How to Sell a House in a Slow Market

Sell A House In A Slow Market

The market has a great impact on home sales many people don’t realise. If home sales aren’t moving quickly, the housing market is deemed to be fairly slow, and many things influence the market itself. Fortunately, even if the market is fairly slow, you can still sell your home. You’re not simply stuck with the property forever. What can you do to make your home sale go through in a slow housing market? This guide can help.

What Is a Slow Market, and How Does It Change Home Sales?

A slow market is usually affected by a number of different factors. The results, though, hit common people throughout the UK in a way that other market slowdowns typically don’t. The health of the housing market and the prices that home sell for rely on consumer confidence. A slow market doesn’t necessarily define a recession throughout the UK, as that’s a fairly technical term. A recession is when the UK experiences two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. The property market fluctuates without changes to the GDP, though. Legislation often affects the property market, as do interest rate changes. In fact, even weather can affect the property market as a whole. When consumers feel confident, home sales go up. When consumers are concerned, the housing market slows dramatically.

Here’s a quick example that may put things into perspective. Imagine, for example, there were reports of the overall market starting to stagnate. Someone who has put their home up for sale may get concerned that they won’t get as many purchase offers. Someone considering buying a home may decide not to buy at that point. It’s not so much that the market itself is affecting house sales. It’s that the market affects the confidence of buyers and sellers alike, and that, in turn, affects the housing market. This kind of market slowdown often leads to the term “buyers’ market.” The reason for that is fairly simple. A buyer is likely to see several homes for very reasonable prices because a seller may have to drop their asking prices if they want to sell quickly. Buyers will have some fairly extensive decisions to make as more homes drop into their price range.

Slow Property Markets Affect More Than Buyers and Sellers

The simple truth is that a slow property market is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Consumer confidence goes down, so the housing market slows. Businesses that depend on the housing market – like estate agents, valuation professionals, RICS surveyors, and even conveyancing solicitors – see a dip in their business, leading them to worry about the market and change the way they hire and spend. That begins to worry the Bank of England, forcing it to change the interest rates, which limits the number of money borrowers are willing to take out. As a result, home buyers and sellers get increasingly concerned, and fewer people than ever search for homes or put them on the market. As a result, a homeowner’s assets begin to drop in value, so they stop spending their income on things like concerts and everyday luxury, which affects other markets in turn.

How to Sell a House Fast in a Slow Market

If you’re wondering how to sell a house fast in a slow market, rest assured that it’s more than possible. Difficult market conditions don’t mean you won’t be able to sell your house. It just means it may take a bit longer. There are actually many steps you’ll want to take.

Price it Right

One answer to the question of how to sell a house fast in a slow market lies in actually pricing your home. Valuing a home should never be the result of guesswork. Instead, it should rely on comparable sales in your area. Keep in mind that the actual value of your house isn’t likely to be exactly what those comparable sales indicate, as unique structures and features in a home could affect the overall pricing. The key, though, is to be realistic with your price.

You can start this process by pulling all of the comparable listings in your area over the last six months. Most valuators don’t look at comparable sales that are older than three months, so six months is a good place to start. You’ll want to compare your home based on size as well as other features. Imagine, for example, you have a sauna in your home. That may increase your home’s value as compared to another house. Start by looking at some of the instant online home valuation tools on sites like Zoopla to get some idea of what your home is worth. You can look at comparable sales through the Land Registry website.

Once you have a basic idea of what your home is worth, you can contact an estate agent to help you decide exactly how to price your house. Don’t hesitate to have a careful discussion here. Sometimes even professionals don’t get the numbers quite right, and getting it right in a slow housing market is essential.

Select a Good Estate Agent

Choosing the right estate agent is also key to learning how to sell a house fast in a slow market. Your estate agent is often the key to selling your house as quickly as possible. To select the right estate agent, start by asking family members, friends, or colleagues for some recommendations of estate agents they either know or have used. That should give you some idea of a few names to add to your list. You could also take note of signs posted around your neighbourhood to learn more about local agents who work in your area.

Once you have a fairly short list, be sure to check the credentials of each estate agent on your list. Every estate agent must be a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme. That ensures any complaints against them are carefully investigated. Most estate agents are also members of a trade body like the National Association of Estate Agents or the Guild of Property Professionals. Both of these organisations allow you to learn more about an agent before you choose to sign a contract with them.

The next thing you’ll want to do is consider booking a home showing on a home that estate agent has listed. During the showing, notice how they behave. Think about a few things during that visit. Would you be happy to have them show your property in the same manner? Moreover, would you be willing to buy a property from that person? This undercover work can help you better understand how  potential home buyers will see your home if you list it when them.

Once you know of a few agents who could be helpful, invite them to value your property. At this point, you should have about three agents on your list. Ask them to value your property. Remember, you’re looking for an honest, fair assessment. It should be close to the numbers you came up with during your own research work. An overvalued property won’t sell in a slow market, so if an agent quotes you a valuation that seems far too high, it’s okay to be a bit suspicious.

When you’ve selected an agent who valued your property in a fair manner, spend some time chatting with them. You’ll want to learn how much they charge for sole agency, or the exclusive right to sell your property for a set period of time. You’ll also want to learn what their tie-in period is. It’s traditionally eight weeks in length. Once you pass that period of time, you’re welcome to change agents.

You don’t have to work on a sole agency contract. You can work on a multi-agency contract, where several agents have the ability to sell your home. Should you choose to go this route, though, you can expect the commission fees to be 3.5% of the home’s sale price. If you work with a sole agency agreement, though, you’ll typically pay half of that.

In addition to asking about the agreement to sell your home, you’ll also want to spend some time learning more about how long the agent has been established. Understanding their experience in the field can help you better determine whether they’re the right agent to meet your needs. You’ll also want to know how your property will be advertised. Nearly 90% of all sales today start online, so you want to be sure you’ll have some exposure for your property on social media and the Internet in addition to traditional sources like the local paper. Finally, work to learn who will look after property showings. If your estate agent will be handling all of the viewings, you’ll want to know whether they can be available during evenings and weekends.

After you select an agent, be sure you read and review the contract carefully. Question anything you don’t agree with or that you don’t understand before you sign the contract.

Get Your House Market Ready

Your home is the showpiece in a real estate sale, and getting it ready for the market can take quite a bit of work, but it’s well worth the process. Start with a deep clean. Hiring a professional cleaning service is a good step as they can help you catch those spots you may have overlooked at some point in time. From there, you’ll want to begin the decluttering process. Get rid of anything you don’t need. Many experts recommend placing items into three different categories – things to keep, things to donate, and things to throw away. If you have items you forgot you had, this is the time to get rid of them. Remember, you’ll be moving house soon, and the less you have to pack, the better. The reason behind this decluttering process is a fairly simple one. You want your home to look as spacious as possible when potential buyers walk through the door, and one great way to do that is to make certain you have as little stuff as possible.

After you’ve finished decluttering and cleaning, the next step is to make your home look a bit more attractive. Start by ensuring it’s bright. Replace any outdated fixtures, and lighten up your window treatments by going with something bright, like sheers. If there are spaces that remain dark, consider adding a lamp.

Next, think about a new coat of paint for many of your rooms. You’ll want to stick with a light, neutral colour to help make every space look bigger and brighter. From there, begin making small repairs. Things like dents and dings in the flooring or trim should be addressed.

After you’ve dealt with the inside of your space, it’s time to think about the outside of your space. Your kerb appeal matters almost as much as the inside of your home does. Power wash the driveway and the walkway leading up to your home. Make sure the garden is trimmed and the front lawn is mowed. You may need to give the outside of your home a good coat of paint too. Repair any problems with the cladding or the fence in front of your home. You may want to add a few simple plants, too, to help dress things up a bit. Don’t forget to make sure your house numbers are displayed, and that you have outdoor lighting, too, so potential buyers driving by at night can see your home clearly.

Ensure Marketing Materials Are High Quality

How your home is marketing really matters as you work to learn how to sell a house fast in a slow market. In most cases, your estate agent will arrange to have a professional photographer stop by to take pictures of your space, and you’ll want to make sure it looks its best on this day. If you’ve completed all of the steps above, your house should already look amazing. Be sure to clean carefully before the photographer shows up. Don’t forget to think about the background. If you have personal items displayed in your home, this is the time to take them down. Remember, that clutter is the enemy for buyers, so you’ll want to make certain that you’ve decluttered well before the photographer shows up. You may even want to add a few accessories to your home before the photographer comes to your home. A fresh vase of flowers is always a good choice. Be sure to turn all of the lights on and let the natural light into your home, too.

Before a Showing . . .

Once you list your home, you may have lots of showings so you can connect with potential buyers. There are a number of steps you should take before a showing. This is an important time. Start by removing any odours. This may take a quick touch-up cleaning. You may need to air the house out a bit, too. Just lighting a scented candle can help as well. Additionally, pick up any clutter that has accumulated. Don’t be tempted to simply throw everything into the closet, though. Potential buyers will look in every nook and cranny of your space, so a closet piled high will be a serious problem. Clean things up and put them in their place. Finally, before you leave, be sure to take any pets in the house with you and turn on all of the lights so a potential buyer can see it as bright as possible.

Consider Other Home Sale Methods

Remember that you don’t have to list your home with an estate agent to sell it. Instead, there are a number of other ways to sell your home quickly, even in a slow property market. One option you may want to consider is working with an auction house. In this situation, you’ll be marketing your home before the auction through photos and other methods. The auctioneer will take between two and three percent of the profit, but this is a good way to move your house on a given day. Keep in mind, though, that you might get less than you would on the open market because typically home investors are the people who buy through auction houses, and they’re often looking for a bargain that they can renovate. In some cases, homes go for less than 50% of their value in that setting, but that’s not always the case.

Another option is to work directly with a home investor. Sometimes called a cash for homes scheme, these home investors are available within days of you reaching out to them. They’ll make an initial offer on your property – typically somewhere between 75 and 80% of market value – and if you’re agreeable, they’ll have a proper survey done. As long as the survey doesn’t turn up any potential problems, they’ll buy your house for the agreed-upon amount, and the day of completion can often be reached in as little as two weeks if you’re looking to move fast. While you may get less for your property in this manner, you are likely to be able to sell it fast even in a slow market.

The Bottom Line in a Slow Market

It can be difficult to sell your home in a slow market, but people do it on a regular basis. Just work a bit harder, and you’ll find the perfect buyer.

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