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Why is My House Not Selling?
And what can I do to make it sell.
I’ve gotten a few calls lately from clients asking why their house isn’t selling. We recently held a seminar and one of the sessions was how to improve your chances of selling your house. So here’s a look at the market and maybe it will provide some clarification and tips on how to improve your house’s chances of selling.
Is the market dead? Definitely not!
Based on recent activity, the market is very lively and buoyant. We have sold properties in August and have had around 150 enquiries, most of which are genuine buyers and most of whom want to buy within the next 3 months. So the market is by no means dead.
The UK market is very slow and there are few UK buyers, but as they only make up 5% of the actual market, it shouldn’t affect the market too much. Those who search will hunt for a bargain. They are generally looking for something under 150,000. Why that number – I can only guess, but I believe a lot of buyers from the UK are people who decided to move to Spain some time ago.
But with the UK market dipping, they couldn’t sell their houses, so they waited. Then they decided they didn’t want to wait too long and remortgaged their house (June of this year I believe was the highest for several years). This means that instead of £300,000 to £400,000 they had to have between £60,000 and £100,000 and are now looking for a second home rather than a main residence.
For the rest of the Northern Europeans, mainly the Dutch and Belgians and some Nordic countries fall below. People from the Benelux countries are looking for a lifestyle change and tend to be younger families or those not quite ready for retirement who want to earn a small living. They tend to look for large villas with good sized plots but prefer to stay close to the beach. Others are looking for bigger premises to operate as a hotel.
The rest of the market is Spanish. Hispanics are still buying and at least 60% of our inquiries and 80% of our sales are to Hispanics. But generally they’re looking for a first home or beachside vacation home. They also don’t have much more than 250,000 whatever they buy.
So if we look at the breakdown of what people are looking for, it’s roughly as follows
Terraced houses and apartments 15 minutes from the beach – up to 150,000
Terraced houses and apartments in the hinterland approx. 100-120,000
Beach apartments 1.-3. line up to 200,000
Villas by the beach between 200 – 400,000
Villas inland with large plots for around 300,000
There is currently a good market for properties to reform around 100,000, but most people looking for this type of property want a real bargain – ie do some work on it and double their money.
Hotels and rural areas – 200,000 – 800,000 – both on the beach and inland – at least 6 beds
And that’s pretty much what we’re seeing.
So why isn’t your property selling?
The most obvious reason is price. Regardless of the market, there are always buyers and all well-priced properties will sell. It is estimated that the market in this area (La Safor area and Marina Alta) is 30% overpriced and from what we have seen I would agree in most cases. How do you know if your property is priced right? Well, a simple rule of thumb is this.
If you own a villa/cottage etc. with land, use the following to calculate the value of your land.
1. if the land is urban, then inland it costs 25–80 euros per square m². On the beach it costs up to 250/m depending on the location (this top price is in prime areas like Moraira with sea views ) in Oliva it would be around 100-130 per m so multiply the number of meters by that number and you get the land value.
2. If there is a suelo rustico, regardless of the house, M pays 7-10 euros.
3. To calculate the value of the house, if it is new, it is worth approx. 1100 euros M, if it is old, 900, if it needs reform, then 500-750, depending on what needs to be done.
4. If you have an apartment or townhouse, you multiply the square meter by 1300 if it’s new, or 1100 if it’s old, 500 if it needs a lot of reform, or somewhere in between. Obviously there is a premium if you are closer to the apartment. beach (like it or not, people still want to be near the beach and prefer to buy there), so add about 20% – 30% for similar properties by the beach (within 10 km radius). Also, if the property is an apartment and does not have an elevator, deduct 20% of this value
Of course, this doesn’t take into account things like pools, location, views, whether the apartment has an elevator (which devalues the house by 10-25% depending on the floor, if there is no elevator), etc., but it gives a rough and ready guide to the value of your home. If it’s over 10%, you’re going to have trouble selling in today’s market because it’s similar to the formula banks use to calculate the value of a mortgage.
What can you do to make your house sell?
You will need to work closely with your agent on this matter. Most agents work hard to sell in today’s climate, but sellers who say they want to sell put up so many obstacles that make it difficult, let them down badly. The following is a checklist of what you can do to sell your house.
Before the first visit
1. Clean IT! When the agent comes to take pictures – do you really want people to see junk in the spare bedroom, tools all over the living room floor and a dog basket in the kitchen – no of course not – so clean your house before the agent comes to take pictures and before every visit. It sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t and have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. So don’t be surprised if the buyer has the same attitude and leaves.
2. Be available. There is nothing more frustrating than hearing “I can’t do it tomorrow, I have to go to the store” or some other excuse. We invite people from the UK to look at houses and they usually have a couple of days here. When your agent calls to ask for a viewing – make the time (or don’t whine about your house not selling). If you can’t do it, ask someone else to do it. It’s better to give the key to the agent. He is working for you to help you sell your house – so help him. Delaying for two days gives the buyer the opportunity to see 10 or more houses – so yours may not even be visited.
3. Look at the price. It’s unfortunate that prices in Spain are generally set by the buyers – and the agents don’t bother to tell them whether it’s right or wrong. Ask your agent to do a proper appraisal. Or better still pay for a bank appraisal. Then set your price below that. Keep in mind that an agent’s commission must be added to the price – 3-6% is normal, although you may be able to negotiate with your agent. But do you really think your house is worth what you’re asking? If it’s 5% off, it could be the difference between getting customers and not. In almost all cases when a house doesn’t sell it’s because of the price – usually they are more expensive but the owner believes his house is the best – we all do a reality check don’t we
4. Time for change. Paint the house. If it is a wool color inside and out. It’s a small cost that makes a big difference. It gives the house a clean feel and paints it in bright non-offensive colors like bark or dare I say magnolia/egg shell. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, you won’t live there much longer.
5. Get rid of clutter. Even large rooms can feel tiny if there is a lot of clutter around. Just take what you need to live with – keep the rest in the garage or rent a storage unit. Clutter is the second biggest killer of home sales after cleaning.
6. Consider remodeling – it can be done quite cheaply. A few soft furnishings, well-placed pictures and a mirror in the right place, a table like for dinner, plants placed in strategic places – it doesn’t cost much, but the effect is incredible.
1. Make sure it is cleaned and everything is organized.
2. Remove pets If you have cats, dogs or other animals, get rid of them when people come over. Your dog may be a little gem, but many people are afraid of dogs and don’t want to be around when dogs are around.
3. Also, make sure you get rid of pet odors before visitors come. If you have cats, NEVER let them in the kitchen (or even the house) when there is a guest – you might think they are the cleanest pets on earth – but a visitor won’t. Also, remember that many people experience allergic reactions to cats – don’t lose sales because of it. Take the dogs out for a walk (just don’t chain them outside because they still bark and can scare people).
4. In the summer, turn on the AC for half an hour beforehand, in the winter, the heating. A comfortable temperature is 21 degrees. It creates an atmosphere and people generally feel comfortable at that temperature.
5. Open all doors and windows – unless of course it’s raining cats and dogs outside. Make the place bright and airy – it’s a great selling tool – even to Spanish buyers. And make sure all the blinds are open – don’t sit in a dark house when visitors come.
6. Make an impressive entrance. The entrance is the first thing people see and the first impression is the most important. Clean up the garden, tidy it up, put plants outside the door, make it welcoming. If you live in an apartment, make sure that the common entrance is clean and tidy, remove bicycles and strollers from the entrance – a friendly word with the neighbor is enough.
7. It smells. Get rid of any odors. Do not cook immediately before smelly food such as garlic or fish. It can be annoying. I went to show a house once and the owner cooked something terrible – it smelled like old wellies and made my eyes water – we got out of there so quickly. Shame because it was a nice house.
8. Be cheerful. If you look unhappy, the buyer will sense it and probably won’t want to be there. Ideally, leave the house when the visitor arrives and let the agent do their job. This can be unpleasant for an owner-occupier buyer. This means they cannot open themselves to an agent.
9. Be quiet. Never try to sell your house. There is an agent for that. What you might think of as a unique feature and selling point could be someone’s worst nightmare. You don’t know what the client has told the agent beforehand, and your pearls of wisdom may be exactly what they didn’t want to hear – so keep quiet unless you’re asked a question. Then, of course, answer honestly.
One of the most annoying things about Spanish estate agents is that they rarely call you afterwards to let you know what’s going on. If they don’t call you, call them. Find out what the feedback was. Ask the agent to inform you of the customer’s feedback before the visit and LISTEN to what they have to say.
If it’s something you can change without a problem, change it. But always call the agent afterwards – give it a day or so.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas to help you sell your house. If you are desperate to sell and have a
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