The property market moves in swings and roundabouts. But one thing is always certain... after a seller’s market comes a buyer’s market.
In a buyer’s market, buyers tend to be choosier, properties stay on the market longer and prices stagnate. For sellers, it can be a nerve-wracking, stressful time. But there are ways to protect yourself so you don’t come out selling your home at a loss. Here’s what we recommend.
Understand your competition
Study properties for sale in your local area that are similar to yours - these are your competition. So, how can you give your property an upper edge? If your property has a feature or benefit the others are lacking, use it as a selling point. Maybe you have a larger plot of land, a swimming pool or your property is located in a more sought after street. It’s about finding an angle to make your property stand out.
Look at the comparables
When the market is in their favour, buyers have the luxury of being finicky about price - so, setting a fair price is essential. Study what other properties are going for in your area. The best way to do this is to buy a suburb sales report from a research company like RPData or Australian Property Monitors, or look at the property section in your local paper each week and follow the sales results. You can also get these reports free from PropertyNow - call the team on 1300 664 773.
Get your home in its best state
Everyone knows that a well presented home sells better. This is even more important in a buyer’s market. In a competitive market, buyers are pickier about small details like light fixtures and window furnishings, so you may need to take time prioritising and choosing the details and repairs that will be most profitable for sale.
Sell lower and buy lower
When you sell your home, you usually have to buy another one. In this case, a buyer’s market can serve you well. You may sell lower than you’d hoped for, but if you’re clever you’ll buy at a good price (and pay less stamp duty than you would in a seller’s market). To do this effectively, you need to spend time researching and understanding your local market so you know a good price when you see one.
Save on advertising and agent commissions
Over 80% of buyers now use the internet as their first point of call for researching property. So you no longer need to spend thousands of dollars getting your property in front of them. If you want to save, ditch the print campaign. Internet advertising is very effective – and far cheaper. And real estate agent commissions are your largest selling cost - they are also your most unnecessary cost. Buyers will find your property so long as it’s listed on the major real estate portals like Domain and realestate.com.au.
Keep your settlement terms flexible
If you can be flexible on your settlement terms, you won’t restrict your pool of buyers. Some buyers need unusually long or short settlement dates, others need more flexible payment terms. If you can accommodate buyers' needs, your property will become a convenient option.
Know your buyers
Get to know your buyer’s needs and you may find a trigger point. Maybe they are first homebuyers and lacking furniture or appliances – so throw in your fridge or washing machine. If a buyer is tossing up between two or three properties, they may need a small nudge to swing your way.
Lower the price rather than pay for repairs
When buyers have the pick of the housing litter, they can get a little demanding about repair works. Rather than organise the repairs yourself, offer a compromise by reducing the sale price to cover the costs. This way, you get to settlement day more quickly and avoid the hassle of dealing with tradies and contractors (and potentially damage greater than what was estimated).
Prepare yourself mentally
Selling a house in a buyer’s market can be frustrating and stressful. Buyers can waste your time and be picky about the details of your home. At times, you feel powerless and desperate. It’s important you set your emotions aside and try not to take it personally. Sometimes, you just have to accept that the market will predict the sales terms for your home.
Keep negotiations open
When you’re dealing with a tricky buyer, it’s tempting to put negotiations in the all too hard basket. But the truth is, buyers can be hard to come by in this market. So keep talks going and continue to negotiate until the buyer either buys or walks.