Has Anybody Put Their House Up For Sale And Years Later Hasn’t Had A Buyer Yet?

Two white and brown armchairs

In most housing markets, the expectation is that a reasonably priced, well-presented property will sell within weeks or months at most. However, some homes sadly languish on the market for years without attracting a buyer. Sellers become increasingly exasperated as their efforts to find a purchaser remain fruitless for extended periods.

In this article, we’ll examine why some properties fail to sell for years on end, and how sellers can adapt their strategy to finally secure a sale. With persistence, creativity and a willingness to compromise, that elusive deal can eventually happen.

Reasons Homes Don’t Sell Quickly

To understand prolonged sales situations, let’s first review the main reasons properties fail to find buyers promptly:

  • Overpricing – an ambitious valuation above market rates deterring interest.
  • Dated interiors – styles, fixtures and décor that are stuck in the past.
  • Location and access – remote, rural or hard-to-access places.
  • Structural issues – serious defects highlighted in a survey deterring buyers.
  • Narrow target market – highly niche properties like farms.
  • Local economic decline – depressed areas with falling employment.
  • Owner stubbornness – refusing to negotiate or market effectively.
  • Covenants on property – restrictive stipulations limiting alterations.
  • Ongoing builds nearby – putting buyers off with noise and disruption.

Where multiple factors like these combine, the property sits unsold for an extended period as buyer after buyer passes it over.

How Long is Reasonable to Sell a House?

The average property in the UK finds a buyer within 2-3 months. Around 90% sell within six months. Anything beyond 9-12 months would be considered abnormally slow unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If your home remains on the market after 2 years or more, it’s certainly time to reassess your pricing, presentation and overall sales strategy.

Staying Motivated as a Seller

The first challenge of a lengthy sales process is simply staying positive and motivated. After 6 months to a year with no offers, even the most resilient seller struggles not to lose heart. It takes real tenacity to keep marketing effectively when the property has become “stale” in buyers’ eyes.

Combat despair by reviewing your initial motivations for selling. Reread your property wishlist or envision your dream next home. Look back at how far you’ve come already. Consider new hobbies or trips you could pursue in this transitionary phase. Share challenges with trusted friends. By sustaining your energy and focus, the right buyer will come.

Adjusting Your Strategy Over Time

To improve stale listings, evolving your strategy over time is essential:

  • Refresh marketing – new photos, 3D tours, videography and copy showing improvements.
  • Enhance kerb appeal with new garden landscaping, paintwork or driveway upgrades.
  • Revise pricing based on new comparable sales and market data.
  • Offer additional incentives like including furnishings or appliances to boost value.
  • Change agents if current ones have failed to generate interest.
  • Improve staging – rearrange rooms, and reduce clutter to create space.
  • Address any repairs flagged in past buyer surveys proactively.
  • Consider auction listings or virtual open houses on social media.
  • Be more flexible on viewings and negotiate pragmatically on offers.

Tweaking the formula until you find the secret sauce for this particular property is crucial. Persisting with the same approach for years on end simply won’t work.

Should I Rent Out The Property Instead?

If sales efforts remain stalled after several years, renting out the property is an option. While not ideal, covering your costs through rental income is preferable to paying mortgages and bills on an empty home.

You can still list the property as available for sale or lease. This flexibility broadens your options for finding a suitable tenant or buyer. Just ensure you clearly understand landlord obligations and that the property meets rental standards before listing.

When Should I Consider Lowering The Price?

If you have resisted dropping your price for years, but find no buyers, a reduction unfortunately becomes inevitable. As a rule of thumb, if you have had no solid offers after 3-6 months, reducing the price by 5% can stimulate interest.

After a year with no activity, dropping around 10% below the original price, or matching new comparables in the area, is often required. At the two-year mark, pricing 20% under initial expectations may be needed. While difficult to swallow, realistic pricing is truly key to finally attracting a buyer.

Staying Patient For The Right Deal

When you finally receive a reasonable offer after years of waiting, be very wary of rejecting it out of stubbornness. Even if the price seems slightly undervalued, the certainty of an end to your sales ordeal cannot be understated.

That said, don’t simply rush into the first lowball offer in desperation either. Negotiate firmly but fairly. Compromise on a number you still feel comfortable accepting. Assess sincere buyers very seriously to avoid another year of languishing unsold. Patience must be balanced with pragmatism to complete long-awaited deals.


Having your property remain unwanted year after year despite your best sales efforts and encountering challenges such as covenants on property can be demoralising. However, understanding the reasons it hasn’t sold, adapting your strategy, and being flexible on pricing are essential steps toward achieving that breakthrough sale. Stay resilient and proactive, acknowledging when compromise, including addressing covenants on property, is necessary. With the right mindset and approach, even the most challenging homes, hindered by factors like covenants on property, can eventually find suitable buyers given time. The key is to balance perseverance with realism, addressing issues like covenants on property when necessary to enhance market appeal.

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