28 Hot Tips for Selling Your House In a Slow Market
Updated: Oct 4
When the housing market is moving slowly, you need all the best tips for selling your house in a buyer’s market. Understanding the current movement of the housing market and what to do about it can lead to success even when everyone else around you is struggling.
What does a slowing housing market mean for sellers in 2023?
Following the extreme housing market surge during the pandemic, Hampton Roads, VA, and many places around the nation saw home sales grind to a halt as active listings hit record lows in 2023. This created a different kind of market slowdown than we’ve typically seen in the past.
The unique factor about the 2023 housing market stall is that both supply and demand have fallen sharply this year. When we see a shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, typically supply remains relatively steady (or increases) while demand drops. But now, rising mortgage rates are dissuading buyers while housing inventory remains slim-to-none.
So, are home sellers lowering their listing prices right now? In short, no. Historically low inventory on the market means that prices are generally remaining steady – even slowly continuing to rise – in some areas.
However, sellers who overprice their houses are now at risk of needing to do a price drop to get their properties to sell. Higher interest rates have made buyers more hesitant to bid on a house at a price that doesn’t match its location or condition.
You can still get a great price when selling your house, but buyers in this environment are more willing to be picky and wait for the right property. To maximize your proceeds and sell as quickly as possible, you’ll definitely want to team up with a real estate professional you can trust.
28 Tips for Selling Your House in a Slow Housing Market
The experts at CGP Real Estate have developed a list of the best tips to help you sell your house quickly and for a great price, even in a buyer’s market.
Need to make sure your home sells quickly? We can help you sell your house fast.
Team up with an expert.
1. Hire an agent who’s the whole package. A quality real estate professional will not only have experience and great reviews, but also the skills to navigate competitive or buyer’s markets. Your agent or Realtor® will know the local market inside and out and help you strategize to get the best price possible, even in a slowing market.
2. Trust your expert. When you’ve put in the work to find a real estate agent who’s the best fit for you, you should be able to trust his or her expertise. We’ve often seen sellers leave money on the table or pass on a great deal because they haven’t taken enough time to find an agent they have confidence in.
3. Build a comprehensive marketing strategy. Choose an agent who can help you put together a comprehensive marketing strategy, including plenty of tips to get your property in front of the most people to sell it quickly.
4. Make a Plan B ahead of time. Ask your agent or Realtor® to discuss a back-up plan, just in case your initial preferences for selling your house aren’t working. This could entail a pre-planned price reduction to stoke interest, offering buyer concessions, or making repairs or updates to the property based on feedback from showings.
5. Anticipate negotiations. In a buyer’s market (or any market), you may not get a bidding war on your home. It’s often best to try negotiating with an interested buyer than to allow your house to sit on the market for a longer time. Seek advice from the real estate professional you’ve hired to know when you need to remain firm and when to negotiate.
6. Plan when you’ll list. Work with your agent to determine the best time to list your home to meet your goals. An agent who knows the local market can advise you on factors such as seasonality and how they will affect your listing. (Here’s a look a Virginia Beach house sales timeline.) If you plan to sell during a slower season, you may need to be more creative in your listing or prepare for a longer sales process.
Understand the value and condition of your house.
7. Get a comparative analysis. With the help of a local expert, take a look at how comparable properties in your area are selling right now. How quickly are houses selling near you? How much are they listing for?
Selling a property in Hampton Roads, Virginia? Get a free comparative market analysis (CMA) from CGP.
6. Get a pre-listing inspection. Often, it makes sense to get a pre-listing home inspection to address any minor maintenance issues that could arise and derail a future deal. Just know that if you find a major issue during inspection, you’ll need to fix it or disclose it to prospective buyers.
7. Consider a pre-listing appraisal. If you aren’t certain of your home’s value or just want a second opinion, an appraisal will help you understand what you can realistically expect your property to sell for in a slow housing market. Mention that you’ve completed an appraisal in your listing to offer the buyer confidence in your home’s value and the financing they can get for purchasing it – especially if not many comparable properties have sold nearby recently.
The price MUST be right.
10. Be realistic. It’s easy to get emotional, especially when selling what may be your largest asset. Try to look at your property without bias, and use our free home sale calculator to consider everything that affects your final bottom line.
11. Take a holistic view of your property. If the bathrooms and kitchen are brand new but the roof, windows, and HVAC system are all 20+ years old, you’ll find it hard to sell your house for top dollar in a slow housing market. List according to its value in its current condition, not based on what it could sell for if everything were perfect.
12. Know the drawbacks of overpricing. Listing your house for too much can easily lead to it sitting on the market for a long time. Studies show that longer market times lead to lower sales prices in the end.
13. Consider some updates. If getting the best price possible for your home is more important to you than selling your house fast, it may be worth the investment to strategically update parts of your property, like the kitchen, bathroom, or even replacing light fixtures.
Not sure how much your house is worth? Check out our free resources for home sellers to help you set the right price.
Prepare for a great first impression.
14. Declutter. A simple but vital tip for selling your house in a slow market: when possible, remove all personal belongings and items from the house that aren’t being used for staging. Especially when taking listing photos, a clean and organized space is ideal. Declutter all closet and garage spaces for walkthroughs.
15. Clean. We’re talking full spring-cleaning mode. In addition to your standard chores, spend time cleaning dirty walls, ceilings, and baseboards. If your property is cluttered or dirty, there’s a good chance you’ll have to reduce its price if you want a quick sale.
16. Stage. Industry research shows how beneficial it is to put your best foot forward when presenting the inside of your home, especially in a buyer’s market. Work with an agent who has experience professionally staging a house in a way that will appeal to the most buyers to sell quickly and for top dollar.
17. Get professional listing photos. The photos on your listing are the first opportunity for potential buyers to check out your space, so it’s worthwhile to invest in professional shots. The way you present your house will be even more crucial when selling in a down market.
18. Consider a fresh coat of paint. Painting tends to be a quick and rather affordable update that can make a big difference in the speed of sale and the price you get for your house. A 2023 study by Zillow showed that dark grays could enhance your bottom line.
19. Don't forget the exterior. When a buyer pulls up for the first viewing, make sure your property has instant curb appeal. This can be a simple fix such as landscaping or cleaning the yard – no one wants to walk through a jungle in the backyard or step in dog poop while checking out the shed.
Don’t skimp on marketing and presentation.
20. Make a plan for showings. Communicate and strategize with your agent to make a solid plan for how and when your house will be shown so you can always put your best foot forward. You never want to be caught off-guard for a last-minute showing.
21. Add a video walk-through. In addition to high-quality listing photos, consider sharing a video walkthrough of your home. This can be a big hit for those following listing pages on social media and help generate interest in buying your house more quickly in a slow housing market.
22. Get drone photos of the property’s exterior. People don’t just move into a house, they move onto a property and into a neighborhood. Give them a full picture of where they will be living with some aerial photos.
23. Provide a layout of the house. An easy-to-read blueprint of the house with room dimensions will greatly appeal to prospective buyers considering a viewing.
24. Create a feature sheet. This is an opportunity to market all of the updates and reasons your home is worth the price. Jot down every asset you can think of, and have your real estate professional help you decide which highlights are the most enticing to share.
25. Get the word out by every means possible. For a quick and profitable house sale, your comprehensive house marketing strategy shouldn’t just mean listing your property on the MLS. Make sure your agent is helping you market it everywhere, including social media, popular listing websites, print ads, Google, and more.
26. Plan an open house. Open houses can be a great tool. When interested buyers see others are looking at the property, it creates a sense of urgency. Stirring up interest like this can help sell your house fast even when the market is slow.
27. Offer buyer incentives. Think of creative ways you can sweeten the deal for potential buyers. Some popular incentives include offering a credit toward repairs, a home warranty, or a closing credit. Check with the buyer’s lender first before adding anything to make sure it will not affect the final loan approval.
28. Consider offering the buyer’s agent a bonus commission. Entice agents to share your house listing with their prospective buyers by offering a bonus commission. Let them know that if they bring the final buyer and you receive a full-price offer, that agent will get an additional commission from you. This can help you get more viewings in a slower housing market.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re selling your house in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, these tips will help you get the best deal for you. They’ll help keep your property competitive with other houses selling nearby. Make sure you have an expert real estate agent, and keep your eye on the prize!