A Guide to Selling Your House when the Market (Inevitably) Slows Down
In recent times the property market has been hot. It’s been fairly easy to sell a house quickly. But what happens when the housing market slows down? How do you go about selling your home quickly in a slow market?
Firstly, Get Your House Sale-Ready
In a hot market, buyers are so keen to buy a house that it might not matter what your house looks like. In a slow market, however, it’s important that there’s nothing wrong with it that could put potential buyers off and slow down the sale.
Start by taking a long, hard look at your house. Don’t forget to consider what it looks like from the road. Is the roof in need of some repairs? Could it do with a new coat of paint? Is the garden overgrown? Are any rooms long overdue some redecoration? Are the carpets worn or grubby? Don’t forget that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so think about whether these would benefit from a facelift.
While this means you might have to spend some money on getting your home ready for sale it could give your home a better chance of selling and for the price you want.
Present Your House Well
As well as doing repairs, present your house so that it looks like a nice place to live.
Decluttering is a piece of advice that’s often given when selling a house. Decluttering can help depersonalise your home. So prospective buyers can visualise themselves living there. It can also make it look larger.
Make sure your home is clean and fresh and smells clean and fresh and you might even want to think about cleverly staging your home to make it more appealing.
Sell Your House at the Right Time of Year
When the property market is slow it’s best to pick the right time of the year to sell, if you’re able to. March, April, May and June are great times to sell followed by September. Avoid selling during summer holiday times or the run-up to Christmas when the market is slow anyway.
Price Your House Correctly
When selling your house it’s always important to price it correctly. But it’s especially important to price your house correctly in a cool market. New houses on the market usually get the most attention from buyers in the first few days after they’re listed. So you’ll want to make sure your initial asking price is attractive to the buyers that are out there.
You wouldn’t want to price your house too low. It’s especially important not to set your asking price too high in a slow market, however. If the price is too high you might not get any interest – even if you reduce the price later.
To find the best asking price in a slow market ask several estate agents for a valuation.
Know your competition: Look at what similar houses in the area have sold for recently. Find out what similar houses nearby are being advertised for and what a buyer gets for their money. Don’t be guided by the asking prices of houses actually for sale, however. In a slow market, these asking prices may be too high, which is why the house hasn’t sold.
Find the Best Estate Agent
Slow markets are when a good estate agent really comes into their own. Firstly, use an agent who sells lots of houses in your area. And lots of houses of the same type and price range. It’s most likely the case that if they have more houses on their books they attract more buyers too.
Next, use an estate agent who is interested in your property, seems keen to sell it for you and is knowledgeable about the local area. Do they answer the phone quickly? Are they quick to arrange an appraisal and valuation? Can they tell you about other houses in the area which they’ve sold recently? If you get prompt and enthusiastic service from the agent then buyers will probably get prompt and enthusiastic service too.
Use More Than One Estate Agent
It’s always possible to sell your house using more than one estate agent if you want to but it’s especially a good idea in a slow market. More estate agents mean more chances to sell, usually. Using more than one estate agent creates competition amongst estate agents so they should work harder to be the first to sell your house and earn their commission.
So that you can use more than one estate agent make sure you have a multi-agency agreement with them.
Make Sure Your Property Listing is 'Top Quality'
Although your house for sale listing is the job of your estate agent be sure to check it. Let them know if you think it can be improved.
Good photos get your home noticed as buyers browse online listings. Make sure your listing has lots of pics. Make sure there are top quality pics of the outside of the house, every room and any particularly interesting features.
Ask your estate agent whether it would be worth adding a video tour. This could help make it stand out above other houses for sale.
Make sure there’s lots of detail in the write-up. Make sure all the features and benefits of your house are covered and that there’s also plenty of information about the local area.
Ask your estate agent what marketing they’re doing to actively market your house rather than waiting for buyers to come to them. Are they sending details out to registered buyers? Are they promoting your property on social media and so on?
Sell Your House During Viewings
In a hot market, you could pretty much leave prospective buyers to look around your home themselves and still sell it. In a cool market, however, you need to positively sell your home to buyers. Try to be as welcoming and helpful as possible which can help make all the difference.
When showing prospective buyers round draw attention to the best features of every room. For example, that it gets plenty of natural light, has great views or has plenty of storage. Talk about how you use and enjoy the house. For example, that the kitchen is great for parties, or how the dining room can accommodate all the family at Christmas.
Also talk about the area, especially if your viewers are new to the area. Mention the great neighbours, good schools and convenient local shops.
Ask whether your viewers have any questions about the house or the area.
Choose the Right Buyer
It’s always important to choose the right buyer but in a slow market, it’s especially important. Remember that if you want to sell you need a buyer who can buy! In a slow market, it’s not ideal if your buyer has yet to sell their house (or if it’s not even on the market) as their house could be slow to sell too.
Choose to sell to a first-time buyer, a cash buyer or a buyer, whose house is already sold, if you can.
Aim to choose a reliable buyer too. Be aware of the risk of gazundering in slow markets.
Find Out Why Your House Hasn’t Sold
In a slow market, it’s especially important to try and get feedback from viewers and use that information to make improvements. This is especially important in a situation where you don’t get any offers for your house.
Ask your estate agent to help with this. Try to find out what prospective buyers liked about your house and what they didn’t like. Try to find out why they didn’t make an offer. Was the price too high or was there something they didn’t like?
Other Methods of Selling Your Home in a Slow Market
Using an estate agent is probably the most popular way of selling your house. But there are other ways of selling your house too. These can be worth considering because in a slow market they can offer you a guaranteed fast house sale.
When considering these methods compare the price you’re likely to get for your property with each method versus the time it takes to sell.
Sell Your House Through a Property Auction
The advantage of selling your house at a property auction in a slow market is that assuming your house sells on the day, the sale will definitely go through. When a house sells at auction the sale normally goes through automatically after 28 days. (But remember you might have to wait a month or two for the next sale auction sale.)
If you want to sell your house and buy another then part exchanging your house could be an option to consider in a slow market. When you buy a new house the developer will take your old house in part exchange. You’ll be able to move as soon as the sale goes through no matter how slow the housing market might be.
Sell Your House to a Fast-Sale House Buying Company
Selling your house to a fast sale house buying company is one of the fastest ways to sell a house. Fast sale house buying companies work in different ways. But often you can choose what works best for you – whether it is market value for your house within 28 days or a cash price in 7 days.
The main advantage of selling to a house-buying company is that it doesn’t matter whether the housing market is hot or slow. Once you accept their offer – which can sometimes be made in as little as 24 hours – you’re guaranteed to get a sale within an agreed period of time.
A hot property market is a market where there are more potential buyers than properties for sale. There’s no wonder that houses sell quickly and for the asking price or more. A slow housing market is a market where there are more properties for sale than willing buyers. It doesn’t mean there are no buyers in a slow market, however.
A slow market simply means you have to put a little more thought into selling your house so that you can find one of those buyers to buy it.