November 2nd 2022
The Scott Brothers Q&A: Selling your home in a buyer’s market? Here’s how to stand out.
In this limited series, our investors and Canadian real estate industry experts — the Scott Brothers — answer Canada’s most burning real estate questions, which can help you buy, move, and sell with more confidence and less stress.
If you’re getting ready to list your home for sale, it’s important to understand the state of the market. Current trends will influence your strategies for listing and marketing your home, considering offers, and negotiating the final sale price.
Understanding the market will also help you set reasonable expectations about the selling process – especially when selling your home in a buyer’s market.
But what is a “buyer’s market”?
Simply put, a buyer’s market means that inventory is high and demand is low. When there are more homes on the market than people who are ready to buy, the buyer is the one in the driver’s seat.
What should you expect when selling your home in a buyer’s market?
Compared to a seller’s market — when homes sell quickly and for well over asking — there are a few key differences in a buyer’s market, like:
- Homes spend more time on the market
- “Bidding wars” are less common
- Homes sell much closer to their listing price
- Offer conditions and negotiations become more common again
Without the pressure of a market racing at warp speed, homes are on the market for longer, giving buyers more time to choose, and more options to choose from. So how can sellers make sure their listing stands out?
We asked real estate experts Drew and Jonathan Scott to weigh in on what you can do to help your listing shine in a buyer’s market.
Q: How can you make your home stand out for potential buyers?
1. Price competitively
Drew: In the past two years, many sellers used pricing strategies designed to generate multiple offers in a fiercely competitive market, like listing their homes below market value. Now that the market has shifted and we’re seeing fewer bidding wars, it’s time to rethink that strategy.
In a buyer’s market, hard data is your best friend. Before putting your home on the market, get an updated appraisal. For fast, free insights at the click of a button, start with Canada's most accurate home value calculator.
You can also look into similar homes that have recently sold in your neighbourhood. Easily browse listings with Properly’s home search tool, which you can toggle to view houses that are currently for sale and those that have sold.
This research will give you a clearer idea of your home’s actual current market value. And remember: a change in the market doesn’t mean you won’t sell your home for a good price, but rather that you should consider listing for a fair price to avoid missing potential offers.
2. Make necessary house repairs
Jonathan: There’s no better way to boost your chances of selling quickly – and for a good price – than by making your home feel move-in ready for buyers.
If your budget and timeline allow it, focus on updating the big-ticket spaces. Consider upgrading bathrooms, sprucing up the kitchen, and replacing windows that have passed their prime. (New windows will boost your home’s energy efficiency, which is a huge “pro” for buyers and the environment!)
The renos don’t need to be costly, either. Plenty of budget-friendly fixes like a fresh coat of paint, tidying up the landscaping, and addressing minor repairs will make your home feel polished and well cared for.
Tip: Some renovations and updates can have a better long-term payoff than others. Find out what’s worth the investment.
3. Get an experienced real estate agent — like an agent at Properly!
Drew: Navigating the real estate market can be tricky at the best of times, let alone following a major shift like the one we’ve just seen. With an experienced agent you’ll have peace of mind knowing an expert is in your corner, helping you navigate the ins and outs of the market.
An agent will tell you what buyers are looking for, share insights into competitive pricing for your area, recommend marketing strategies, and help you negotiate offers. You’ll also be able to tap into their network to find the right buyer for the right price.
In a competitive buyer’s market, your home needs to look its best and compete for interest. Relying on an experienced agent is one of the best decisions you can make.
Q: What should you not fix when you’re getting ready to sell a house?
Jonathan: Deciding which projects to tackle before listing your home for sale can feel daunting — but it doesn’t have to be. When putting together your list of to-dos, focus on items that will have a direct impact on the sale price of your home.
Avoid spending time on small, isolated issues like minor electrical or plumbing repairs, upgrading appliances, or replacing finishes that are starting to look dated. Someone buying a new home will see the big picture and want to personalize their home after moving in anyways.
Most importantly, don’t start new projects that you won’t have time to finish before you list – trust us, these look way worse than leaving your space as-is.
Q: Once my house gets noticed, how do I maximize the actual selling price?
1. Add attractive incentives
Drew: In a competitive market, you want to stand out from the rest. One way to do that is by getting creative with your approach, like offering flexible financial incentives to prospective buyers.
These could include prepaying taxes or title-transfer costs. Or, if you’re looking to appeal to first-time buyers, you could consider throwing in some extras like the lawn furniture that fits perfectly in your yard, or custom window treatments so they’ll have one less thing to worry about when they move-in.
In a buyer’s market, it’s also more common for sellers to pay the closing costs of the sale — a particularly attractive incentive for buyers who may not have a ton of cash available at closing.
2. Consider home staging
Jonathan: When competition is fierce, staging your home is one of the easiest ways to catch buyers’ attention.
Staging highlights your home’s best features while lending credibility to your listing by showing buyers exactly how they can use each room (vs. the ever-mysterious third bedroom/office/storage room/gym that does little for the imagination).
Plus, cleaning and decluttering your home before you put it on the market will also help you capture the swoon-worthy photos you need to make your listing stand out online – where most buyers start their search.
While staging can be a bit of an investment, it’s well worth the cost if it means your home will sell faster and for a fair price.
3. Talk to an agent
Drew: If you’ve reached the point of negotiating an offer in a buyer’s market, congratulations! A good agent will be an important member of your real estate team – especially when it comes to negotiating.
Your agent will have a strong understanding of the current market, comparables in your neighbourhood, and can help you decipher whether an offer is fair or not. They will also be able to help you draft a fair counteroffer, if that’s the route you choose to take.
Most importantly, if any problems creep up during the transaction process, an agent will be able to help you navigate those challenges without putting the deal at risk.
Ready to find the right real estate agent to sell your home in a buyer’s market? Properly has resources that can help you decide to list your home for sale. See their list of agents, or reach out to get matched with one directly.