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Why is My Development Not Selling?

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

This is a very interesting question now, given we are in the midst of a mini boom.

Even though you may have an amazing build, quite simply, there could be a number of reasons why you are not selling. Learn what these reasons could be and what to do about them.

Before we get into the detail - let's remind ourselves for a moment, what you are selling - ah yes, a property not a home.

The respective definitions are:


"a building or buildings and the land belonging to it or them."


"the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household."

This distinction is important for the reasons we will talk about later.

Zoopla has confirmed it takes 27 days on average to sell a home (not a property). By day 30 if you've not had any offers on your development, you should be considering a revised strategy.

Here's 4 reasons why your development may not be selling and what to do about them.

Empty Property Syndrome

Yes you heard us right. If your property consists of empty rooms, it's highly likely your buyers will ignore your listing when they are searching on-line. They'll also be confused when they do a viewing. Having an empty property will raise conflicts for the buyer because they will rightly wonder whether their furniture pieces will fit. They'll also be curious about the purpose of some rooms because you've not set that out clearly for them.

Key Fact - 80% of buyers struggle to visualise themselves in any property, never mind any empty one!

Poor Marketing Content

It's very important that your digital images sell buyers the dream lifestyle which is possible from living in your development. As your property has empty rooms, it's highly likely your buyers will move on from your listing, particularly if there are other empty developments for sale. Buyers eyes will naturally be drawn to furnished properties instead.

Key Fact - Buyers spend seconds viewing properties on line.

Asking Price Too High

Now that your property has been on the market a while, spend some time getting familiar with what's going in your local housing market so you can adjust your pricing strategy if needed. Sold house price data is easily available on a number of property portals including - Zoopla, Rightmove and On the Market.

If you sense the pricing is creating a lack of buyer interest, immediately reach out to your estate agent - they should actively listen to your concerns and address these and do so quickly.

Here's a couple of ways to see how your agent performs against the local competition -

Key Fact: Sellers are achieving within 95.64% of the selling price so it's absolutely essential that your development is priced right.

Partially Furnished

Getting the buyer to connect with your property because you:

- placed a sofa in a room

- added a bedframe to a bedroom

- added lampshades

- laid turf

is going to be really difficult. Buyers cannot imagine themselves living in a partially furnished property because it does not create that aspirational living that they aspire to have.

Key Fact - 80% of buyers struggle to visualise themselves in any property, never mind a partially furnished property!

What Options Do I have If My Development is Not Selling?

You have several options:

1. Do Nothing

Hope that the current mini boom will send a buyer your way - putting your head in the sand will not help. The longer your property sits on the market, the more buyers will think there is a problem with it. Tackle this issue head on.

2. Reduce your sale price

Normally estate agents recommend that you reduce by at least £25,000 because otherwise you won't incentivise buyers to reconsider or look at your home with a fresh pair of eyes. Unless your pricing is inconsistent with your local competition, we'd recommend against reducing your pricing at this point.

3. Change estate agent or go multi estate agent

You will be tied into an agreement with your estate agent for a certain amount of time so if you decide within that time you want to change agent, you'd have to serve notice and find another agent. This takes time and patience and will inevitably delay the overall time your property spends on the market. The alternative is to go multi-agent. With this option, your fees will be higher.

Unless you think your estate agent is providing you with a poor service, we'd recommend you work with them during your lock in period - share your concerns and discuss options and monitor how they are delivering on their promises. As you come to the end of your lock in period, evaluate whether they are the right agents for the job. Here's a useful guide on how to find the right estate agent for you here.

4. Professional Staging

Before you consider changing estate agent, going multi agent or even worse reducing your sale price, we would recommend you PAUSE. All these actions will impact your selling timeline and reduce the amount of money you will pocket if and once a sale goes through.

An investment in professional staging will be significantly less than any price reduction you will have to make. It's also the most effective marketing strategy there is. This is after all why large developers have consistently implemented the "show home" look - it works.

The further positives of professional staging are that you:

  • are likely to sell for at least 8% more

  • will sell more quickly - 3 times faster than a non-staged home in fact!

Why do we say this, because the evidence backs us up. The latest Staging Association UK & Ireland report shows that 100% of developers responded with a YES answer for all of the questions below:

  • YES - Did staging increase the number of viewings?

  • YES - Did the properties you staged sell faster than the non-staged ones?

  • YES - Did the properties you listed with professional photos get more viewings than properties with no images or poor quality ones?

  • YES - Does a professional stager stage your properties?

  • YES - Has home staging been a helpful marketing tool when having your property listed?

  • YES - Does home staging have an effect on most buyers’ view of the property?

And, 83% of these developers stated they received an increase in the buyer offer by as much as 10%+. This is a considerable return on investment, given the low investment required which typically is in the range 1-2% of the property value.

Using the services of a professional stager will ensure that you have an unbiased opinion on how to add value to your development. It also means that they bring with them a superior understanding of the local housing market. They use this expertise to turn the development into a home which has stylish interiors and reflects the needs of the widest buyer audience. The best part, is that professional stagers can transform a development into a home quickly and cost effectively.

How sort style and stage can help

Whatever the size, shape or value of your development, we can maximise its appeal to your target market.

Our professional staging services means we do this by:

1. Understanding your target market and your competition

2. Identifying and tackling head on any red flags that would otherwise put off your target market, either when the buyer visits your property or as part of the buyer survey

3. We then focus on maximising your property's appeal to your target market, in and out with our well proven staging methodology. We have a range of home staging, virtual and property staging services - all tailored to your specific needs.

If you professionally stage your home, you will be that step closer to securing a sale.

Here's a look at what we can do and did for one of our recent developer clients:

If you want to sell and add value to your investment, call us now on +44 7984 005 626 for YOUR no-obligation 30 minute discussion

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