Selling your home in a 'buyers’ market'

Real estate sales tips

Last week, there were 374 new (property) listings in the Kelowna area. There were 130 sales, 85 were canceled and 42 expired. There were also 104 price reductions and three price increases.

The market could be shifting to be more balanced, but I still consider it a "buyers’ market" for now.

The real estate market can be a rough ride. Homeowners often find themselves grappling with the challenge of selling their properties during a stagnant or falling market. While it may seem like pushing a boulder up a hill, there are strategic approaches that can help you successfully rise like the Phoenix from the ashes. (Nothing like a couple of metaphors to start the day.)

Set realistic expectations

Realize the process may take longer than in a seller's market and your property may not fetch the same high price. Research conditions in your area, consult real estate experts and adjust your expectations. We are fortunate in the Okanagan, and in B.C. in general, when it comes to real-estate demand. Having a fairly steady influx of buyers from other areas of the country gives us a bit of a cushion. People like to live here and that keeps demand up but it doesn’t fix all the problems and when there are three properties listed for every one sold, well, you do the math.

Pricing strategy

Remember there are only a few variables we can control when selling a home. The old adage that the three most important things in real-estate are location, location, location is very true but unfortunately once you buy your house on a piece of property, the property can’t be moved. So we are stuck selling it where it is. Buying in the right place to start with is a subject for another time.

The condition of your property is something we can control but it may incur extra costs. Maybe we can control the ease of purchasing giving some financing options, however, that’s not always possible.

One thing we can easily control is our pricing strategy. You might be tempted to set a high asking price with room to negotiate but I believe it's essential to be competitive right from the start. Consider getting an appraisal to determine the fair market value. Pricing it right first increases the likelihood of minimizing time on the market.

Consider that, in a falling market, there might be three homes listed for every one sold. Highly motivated sellers, such as those getting divorced, moving for work or those who simply can’t afford to pay a higher mortgage, will lower their price to get to the front of the line. After a few of those sales, buyers will see similar properties they are interested in selling at that price level and will be more aggressive for a better deal.

They may have lots of places to pick from so if you want your home to sell, pricing becomes key. Don’t fall into the trap of chasing the market if you want to sell. Being every buyer’s fifth choice won’t make it easy.

Enhance curb appeal and home staging

You only get one chance to make a first impression, especially in a challenging market. Keeping things in good repair and clean are inexpensive ways of helping attract a potential buyer. Enhance your property's curb appeal by maintaining the exterior, landscaping and making necessary repairs. Something people don’t speak about is smell, make sure things are clean and fresh. Remember the “nose blind” television commercials? Maybe ask a good friend over and see if it passes their “smell test.”

Inside, home-staging can make it more appealing. Talk to a contractor about doing renovations. Kitchens and baths that were recently renovated can have a big impact. Renovations can be time-consuming and expensive and are not always a possibility for all homeowners.

Highlight unique selling points

In a slow market, it's crucial to identify and highlight the unique selling points of your property. We may not be able to alter your location but we can show what makes your home. unique. A renovated kitchen, a spacious backyard or proximity to amenities, emphasize these features in your marketing. Showcase stand out features to capture the attention of potential buyers.

Flexible financing options

This is not for everyone. Offering financing can make it difficult to purchase your next home, so speak to your accountant as everyone has a unique financial situation. If possible, consider offering flexible financing options to attract a broader range of buyers. This could include seller financing, lease-to-own arrangements (before doing that talk to lawyers and accountants to protect yourself) or other creative financing solutions. Being open to different options can make your property more accessible to buyers who may be facing financing challenges.

Pricing it right from the start

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with putting the price at exactly what you want to get the most buyers looking, then holding firm. It’s your agent’s job to explain why your home is worth the asking price, so make sure they are doing it.

Many sold listings I see sell for the list price. However, remember it’s your home and you get to decide how it is listed, and for how much, as well as whether there is a little room to move or its bare minimum and hold tight.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Anthony Shephard is a real-estate agent with 2 Percent Realty Interior.

He was born in Vernon and has lived in and around the Okanagan his whole life, with the exception of a couple years in Washington State, a few ears in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Calgary for a bit and a year in South America.

He has lived in  Kelowna more than 12 years with his wife and two youngest children.

“I have a deep connection with the Okanagan and no matter where I go, I am always pulled back here, it’s understandable seeing as how it’s one of the best places on Earth to live,” he says.

Shephard has owned several businesses in the Okanagan and Shuswap over the years. He has also worked as a computer network engineer, a proprietary stock trader, and a heavy equipment operator in the oilfields.

“As a teenager I spent a lot of time in my father’s real-estate company in the Lower Mainland and have been in and around the business my whole life”

He understands that different people have different needs and strives to fulfill those needs for every client, every time.

anthony.shephard@2percent realty.ca


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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