pictures and a clear floor plan virtually everyone who is looking in that area will see it, so don't 'over think' their marketing talk.

    And good luck!!
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