Today – How Can I Sell My House in a Slow Market?
In 2019, many would-be house sellers and buyers chose to hold fire until the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the general election was over. House prices did rise marginally last year, but the housing market was slow-moving.
After an initial “new year bounce”, which saw increased activity in the housing market, the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a drop in enquiries to estate agents and a slump of 12 per cent in property shares. The long-term impact of Covid-19 on house prices and sale times is uncertain, but many homeowners who were planning to sell up and move on shortly could well be wondering, “how will I sell my house in a slow market?”
Price It Right
According to research by Which? setting an unrealistic asking price is the top reason why a property is slow to sell. It’s a good idea to get at least three independent valuations. Some estate agents may be inclined to place a high price on a property in a bid to secure your business. Sellers can also do their own research by looking at the sale prices of similar homes in the area. Properties on the market for a long time that have failed to sell could indicate how much is too much for a property like yours.
Sellers must take into consideration the “market heat” and adapt their expectations accordingly. In a slow market, this is likely to mean setting a lower asking price than the property could be worth in a more buoyant market. The alternative is to wait for the market to pick up before trying to sell.
We are currently experiencing extraordinary times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As the government’s advice on social distancing becomes more restrictive by the day, house sellers and their agents will need to think outside-of-the-box and get creative if they want to attract good offers.
For example, an increasing number of estate agents are offering video tours in place of traditional property viewings, allowing both agents and potential buyers to keep safe. Adaptations such as these will keep the market moving and increase the chance of your house finding a buyer even in the slow, uncertain market we are currently experiencing.
How Can I Sell My House in a Slow Market? – Improve the Property
Completing minor repairs and cosmetic work, such as redecorating and fixing dripping taps, is always a good way to make a property more attractive to buyers. In a slow market, it’s even more important to make your property stand out.
If properties are moving slowly, the time a seller spends on home improvements could expedite the sale process overall. A well-presented property will find a buyer more quickly once it is ready to be placed on the market.
In a fast-moving housing market, many sellers will only need to undertake minor home improvements to attract good offers. When the market is stagnant, it may be worth investing in more significant renovations to get the property moving, such as rewiring, adding a new heating system or addressing structural issues. These are major projects that will dissuade many potential buyers from making an offer.
If waiting to sell in a better market is not an option, sellers in a slow market must be prepared to invest the necessary time and money to give their home the best possible chance of attracting a buyer.
Rent Your Property Out
If you need to move but cannot sell your house, renting the property out until the market picks up could be an option. This would allow you to move and the rental income can cover the mortgage.
As soon as properties start to move more quickly, you can put the house back on the market. In a warmer market, the property should sell faster and for a better price.
A bonus of this approach is it puts the homeowner in a stronger position when they choose to buy a new property. The purchase of the new home is not dependent on the sale of another property. This is an attractive prospect for many sellers.
Use a Cash Buying Service
A cash buying service is the fastest way to sell a house. A homeowner can obtain a cash offer almost immediately. Once the property is valued and a firm offer made, the sale can complete in as little as seven days.
Most house buying services buy all types of property in any condition or location, even in a slow market. There are no valuation, legal or estate agency fees to pay.
But if I sell my house to a cash buying service, won’t they offer me a really low price? These services will offer under the current market value because they make their money by selling property on at a profit. However, selling through such a service compared to the traditional route of using an estate agent isn’t as financially different as you might expect. When the costs associated with a traditional sale — estate agent fees, mortgage repayments, legal costs and valuation fees — are taken into account, a cash buying service looks attractive. Added to which, you’ll avoid all the hassle of selling on the open market and can achieve a quick, guaranteed sale in a slow market when others are struggling to move their properties.
Be Prepared to Compromise
No matter how much you invest in home improvements or how carefully you consider the asking price, in a slow market, sellers will most likely have to accept a level of compromise. If selling is essential and speed is of the essence, this could mean taking a slightly below market value offer, either on the open market or by selling through a cash buying service. For those who are in no rush to sell, compromise may come in the form of renting out the property short-term or waiting for the market to pick up.
It is possible to sell a house in a slow market, but it may require a little more effort and compromise. By carefully considering your priorities and setting realistic expectations, you’ll be prepared for a successful house sale.
How Can I Sell My House in a Slow Market? is a feature post.