How to sell a house in a buyer’s market

Written by in Selling

A clean kitchen ready for an open house

The housing market is in constant flux. It refuses to stay still and behave how we want it to. This is because a range of factors influence the market on a weekly basis, including economic conditions, employment rates, weather, holidays, time of year and more. The real estate market has a considerable impact on Australia’s economic health, but this goes both ways. The market fluctuates between being a vendor’s market to a buyer’s market, sometimes settling somewhere in between. So how do you sell a house in a buyer’s market, when there are too many houses on the market and not enough buyers?

Steps to take when selling a house in a buyer’s market

Remember that in a buyer’s market, there are opportunities as a vendor to make the most of a tougher selling market to in fact improve your returns. Many vendors selling a house in a buyer’s market do so without really knowing what this means, or because they have to sell. This results in them falling prey to the effects of low demand/high supply. This is where you have an opportunity to still achieve strong results in the sale of your house, as long as you approach it differently.

  1. Be strategic. Selling in a buyer’s market requires a higher level of strategic thinking. A great agent will be able to communicate how they approach selling in such a market differently, so make sure you ask plenty of questions in the consultation period with prospective agents. In a market where competition is high, it is important to do the work for buyers. Don’t let them hunt out reasons to buy your property, make those reasons clear. If you have hidden features in your home (solar panels, recycled building materials, energy-efficient features) or significant selling points (land size, aspect, natural light, development approval etc.), these should be used as major selling points. Buyers are able to search for properties based on particular keywords (i.e. swimming pool), so make sure your property descriptions include all relevant keywords that a buyer may search for.
  1. Have an accurate price. In Victoria, the law is strict in making sure your agent provides a Statement of Information that indicates the expected price of the property. This makes it easy for buyers to find your property, but in other states, be clear with your expectations to help buyers find your property online. Finding a good agent is pivotal for finding and settling on an appropriate price, as they should have a strong knowledge of the local market.
  1. Make lemonade out of lemons. Just as you are going to be selling a home in a buyer’s market, you are presumable going to be buying a home in a buyer’s market. Knowing this, try to achieve as high a price as possible in the sale of your house (through these steps!) before buying below your limits to mitigate the effects of a weakened market. Remember to sell before you buy. At a time when houses stay longer on the market, you do not want to rely on achieving a quick sale.
  1. Be clever with your marketing. Avoid extra advertising costs, unless they apply to your target demographic. If your target demographic are over 60, then print advertising may still be worth the investment, but if you are targeting young professionals and families, online advertising that makes the most of keywords is your best bet. In a buyer’s market, or any market for that matter, it pays to drive interest in your property yourself, so consider using your own social channels.
A screenshot of homepage

Use online portals unless print advertising is applicable to your target demographic

  1. Pay extra attention to detail. Do anything you can to give your property an edge over those in your neighbourhood. Compare your home to other listings, identify what they are missing (i.e. areas for quick improvement such as painting, or landscaping) and get that upper edge. Consider using a home staging professional to present your home in the best possible light to your target demographic.
  1. Be flexible. Extend your settlement terms if you can. This will attract more potential buyers. This is another reason why you need to sell well before you buy.
  1. Get the upper hand. Be open to private sales and accepting expressions of interest prior to the auction, as being able to control the timing of the bidding process between competing EOIs and having sole knowledge of those bids puts the ball back in your court in many respects. It also gives you the opportunity to provide those interested parties with further information about the property that reminds them of its benefits and features.
  1. Plan ahead. Allow yourself plenty of time to sell your house, as you should expect it to remain on the market for longer than it would if it were a vendor’s market.