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My House / Apartment Won’t Sell – What do I Do Now?

Deciding to put a property up for sale is a big decision given the amount of money involved. Choosing an agent, preparing for photographs, installing the “for sale” sign, seeing the listings go live on Daft and MyHome can feel like a little bit of a whirlwind. But what happens if after all of this initial flurry of activity, things quieten down, interest in the property slows and you have no offers? Obviously when listing the property for sale, you hoped for the best, for a bidding war maybe but that hasn’t happened, there is a sense of anti-climax and you are left wondering what can you do now? There are in our view basically five options as follows.

Sit it Out

Many vendors choose this option as it only takes one buyer to make a successful sale. This is particularly popular among vendors who are in no rush to sell. However, if a property has sat on the market for a month or so with no offers, in our view, some action should be considered. Letting a property languish on the market in the hope that someone may come along rarely works out for the best.

Pay for More Promotion

Daft and MyHome both offer property vendors the opportunity to boost their position in search results for an additional fee through their sponsored listing solutions. Auctioneera can provide sponsorship of your listings on both sites for €200+VAT. There are no guarantees that the higher ranks in the search results will drive more interest and/or generate offers but it is probably the best first option when a property is struggling to sell.

Drop the Price

If a property has sat on Daft and MyHome for weeks and months on end with no offers, this is the market speaking to you: this property isn’t worth what you’re asking for it. There is nothing wrong with that, it happens all the time. A vendor and an agent put their best foot forward, ask for a strong price and hope that willing buyers emerge. Events can overtake this ambition such as the launching of a phase of new properties in the area, a weakening housing market more generally, tighter lending regulations from the Central Bank, closing of a large local employer etc. Some estate agents increase the likelihood of a property languishing on the market by pricing it at unrealistic levels in order to win the business day one. This really is a great dis-service to the vendor ie to tell them that it is worth €x in order to win the business knowing full well it isn’t but saying so anyway. It’s cynical and we see it daily with some agents more guilty than others. This is why we accompany all our AMV’s (Advised Market Value) with the underlying research ie we show our roughwork in terms of actual recent sales prices of comparable properties in the area.

If you are determined to sell the property, facing up to the reality that it isn’t worth what you had hoped and dropping the price is the only real viable option. If this route is chosen, it’s better to get the drop over and done with quickly by implementing a pretty sizeable drop as opposed to gradually dropping several times over the course of a number of weeks / months. A meaningful drop can breathe new life into a property and hopefully get a bidding war going, albeit at lower levels.

Change Agent

There is a temptation to blame to agent if a property isn’t selling. We get calls all the time from people with properties for sale that aren’t selling saying “our current agent isn’t doing anything for us – we’d like to switch to Auctioneera.” We ask:

  • Did (s)he have a professional photographer extensively photograph the property?
  • Were 2d floor plans prepared?
  • Is the property live on Daft and MyHome with a professional listing on both?

If the answer to all these queries are in the affirmative, we honestly advise the vendor that there’s not much more the agent can do and that switching to us won’t improve the situation. Alas, some unscrupulous agents will gladly hoover up this type of business on what we believe are false promises that they have some secret formula for finding buyers and making them pay higher prices.

We recently heard a story of an agent who, at the client’s behest, put an advert for the property in a medical publication on the basis that it was an expensive property and doctors have lots of money. Of course, it made no difference whatsoever, as doctors, just like everyone else searching for a property in Ireland, use Daft and MyHome. There always is this tendency to blame the agent for not finding the right buyer. Alas, all the buyers are on Daft and MyHome and if a property on there isn’t selling (assuming photos are top notch and there are no issues with the listings), then blaming the agent, while comforting, isn’t really logical and, in our view, won’t work. In the above example, the agent who agreed to place the ad’ in the medical publication likely knew well it would make no difference but wanted to appease what had become a frustrated vendor.

The honest reality, in our view, is that selling property in Ireland is a commodity service ie every agent does the exact same thing: take photos, list on Daft / MyHome, show the property to interested parties and accept offers from them. Before Daft and MyHome, having a prominent high street presence or a large list of interested buyers may have had value. Due to the network effect of Daft and MyHome, everyone interested in buying a property in Ireland, uses one or the other and if you are on both, all potentially interested parties know your property is for sale. Alas, this reality is anathema to agents looking to justify higher fees owing to a claimed ability to get a higher price for a property – in our view, this is just self-serving guff. Switching agent may feel good in that you are taking action but it is unlikely to have the desired result.

Withdraw From the Market

Sometimes a vendor will need to hit a certain price in order for selling to make sense. For example, a vendor may need to get at least the amount of their outstanding mortgage as otherwise they will be crystallising their negative equity and may choose to withdraw from the market, pay down a bit more of the mortgage and hope for price inflation to ultimately push the property back into positive equity. This is disappointing for all concerned but sometimes is the only option.

Congratulations, Your Offer Has been Placed and Is Now the Highest!