5 Tips For Selling Your House in a Slow Market

Tony Buckwell
March 28, 2022

In 2022, it's undeniable that the Auckland housing market is slowing down to the most sedate activity level seen in several years. However, this doesn't mean houses aren't selling.

If you're aiming to sell your home in these quieter conditions, here are some key areas to focus on to ensure you get the best result.

1. Present your property at its best

The way your property is prepared and presented to the market is always important. However, with a smaller pool of buyers and ample options, it's crucial to ensure you do all you can to get your property to stand out from the crowd.

The extra effort you make to present your property at its best can make all the difference. For specific advice on preparing your home for sale, please check out my blog article – 8 simple tips to prepare your home for sale and maximise your result.

2. Set the right price expectation

Ensuring that you have a realistic price expectation from the outset is vital in the current market environment.

Buyers currently have so much choice and are not in a particularly urgent mindset. If they assess your property to be overpriced, they may bypass it and purchase a better value offer down the road. Even a few percentage points 'off the mark' can result in a lengthy marketing campaign and little or no genuine interest. Ensure that you work through a robust appraisal process before commencing your marketing, and be very wary of the agent who provides a high appraisal (compared to others). This may be pleasing to you at the time, but you won't be thanking that agent after months on the market and several price reductions. 

'Chasing the market down' can be a pitfall in a slower market. This is when a property owner's price expectation is set too high at the outset. Then, over a period with no sale secured, the seller adjusts to a more realistic level. However, in the meantime, the market has fallen further, so the newly revised price is still too high, and a sale still cannot be secured.

Further price adjustments follow the falling market, yet the seller's expectation is always re-setting above the new market level where buyers assess the property's value. Therefore, the best way to avoid chasing the market down is to heed your agent's advice (or another professional valuer) and set the price expectation at a sellable level. 

3. Invest in quality marketing

Quality marketing is always important, regardless of the prevailing market conditions. When the market is in a cooling phase, it becomes even more critical to your outcome. When there are many alternative listings for buyers to consider, it is so essential for your property to stand out. When prices and sales volumes are down, the investment you make in your marketing campaign must be strong. 

A common mistake is starting with a 'budget approach' (to save money) and then increasing the marketing investment if an early sale is not achieved. Your property will never be more attractive to the buyer pool than when it first launches, so this is the time to put it in the spotlight and attract as much early interest as possible. Once a property has been on the market for a while, the momentum is lost, and buyers may start to assume that there is something wrong with the property, it is overpriced, or the owners will be desperate and receptive to low offers.

4. Select the right agency

I am sure that most sellers would agree that when the market is subdued, it is so important to engage with an agency that can reach every potential buyer. As a quick overview, there are three real estate business models operating in Auckland:

  • The franchise model (almost every real estate brand you can name).
  • The boutique model (small agencies with one or two offices).
  • The Barfoot & Thompson model. We are the only large non-franchised real estate agency in Auckland. 

Barfoot & Thompson provides a considerable selling advantage to our clients and this is a factor that can't be matched by any of our franchised or boutique competitors.

To understand how our unique non-franchised business model and our vast network of branches (65+) and agents (1800 – 200) can deliver more buyer competition to your property than any other company, I invite you to peruse my blog - Choosing a Real Estate Agent: What Sets Barfoot & Thompson Apart?

5. Select the right agent

When the market is hot, agents of varying degrees of skill and dedication can make sales. When the market is scorching, a property may still sell despite the worst efforts of a poor agent! When the market has cooled off, the agent selection you make can impact whether your property will sell or not. 

If your agent isn't organised, committed, strong in your area, honest with their appraisal, a skilled marketer across all media channels and a strong negotiator, they are unlikely to be capable of delivering results in the more challenging conditions which currently prevail.

So how do you select a quality agent? Many professional agents have the skills to deliver you a successful outcome regardless of the market conditions. I have compiled a list of my top tips for selecting an agent, which you can view here – My Top Tips for Selecting a Real Estate Agent.

Final thoughts

Although the Auckland market may seem a little gloomy to some sellers, it is worth remembering that we generally buy and sell in the same market. So even if your sale price is a little lower than it may have been two years ago, you will benefit from those same reduced prices as a buyer. If you are sold, and in a cash buyer position, you are in the box seat to secure a great purchase as most of your competition will have a house to sell as part of any offer they make.

So, implement these few key recommendations, and you will be giving yourself the very best opportunity to secure a sale in the shortest possible time, at the best price the current market will support.

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