Advice and Opinion

How to achieve a quicker property sale in a slower market

Even in a hot sellers’ market, agents say, about 20% of the homes they list don’t sell right away – and in a cooler market there are usually quite a number that they don’t expect to sell even within a few months.

“But”, says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of SA’s biggest mortgage originator, BetterLife Home Loans, “if your home has been on the market for several weeks without generating an offer, you should not despair – or take it off the market just yet”.

“First, ask for some feedback from your agent and try to establish the real reason your home hasn’t sold. Is your asking price too high for the market? What are the main criticisms or objections of potential buyers? What cosmetic changes might speed up a sale?”

“Second, you should consider your reason for selling. If you are only willing to sell if you get a certain price, and that price is not currently attainable, it’s possible that you’re not a truly motivated seller, and might indeed be better off taking your home off the market for a while.”

However, he says, if you really do want to sell, and soon, you and your agent should get together to review and re-plan your marketing strategy.

“The most common reason for a home’s failure to sell, of course, is that the asking price is more than buyers are currently willing to pay, and if that is the case, you will need to make an adjustment right away”.

“Having said that, though, a price reduction should always be combined with an increased marketing effort, so you will need to talk to your agent about placing more, different or better advertising and holding extra show days.”

Alternatively, your property may be priced right but need some cosmetic improvements or “make up” to improve its curb appeal, says Rademeyer. “And if that is the case, you and your agent might agree to a short break from marketing while the work is completed”.

“In general, however, it is risky to take a property completely off the market once you have decided to sell. Market conditions are constantly changing and you could end up in a worse situation if prices in your area start to decline for some reason, or interest rates rise and the number of prospective buyers drops”.

“The best course, in the huge majority of cases, is to follow your agent’s advice and do everything within your power to make your property saleable right now, so that you can move on to the next part of your life.”