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Why isn't my Flat in London Selling?

By Maurice Shasha  //  Mon 18th December 2023
You've decided to sell your flat in Knightsbridge, Marble Arch or another central London hotspot - but you're just not getting the viewings, never mind the offers. You might be wondering what to do next.
Why Is My Flat Not Selling
The market may feel uncertain if you're looking to sell your home in central London. The cost of living and changing interest rates have impacted the market (average mortgage rates have more than doubled since 2021). Zoopla has reported lower house prices in 2023, while according to Rightmove, the market has slowed down after a frantic couple of years.

If you're struggling to sell your flat, remember you can't do much about external forces. However, once you've decided to sell, there are things you can do to improve your chances of finding a buyer and maximising your offers. If you're wondering why your Knightsbridge or Marble Arch flat isn't selling, these issues might be the cause.

1. Your asking price is too high


Too high an asking price is one of the biggest reasons homes don't sell – it puts buyers off, whatever their budget. In the current financial climate, buyers are being cautious, and mortgage costs are higher. If your flat is priced just above a stamp duty threshold, this may put off your target market. Overpricing also pushes your property into a higher search bracket on property portals, meaning as many people won't see it.

The solution: Avoid overpricing in the first place by researching the going rate for similar properties, and steer clear of estate agents who are overpricing to win your business. Buyers can easily compare your home to other London flats by searching online, so be honest. Sellers who have reduced the price can attract a new wave of interest, encouraging a quicker sale. Talk to your agent about a strategy change if you think your home is too expensive.

2. Your flat lacks kerb appeal


Many buyers make up their minds about a flat at first glance - especially concerning central London period properties. But if yours is in a block or large building with a maintenance contract, you may be unable to repaint the exterior.

The solution: Use simple tricks to improve first impressions - adding window boxes, repainting or cleaning your front door, keeping the access tidy, or washing the windows. 

3. You haven't decluttered enough


A cluttered home makes it harder for buyers to imagine it as their own – and may make them think your property is cramped, even if there's ample room. If your flat has limited space, decluttering is more crucial than ever, making the rooms feel larger.

The solution: Try staging your property to attract buyers – decluttering, organising and depersonalising your home can make all the difference. Remove some personal touches and family photos to let prospective buyers picture themselves living there.

Put your belongings in storage if necessary, including any extra furniture which overcrowds the space. You can even give the walls a lick of paint in a neutral colour to maximise your London flat's appearance to homebuyers.

4. Your marketing is ineffective


Your flat needs to be listed on the main portals - Rightmove and Zoopla as well as your agent's own website and social media, and they need to be proactively contacting the right buyers. Your property's marketing materials should show it off to the best advantage. You won't attract viewings if your listing lacks key details or the photos make the property look unappealing.

The solution:
Your listing needs to be spot on, with perfect photos and all your property's benefits made clear – including parking, outdoor space, a work room or good transport. If you're missing these must-haves, speak to your estate agent.

5. It is the wrong time of year to sell


Maybe your flat's not selling due to the time of year. In the height of summer, many people are on holiday. November and December are often quiet as buyers postpone their plans until after Christmas.

The solution: You may be better off taking your property off the housing market until a busier month. Prepare and declutter your home while you wait before relisting at a better time. Spring is traditionally the best time to sell, but the market starts picking up in January, and early autumn can also be a popular time to move.

6. The property market is 'cold'


As we've said, market conditions are volatile, and you may find house sales are slowing down in your area. Keep up with the property news and regularly check in with your estate agents for the latest local picture.

The solution: If potential buyers aren't coming forward, you might delay your move until the market improves. Use this time to bring the property to pristine condition. You may not be able to change the situation, but you can put yourself in the best possible position.

7. You're accepting the wrong offers


If a buyer isn't ready to move or is part of a long chain, you could face delays or complications in the sale. You may be left waiting while they find a buyer, or both parties could have a completely different timescale in mind.

The solution: Ask questions, don't take anything for granted, and make sure you know that your buyer has funding in place. What place of the chain is your buyer at, and how is their house sale progressing? Don't be afraid to talk about proposed moving dates at an early stage.

It's common to prioritise cash buyers or first-time buyers with a mortgage offer in place. They aren't reliant on their house sale progressing successfully, so while nothing is guaranteed to go to plan, your chances will improve.

8. Your property chain is off putting


If you're in a chain that is faltering or struggling to find the right place to buy, this could be a turn-off for house buyers. They may anticipate problems down the line, but there are ways to shorten the chain.

The solution:
Chain-free transactions are very appealing, so consider going into rented accommodation once you sell. Your buyer may gain confidence from knowing there's no chain on your side, giving you an advantage. This would also make you a chain-free buyer for your next transaction, giving you more leverage when you come to buy.

9. Your estate agent isn't working hard enough


If you're doing everything right but still not getting the interest, this could be down to your agent. Maybe they are disorganised, short-staffed, or have taken on too many properties. The issues could be their marketing strategy or a lack of helpful feedback after viewings.

The solution: Consider how the relationship works, but check your contract before switching. You could try to inject some competition by listing with two estate agents, but you may pay more in commission.

If you're looking to sell in Kensington, Belgravia, Mayfair, Marylebone or around Hyde Park, we can advise you about the right time to sell and how to market your property for maximum appeal. Give us a call today.  

Offices at

Marble Arch
29 Edgware Road
London
W2 2JE
f: 020-7258-3090
Knightsbridge
34 Beauchamp Place
London
SW3 1NU
f: 020-7581-7005