How to sell a house in down market?

A slowing property market takes proactive planning by sellers – changes of selling are high if you take these important steps:

  • Choosing an experienced, responsive estate agent to partner with on pricing and marketing, set a competitive asking price based on current market conditions, not on what you think your house is worth.
  • Invest n top-notch photography, virtual or home staging, and light repairs to maximize buyer appeal.
  • Using flexible listing terms to adapt pricing as the market shifts.
  • Remaining realistic on pricing and being ready to adjust based on feedback.
  • Acting urgently on viewings, offers, and legal timelines to sell a home faster.
  • Understanding the process once an offer has been accepted – valuations, surveys, exchanging contractssolicitors, etc.
  • Preparing for costs like stamp duty and being ready if deals fall through.
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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

With the right estate agent, pricing strategy, and preparation, motivated sellers can successfully navigate fluctuating property values and find a buyer, even when prices dip.

The housing market is experiencing a major shift. Economic signs show that cost of living crisis, the mortgage costs cause in a month on month price drop. The average asking price in combination with the economic uncertainty is showing


After years of rising home values, prices are now falling in many areas due to high mortgage rates and slowing sales.

For sellers who need to move urgently, getting the attention of a potential buyers, poses significant challenges. If you are selling outdated property in a falling market or a brand new development tactics may change slightly but at the base they are the same.

  • Houses typically sell for the lowest prices in the late fall and winter months of November, December, and January.

  • Buyer demand tends to be lower during the holidays, winter weather, and after the school year is underway, leading to lower sales prices.

  • Most house sales fall through after the offer has been accepted but before contracts have been exchanged.

  • Common points where deals collapse include after the property survey, issues with mortgage financing, or the buyer trying to renegotiate on price.

To sell in a cooling market, unless you aim to sell as-is, you should avoid spending money on unnecessary house features which do not add up to the value.

  • Avoid big renovations and upgrades that won’t provide a good return on investment, like swimming pools, hot tubs, and high-end appliances.

  • Focus on general repairs, decluttering, staging, paint touch-ups, and landscaping to maximize appeal for the most buyers.

  • Historically, recessions have led to declines in house prices due to factors like higher unemployment, reduced consumer spending, and tighter lending standards.

  • The magnitude of price drops depends on the severity and length of the recession, but typically averages 10-15% peak-to-trough before recovering.

  • Solicitors will still charge fees for the work completed on the sale even if it falls through. This covers costs for conducting searches, reviewing contracts, etc.

  • Many charge an upfront fee on instruction and the rest on completion, so the initial fees still apply if the sale collapses.

  • Once you have accepted an offer and are progressing towards exchanging contracts, you should take your property off the market.

  • This shows you are committed to the sale. Leaving it listed can make buyers doubt your willingness to complete the transaction.

What Can Stop You to Sell Your Home In Down Market

A house for sale sign in front of a house during collapsing prices.
A house for sale sign in front of a house during collapsing prices.

When the housing market shifts, sellers may struggle to close deals. Common obstacles that stop the property sales process are:

👉 Overpricing – Lower your asking price based on current comparable sales. Aim slightly below market value to attract buyers, create bidding opportunity and higher offers.

👉 Decluttering and repairs – Invest time and money to fix defects and professionally stage your home to maximize appeal, especially if it’s an old home.

👉 Inflexible terms – Avoid long listing contracts so you can adjust price and switch agents if needed to adapt to changing conditions.

👉 Weak agent – Interview agents thoroughly and choose one experienced with creative marketing and pricing tactics for down markets. Collaborate closely.

👉 Low quality photography – Hire a pro photographer and videographer to showcase your home’s features and style online.

👉 Financing issues – Consider bridge loans or renting your home to ease time constraints if buyers can’t secure financing.

Proactive sellers who price competitively, prepare their home thoroughly, and work closely with their agent can still successfully sell even when the market shifts in buyers’ favor.

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Why House Sale Price Are Dropping

Several key factors are causing property prices to decrease in many markets:

  • Mortgage rates have risen above 6%, driving up monthly mortgage repayments for prospective buyers. This reduces what they can afford, dampening demand.
  • As demand drops off, the market shifts from a seller’s market favoring vendors to a buyer’s market where purchasers have more leverage.
  • With this reduced buyer activity, homes are staying on the market longer before selling. Bidding wars and sales above asking price become rare.
  • Lower demand and increased supply lead to declining average house prices. In some cities, property prices have already dropped 10-15% from last year’s levels.
  • Buyers are becoming more selective and cautious given higher mortgage repayments and economic uncertainty. Not all homes sell quickly at their list price.
  • Sellers need to adjust asking prices based on current local average prices and individual prospective buyers’ budgets and personal circumstances.

How Urgent Sellers Should Respond

A palm tree in front of a building amidst collapsing house prices.
A palm tree in front of a building amidst collapsing house prices.

Savvy sellers who need to move quickly can still take advantage of changing conditions by being proactive:

  • Price competitively based on current comparables to attract buyers still shopping. Don’t overprice or you may lose valuable time.
  • Prepare thoroughly – make repairs, stage, and invest in professional photography to showcase your home’s value.
  • Work closely with your agent for pricing feedback and to adjust marketing strategies to changing demand. Leverage their expertise.
  • Be flexible on agent commissions or terms if needed to incentivize your accredited estate agent to sell faster.
  • Consider alternatives like renting your home to ease time constraints if needed, but avoid sitting idle.

By understanding the shifting market and responding deliberately, savvy sellers can adapt pricing and preparation to align with buyers. This allows smooth transactions even in cooling markets

How to Choose the Right Property experts in a Cooling Property Market

A row of houses on a street in Baltimore all for sale with collapsing prices.
A row of houses on a street in Baltimore all for sale with collapsing prices.

With activity levels slowing, identifying the right real estate agent is crucial for sellers to maximize their advantage. Look for an agent who:

  • Has extensive experience in down markets. Interview online estate agents as well as traditional brokers.
  • Has consistently positive online reviews showing strong marketing tactics, negotiation skills, and communication.
  • Listens to your needs, provides expert guidance, and collaborates effectively to build a strong seller-agent relationship.
  • Has creative marketing strategies to generate interest when demand is lowest.
  • Will adjust pricing and positioning adively based on feedback and market shifts.
  • Has extensive buyer networks and connections to tap into. A high-performer can deliver at smaller or online agencies.

By spending time to select the right real estate agent for current conditions, you gain key benefits like market expertise, expanded buyer reach, and enhanced exposure – even if prices dip. The top agents tailor service to maximize sales advantage for sellers.

Don't Get Locked Into Long Listing Contracts

When home values fall, sellers need flexibility to change agents if needed. Avoid signing long listing agreements.

  • Typical listing contracts run 6 months or more. In shifting markets, shorter terms are better.
  • Try to negotiate 3-6 month listing agreements. This gives you options if the agent underperforms.
  • Rolling contracts that self-renew every 30-60 days are also more favorable for sellers.
  • If the agent insists on a long listing period, consider walking away. There are alternatives.
  • Interview multiple agents and leverage competing offers to negotiate better contract terms.
  • If already locked into a long contract, request early termination if the agent isn’t meeting expectations.
  • As a last resort, legal remedies like “procuring cause” can allow you to change agents if key milestones are missed.

By maintaining flexibility instead of getting locked into a long listing contract, you retain leverage to make a change if needed to sell your home in a slowing market.

Price It Right From the Start

With demand cooling, pricing is key for sellers to spark interest and offers. Remember, offer is not legally binding for the buyer, so you can lose out with wrong pricing.

  • Research comparable sales to see what similar homes are selling for in today’s market.
  • Aim 5-10% under recent sold prices, factoring in home condition differences.
  • Realistic asking prices stand out and build buyer urgency in this price sensitive market.
  • Avoid overpricing based on old sales. Buyers evaluate homes based on current values and mortgage rates.
  • Be ready to adjust your price within 2-3 weeks based on low activity or feedback.
  • Lower prices drive more showings and bids. Leverage this to get offers over your original ask.
  • Weigh all factors impacting buyers like higher mortgage interest rates and today’s lack of bidding wars.
  • Consider the declining rate of house price changes and your timeline as a seller.

Smart pricing is crucial to kickstart buyer interest and drive bids. Set the right asking price now to maximize your home’s sales potential given current market dynamics.

Prepare Your Home to Maximize Appeal for Quick Sale

First impressions matter. When demand is lower, excellent presentation becomes even more critical.

  • Invest in professional photography and video tours to showcase your home’s best features online.
  • Declutter and clean to make spaces look open, fresh, and well-maintained.
  • Stage your home with neutral décor so buyers can envision themselves living there.
  • Make small fixes and upgrades like paint touch-ups, new hardware, and landscaping.
  • Highlight unique assets in the listing description like a pool, media room, or custom kitchen to attract niche buyers.
  • Welcome feedback from your agent on changes to showcase your home competitively.
  • Conduct pre-inspections to address any major issues upfront and avoid haggling later.
  • Be flexible with showing times to meet buyer demand promptly.
  • The best option is to make buyers want put forward an escalation clause showing they genuine interest in buying your property.

With the right prep work, you can maximize your home’s aesthetic appeal and minimize objections that could deter buyers in today’s choosy market.

How to relist a house in a falling market

If you experienced less interest, lack of good offers, take it off the market and change your tactics. Instead of high street agent, use a local agent with knowledge. After that get the hosue ready to put back on the market by adjusting your pricing and marketing to account for changing market realities. With the right moves, you can successfully relist and sell.

  • Re-evaluate your price – Lower the asking price to align with comparable current sales. Account for the declining market conditions.
  • Refresh marketing materials – Take new photos, update listing descriptions to highlight improvements, get a new For Sale sign.
  • Stage it – Declutter, clean, paint, and decorate to make the home look fresh, neutral and move-in ready.
  • Have an open house – To generate interest among new potential buyers who didn’t see it the first time.
  • Change listing agent – Consider a new agent with fresh ideas and marketing approaches suited to down markets.
  • Update condition – Make any needed repairs or improvements buyers flagged on initial showings.
  • Offer incentives – Consider offering to pay buyer closing costs or home warranty to stand out.
  • Act quickly on offers – Negotiate and accept offers decisively to prevent losing interested buyers.
  • List at a higher price but offer a price reduction after 2-3 weeks if needed to generate interest.
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Key Takeaways To Sell Your House When Prices Fall

Selling when the housing market shifts to favor buyers requires proactive planning and smart execution. By following these best practices, you can achieve a successful sale even in downturn conditions:

  • Select an experienced, responsive agent who will partner closely with you through pricing and marketing adjustments.
  • Price competitively from the outset based on current sold comparables to generate quick interest and bids.
  • Invest in top-notch photography, staging and repairs to maximize buyer appeal.
  • Avoid long listing contracts to maintain flexibility as the market evolves.
  • Remain realistic on pricing and be ready to adjust to feedback and market activity.
  • Act with urgency on showings, negotiations, and timelines to capitalize on early buyer enthusiasm.

Understand where the market is headed, choosing the right agent, and pricing and prepping your home strategically, motivated sellers can close successful deals even as prices decline across the housing market.

FAQ: What are the chances of selling a house in a falling market?

The chances of selling your property can remain high if you follow the right steps and hire a good property expert who understands the market.

Price competitively based on current comparable sales to attract buyers still shopping. Don’t overprice or you may lose valuable time.

Prepare thoroughly – make repairs, stage, and invest in professional photography to showcase your home’s value.

Work closely with your agent for pricing feedback and to adjust marketing strategies to changing demand. Leverage their expertise.
Be flexible on agent commissions or terms if needed to incentivize your accredited estate agent to sell faster.

Consider renting your home if needed to ease time constraints, but avoid sitting idle.