Over the last few years the property market has been a seller’s market in most cases. There have been more buyers looking to buy property than sellers looking to sell.
But it’s probably fair to say that things are likely to change in the near future. Higher mortgage interest rates as well as the cost of living could mean that there are fewer able and willing buyers in the market. That will mean sellers (and agents) may have to work harder to sell their property than they have in the recent past.
Here are some tips for buyers, sellers and agents on how to deal with a buyer’s market.
Sellers should be circumspect
In a buyer’s market sellers should really think whether they want to sell at all. It may be better to stay put if you can.
Alternatives to selling include to extend your property if you need more space. Or consider renting it out instead. There’s high demand for property to rent, and rents are strong in many places.
Buyers should be bold
In a buyer’s market buyers should probably try and move fast if they are serious about buying. If you find a property you like at a good price don’t hang around.
It may be tempting to hold on in case prices fall more sharply, but that might not actually happen.
If you’re buying a property for the long term then holding out for further price falls (or in case the price of the house you buy falls afterwards) may not be that effective as a strategy as chances are you will still make a gain anyway.
Pricing needs to be realistic
Prices which have been achieved in the recent past may not be a very good guide to the current market. Just because a similar house nearby was up for sale at £750,000 recently doesn’t mean that can actually be achieved now.
Sellers should take advice from several estate agents on a realistic asking price in the current market.
Agents should take time to explain why sellers may need to revise their price expectations. For example, if the asking price is unrealistic there’s a risk that the property won’t sell at all.
If you’re buying as well as selling then a lower asking price needn’t be a problem if you yourself can buy at a good price.
Property should be prepared to an even higher standard
In a seller’s market pretty much any property will attract interest and sell regardless of what it looks like. But in a buyer’s market buyers can afford to be more choosy about what they will even consider viewing in the first place.
Ensure a property you’re selling has a good standard of décor and is kept clean and tidy.
Try to make sure any faults which you are aware of are dealt with before the property goes on sale. For example subsidence or damp issues. This will mean buyers are less likely to be put off making an offer. It will also make it less likely that the sale will be delayed, or that a buyer might reduce their offer or back out.
Marketing needs to be maximised
In a seller’s market it’s possible that a property will virtually sell itself. There could be a queue of buyers waiting to buy it. This isn’t likely to happen in a buyer’s market. So more effort needs to go into finding buyers in the first place and persuading them a property is worth viewing.
Ensure that online listings for your property make it look attractive. Make sure there are detailed descriptions including of each room and about the area it is located in. Include as many pics as possible. Add some video clips too.
Be choosy about choosing a buyer
Even though there may be fewer buyers out there it doesn’t mean you should accept just any offer. Think about buyer quality. Who is most likely to complete? And who is most likely to complete most promptly?
Potential buyers should be able to confirm their source of funds. If they are buying with a mortgage their offer should have several months validity so there is time for the sale to complete before it expires.
Cash buyers and first time buyers can be good buyers in a buyer’s market but they should still be committed and be properly funded.
Aim to complete as quickly as possible
Use solicitors and conveyancers who are able to work quickly and who are proactive. Keep a close check on how things are progressing.
In a buyer’s market it is just as important as in a seller’s market to complete a sale as quickly as possible. This way, the sale is less likely to be disrupted by changing market conditions.
In a buyer’s market it’s important to remain positive. There will still be buyers out there. In the medium term it may be the case that although there are fewer buyers there will also be fewer sellers, so supply and demand tend to stabilise. It’s just important to be aware that the market has changed and to proceed accordingly.