While you can't control the economy, you can make choices in buying and maintaining a home that will help ensure it retains value and sells more quickly even in a slow market.
As always, choose your location carefully. Homes in good locations are always in demand, even when markets are slow. What makes for a good location? A safe, low-crime neighborhood in which properties are well maintained, proximity to good schools, public transit and/or major transportation routes, and amenities like shopping and essential services.
Don't buy the most expensive home in the area. When markets soften, the disparity in price between the most expensive home and comparable homes will be even more apparent (and off-putting) to buyers. As well, buyers are even more likely, when markets are soft, to pass over a more expensive property in favor of a less costly home that's in a better neighborhood.
Don't over-improve. High-end upgrades like chef's kitchens can be difficult to sell to the average buyer at any time, but especially when the market takes a downturn. If you want to improve your home, the savvy move would be to stick to renos that appeal to the greatest possible number of buyers, like modernizing outdated kitchens or adding a second or third bathroom.
Stay on top of upkeep. It can be tempting to defer general repair and maintenance around the home, but doing so could really cost you, particularly in a slow real estate market. Like properties that boast a good location, homes that have been well maintained are always sought after – as such, they sell faster and for more money in markets both hot and cool.