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Why isn’t my house selling?

July 01, 2024

It’s the nightmare scenario no-one wants to face. It’s time to sell your beloved home - and interest in your piece of real estate has taken a nose-dive. While it can feel like an eternity when selling, and you’re pinning your hopes on a sale so you can move on, don’t give up - there are solutions.

Below, we explore seven reasons a property may not be selling as fast as you’d hoped, and - more importantly - what to do about them.

7 Factors of home sale frustration

1. Market conditions

After a period of huge jumps in demand during the pandemic, with property values at record highs in May 2022, the market in Canberra has returned to a period of normalcy. According to Core Logic , dwelling growth for the most recent quarter 1Q24, was 0.7%.

As Narelle Casey from Independent Property Group points out, the economic stability of Canberra provides a steady demand for housing. 

“Canberra’s residential property market doesn't fluctuate the way Sydney and Melbourne’s does, which can be quite a benefit,” she says.

“It means there’s less risk when it comes time to sell, because there is almost guaranteed incremental increases in value over time,” she says. “It’s time in the market that matters - not timing the market. Canberra is a market that usually delivers strong, levelled growth over the period of home ownership.”
canberra housing cycles

Source: Core Logic, June 2024 [page 17]

2. Pricing strategy


The importance of comparing your home’s price with similar homes in the area cannot be underestimated, as potential buyers will be totally put off if it’s set too high.

Market comparison: 

“Strategic pricing is of extreme importance,” says Narelle. “Real Estate Agents have greater access to on-demand market information as well as off-market results and, combined with experience in touch points like condition and presentation, this is their specialty.”

Price reductions:

So when is it the right time to consider reducing the price? The first thing you should do is check the average number of days local homes spend on the market with your agent. According to Core Logic , the national medium time on market was 31 days in the three months to May, which is steady on this time last year. Generally speaking, if your home has been listed for longer than average for the local area, you may need to consider a price reduction. 

Discuss the benefits of a comparative market analysis (CMA) with your agent to determine fair market value. This will provide an accurate estimate of your home’s value in the current market based on recently sold similar properties in the area.

3. Marketing

There are several fundamental aspects of a good marketing plan to promote your property and you need to consider these before it’s listed to achieve a great sale. It’s in this area that a reputable real estate agent can really make the difference in selling your home faster and for a better price.

A photographer needs to take quality professional photos that accurately reflect your home’s features. But before this can happen, be prepared to go through a major declutter, clean and potential interior staging (see below). Next, you need compelling advertising copy that communicates the features of your home, including potential lifestyle benefits. Talk to your agent about the benefits of a 3D / video walk-through. Also a good floor plan is essential to attract serious buyers.

Digital marketing plays a crucial part of a targeted marketing campaign and there are various techniques to get listings seen, beyond online portals. The use of an agency’s extensive database of current buyers, teamed with social and Google Ads - as well as traditional print media - will reach the broadest audience of potential buyers.

4. Property presentation

The first few weeks your home is on the market are critical, so let’s start with curb appeal. First impressions matter and this is where maintaining the exterior appearance comes in. Make sure lawns are mowed, hedges clipped, the garden, pathways and driveway have been tidied and the outside of the home is in good condition. A lick of paint here and there (especially on fences and the front door) won’t go astray.

Next is staging the interior of your home. The biggest one here is to declutter your home, especially if you’ve been there a long time. Put stuff in storage if you have to! Make sure pantries and wardrobes are organised, all pets beds and food have disappeared, some major cleaning has taken place, and the air smells fresh. A new doormat and pot plants at the entrance are a great tip - as are fresh flowers inside.

You will have enough on your plate with planning a move, so outsource jobs to those who do them best. Get your place professionally cleaned and have a property stylist create a beautiful, welcoming space. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make. Initial time or investment before the campaign starts can make a huge difference in reducing the overall time a property is on the market.

5. Availability and inspections

The role of 'Open for Inspections' is to generate maximum interest. This is where the presentation of the property must be immaculate. But in addition, you need to be prepared to make your home accessible at other times for potential buyers to view.

Ensure your agent is approachable, present and follows up with communications, and make sure you take advantage of any feedback from showings to make necessary adjustments.

6. Working with the right real estate agent

Your best strategy is to choose a real estate agent who is the best fit for you. Not only do they need the right experience and knowledge to evaluate your home, identifying opportunities and proposing effective marketing strategies, but that you feel comfortable with and will provide the guidance you need while selling your home.

7. Unconventional properties

Location challenges, irregular modifications, too much 'personality'- there will always be properties out there that are considered unconventional. 

“Unique properties aren’t for everyone and realistically, they usually take longer to sell,” says Narelle. “If needed, renovations can have a significant impact on selling - and the price. Renovation works make impressive differences to the sale price of the property.”

That said, some suburbs have a ceiling price that no amount of renovations or improvements can break through, and so you may not see the same return on investment. This is why we would definitely recommend you talk to your agent who will advise on the best approach to selling an unusual or challenging property.

“The reality is, there is a buyer for every home, no matter what,” Narelle said.

When it comes to Canberra, Independent Property Group understands the local market. In fact, we are one of the city’s leading agencies, operating and achieving excellent results for our clients for more than 60 years. As always, we invite you to talk to one of our experienced agents who will advise on how to sell your home in a more effective way.

Why is no-one viewing my house?

If your property hasn’t sold within a month then something is generally wrong. According to the top 3 factors for homes not selling are location, presentation and price. Usually it’s the price that has been set too high or the home is not presented in a way that makes it appealing for buyers.

In the unfortunate case that this happens, we would recommend taking your home off the market in order to deal with the issue or issues and then relaunching with the guidance of your agent.

I can’t sell my house but I need to move

Moving out is usually an advantage in the sales process, so don’t let this stop you. Agents are well rehearsed in dealing with the inspections process and can always handle this part remotely if they need to.


Selling your property is a big undertaking, and it can be overwhelming. While it can be frustrating to see buyers passing you by, and even other properties whizzing on - then sold - at seemingly lightning speed, remember: it’s never too late to get your home sold. It’s all about patience and persistence - and possibly adjusting the sale strategy after talking to your agent. Trusting the experts - and working with those who know what they’re doing - is half the battle.

Get in touch today for a free appraisal and find out how we’ll make it happen.