Selling your home in a declining market can be a challenging proposition. However, if you view it as a business transaction and look at the big picture it can still work out.
The factors affecting the sale of your home are location, price, condition, and market. Let's look at each one individually
Location - You've always heard the phrase location, location, location. This remains true in any market. Location affects value of your home based on your home's location relative to its surrounding community and its desirability to the buyer community.
Price - Price is the value of your home determined by a comparative market analysis (CMA) conducted by your REALTOR. This information tells you what your home is worth based on recent sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. The current market (what buyer's are willing to pay and seller's willing to accept) determines your home's ultimate selling price.
Condition - How well the property has been maintained and taken care of determines its condition. Houses in top condition sell sooner and for a better price. A home must be maintained in ready to show condition at all times during the listing period. Your REALTOR can make suggestions about how to improve your home's saleability.
Market - Selling your home in a buyers market is very different from selling your home in a sellers market. Right now we're in a strong buyer's market. This means as a seller you'll need to be flexible on price and terms. Buyers will look for every opportunity to buy a home at a discounted price. Your REALTOR is a professional and will present you with options to consider in order to make informed decisions regarding pricing your home to sell.
Selling in a declining market:
Competition in the current market is based primarily on price and condition. To sell in this market your home must be priced right and priced well relative to your competition (other homes like yours available for sale) and...your home must be in top condition: well maintained, clean, and clutter free. Selling in a declining market may take longer. Also remember, if you sell in a declining market, you'll be buying in the same market, thus having more leverage in buying your next home. So, no matter what market you're in it all works out. You may get a lower price, but you'll be in the driver's seat to buy your next home at a competitive price and on your terms.
What to expect:
Go in with eyes wide open. Don't expect to sell your home for what you think it is worth, rather, expect to sell at what the market determines to be fair market value. You and your REALTOR should "right" price your home based on competition in the marketplace and market conditions at the time.
Accept the fact that your home may take longer than the typical 30-90 days one would expect in a normal market.
Once your home has sold, you'll have more choices of homes to buy. Interest rates are at historical lows and mortgage money is readily available for well qualified home buyers.