Over the past 20 years global property, stocks and shares have enjoyed a secular bull market. The easy monetary policy of Greenspan’s Fed, off-shoring of the western world’s inflation to emerging nations, the advent of the internet and online trading, mandatory 401k contributions, and the often-mentioned baby boomer generation has fuelled one of the largest boom cycles in recorded history.

But what goes up comes down- history has proved this to us time and again since the days of Adam Smith, but our collective memories are short. With the typical cycle lasting 30 to 40 years it is no wonder we forget past lessons. I certainly do not remember the hard-learned lessons of the years following 1929.

Most leading economists now agree that we are entering, or have entered, the bear market phase of the economic cycle. Whether this started in 2001 with the internet bubble, the turn in Top Marana AZ Realtor property prices in 2005, or through the continuing effects of the credit credit crunch will only be determined with the clarity of hindsight. Any estimates to how long the decline side will take to turn up again are really just best guesses.

So, prognostications and economic theory aside, what does this mean for your average homeowner or property investor?

The answer is “it depends”.

For those who are conservatively leveraged, able to comfortably meet their mortgage payments or with positively geared investments, they simply do nothing. Their net paper worth may change, but in 2, 5 or 10 years they will be wondering what the fuss was about as prices rebound through today’s depressed levels.

Unfortunately, many of us do not have this luxury. We may have increasing mortgage payments, increasing interest rates on credit card debt and car loans, while at the same time our disposable income is being reduced by the skyrocketing price of everything from fuel to beer.

Inevitably, this forces many of us to sell property into a declining market. Selling in a declining market is far different than selling in a boom market and it is important we are aware of, and prepared for, the fundamental differences in sales approach.

Firstly, in a declining property market it is imperative that we price accurately. Mis-pricing in a rising market may lose us a quick sale but at some stage the market should catch up with our asking price. This is not the case in a declining market. An overpriced property will likely sit in the market bypassed by the few buyers looking for property. The longer a mis-priced property remains unsold, the more over priced it becomes. In a declining market price accurately, sell quickly.

Secondly, fear marketing and the use of phrases such as “better be quick” and “don’t miss out” are more likely to have the opposite effect in a declining market. Is a buyer going to “miss out” today when they might pay less tomorrow? No, in fact the buyer’s fear has changed to one of buying too high, rather than missing out. When marketing talk up the features and benefits of a property and avoid hard-sell tactics.

And thirdly, in a depressed market we need to find buyers. They are out there, but there are many properties for sale to distract them from finding yours. Word of mouth is a great tool- don’t be ashamed to spread the word. Post signs, flyers, and place ads in newspapers. Employ good real estate agents who will actively market your property with you- remember they also have mortgages and mouths to feed. The more people know your property is for sale, the more likely you will find a buyer.

And the internet, use the internet. Not only can you access your local market, but with the internet you can market your property to the world. There are many great websites out there offering a range of services, and many even offer free basic listings. In this case you have nothing to lose but more exposure and more chance to sell your property.

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