7 Tips for Selling in a Cooling Market

22 JULY 2022

Many people think that when the market slows, they should shelve plans to move. But why? This is often the perfect opportunity to move, especially for those looking to upgrade or downsize. Yes, the selling part might be slightly more painful (depending on your choice of agent). But, the buying part will be significantly easier. Rather than being pushed around by smug agents and competing with seemingly hundreds of other buyers, you will now feel less pressured and be able to haggle a little more.

Be mindful of auctions 

Auctions can be an amazing way to sell in a hot market, but their impact is limited in a cooling market. Before you get sucked into an agent's hype, visit some auctions in your area, you will notice many are selling prior. Sometimes there are auctions with just one buyer. We aren’t saying to avoid these at all costs, just get some good advice as to whether your type of home is best suited. A one size fits all approach right now should be avoided.

Avoid agents that only do best and final offers

If you have purchased property over the last couple of years, you will probably already hate this strategy. Rather than negotiate, agents simply tell buyers they can only make one offer, and it needs to be their best, otherwise they won't get another chance. In a hot market, buyers can panic and overpay. In a slowing market, buyers will offer less, giving no room for the agent to push the price up. Given the thousands of annoyed buyers we'd hear from each week, we stopped this form of selling over five years ago. Sadly, many of our colleagues have forgotten how to negotiate. In a cooling market, this is the most critical skill an agent can possess.

Avoid trying to 'save' money on advertising and agent fees 

You may end up getting less money than you would have if you sold six months ago. You need to be prepared for that. Some sellers falsely believe that they will be ahead if they save $2000 on the agent fee or downgrade their marketing package (or even sell off-market). Sadly, real estate doesn't work like that. The best agents will command sale prices $20,000 - $50,000 higher than a cut price agent or one that fails to put your property in front of the largest pool of buyers. Try and focus the value on the sale price minus the fees, not just the fees.

Don't get sucked into spending money on social media

On the other hand, agents may try to sell you on the benefits of a $2000 social media campaign. You might feel under pressure to invest in this to capture buyers that 'weren't even thinking about buying property'. This is a trap. Agents love social media as it's a great way to advertise themselves and drum up new business. We challenge you to find a buyer that's looking at Facebook rather than Domain or realestate.com.au. Marketing is critical, but spend your money in the right places.

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We challenge you to find a buyer that's looking at Facebook rather than Domain or realestate.com.au. Marketing is critical, but spend your money in the right places.

Try not to compare your property to earlier sales 

It's natural to remember recent sales in your area that sold at the peak. Yes, your home may be better than that one, but that was then, and this is now. Timing in real estate is everything. It's like going on holiday, and it rains every day, but it was perfect sunshine last week. Don't tie yourself up in knots by pinning your expected price against another property. Instead, focus on the presentation, agent selection and get the strategy right. Get these things right, and you will still get a great result. And always remember, if the market drops, you will be purchasing your next place cheaper.

There is no perfect time

When times change, it is natural for people to sit on their hands and wait for greater clarity. We see this during election cycles and during the pandemic. However, if you are waiting for the perfect signal that now is the time, you will be disappointed. We only ever know in hindsight when the peak was. Similarly, we don't know the bottom until it is behind us. 

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You still need to get the presentation right 

Now more than ever, your property needs to sparkle. So even if you don't make a suburb record on your sale price, you should still take the time to make it look its best. You may hear agents telling you the house is perfect, and they have a thousand people on their database ready to commit, but still, make sure it is suitably presented (and stop listening to agents who overpromise!).

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