Tips for selling your home in a buyer’s market

When there are more people selling houses than buying them, how can you ensure your home stands out from the crowd?

Estate agent signs

What is a buyer’s market?

A buyer’s market is quite simply one in which supply outweighs demand. From a buyer’s perspective this means more choice and a higher likelihood that vendors will compromise to get a sale.

So if you’re selling, how can you compete with the increased competition?

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Choose the right estate agent

This sounds obvious doesn’t it, but really do your homework as the effort your agent is willing to put in is essential in getting the right price for your property. Look at their track record in your local area over the past six months, and look at the quality of their website from a buyer’s perspective.

Get a few valuations from different agents; the results will give you a clue as to who to go with. 

You can view property prices at HM Land Registry in order to cross check how realistic the valuations you get back are when compared to other properties like yours.

If you get what seems to be a very high valuation, be cautious. It may be tempting to aim high, but what you don’t want is your property sitting on the market unsold, before being reduced; people may wonder what’s wrong with it.

A good agent will give you a realistic price and be able to demonstrate how your home compares to other similar ones locally.

If you need a really quick sale, your agent can advise you on how much to reduce your price to help you sell faster.

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Give your estate agent plenty of detail

Remember that your agent is working for you, not the buyer, so equip them with all the things about your house that may make it more appealing and saleable, however small these may be. Your agent wants to sell it as much as you do.

Is there anything unique about it? What were you looking for when you found your property, and what do you love about living there? Is it the natural light, the garden, the cottage feel, the spacious living room? If your home has a ‘wow factor’, make sure your estate agent is fully primed to make the most of it. 

Give them an extensive tour, so that you feel they know your home as well as they possibly can before they start selling it for you.

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Who are you most likely to be selling to?

Your estate agent can help you with this: creating a likely buyer’s profile will help inform which elements of your home will appeal the most.

Are you selling a family home, a bungalow, a flat that may suit a young couple? Once you’ve established this, work out which features might most draw them in. When your agent meets a potential buyer, they will glean as much information about the buyer’s financial position as possible, and the kind of home they’re looking for.

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Think about the benefits of the local area

Beyond the walls of your house, think about the benefits of the local area and the position of the property, and how these might appeal to your specific buyer.

Consider schools, transport links or the peace and quiet you enjoy. Your house may be very similar to another five miles away, but is yours better situated?

Some of the benefits may not be obvious, even to your agent.  Make sure the agent is aware of these points and highlights them in the sales particulars.

In a buyer’s market you can’t afford to overlook any small elements that could combine to give you the edge.

You will also improve your chances by…

  • Selling in the spring, the best time statistically
  • De-cluttering your house to give buyers the full measure of the space you have
  • Increasing your curb appeal: make the house and garden smart from the front
  • Getting minor repairs done to increase the ‘ready to move in to’ feel
  • Neutralising your colour schemes so buyers can visualise their own
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Be ready to go

Once you have a buyer, you don't want to lose them.  Being prepared is key here.  Make sure you have chosen and instructed a conveyancing solicitor before you find a buyer.  They will carry out all pf the preliminary work that can delay a transaction, such as applying for managing a agent information on a leasehold property.

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So, in summary…

The key to selling your home in a buyer’s market is stringent attention to detail, in both the choice of your agent and the specific benefits of your home and its surrounding area.

And if you enter negotiations with a buyer, stick at it – they may hold more cards, but you’re still in the position of having something they want, and are willing to pay for.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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