These days, it’s not all that difficult to get a rough valuation for on your property. Gone are the days when you had to rely on your estate agent who would perform some sort of mystic ritual, pulling a figure out of the air based on “deep industry knowledge” which you couldn’t possibly understand.
Now, a click of a mouse or a visit to one of the online property portals can achieve much the same thing – or at least it’ll give you a rough estimate or what your home might fetch on the open market.
But still there are homes being offered at vastly inflated prices; homes which therefore stand little chance of actually selling; homes which, almost inevitably, will have to come down in price before they change hands.
Well, first of all – even though they may have done their research in advance – sellers can be easily convinced their home is worth more. After all, if you have a figure in your head and someone who is supposed to know the market better than you tells you that you’re £10,000 under, it’s not hard to understand why you’d be tempted to go with that.
But don’t forget estate agency is an increasingly competitive game. Some firms will therefore impress you with that high valuation, tie you to a long-term sole selling rights agreement and, when the home fails to sell, persuade you that you need to drop the asking price. You don’t get your quick sale, you don’t get the price you were led to believe was possible – but they still win your business by blinding you with figures they never really expected to achieve.
Secondly, there are sellers out there who want to chance their arm. They know what the asking price on a property ought to be but they’ve seen prices rising and want to gamble on something higher, regardless of advice from the estate agent.
Both are self-serving; both are strategies which involve considerable risk and both are situations we would advise our clients to avoid.
Firstly, use those tools on Rightmove or Zoopla to get a rough idea of what asking prices in your area are and then tap into the Land Registry’s website to compare them with what properties actually sold for. Once you’ve done that, approach several estate agents for a valuation and see what they suggest. If one’s way above the mark, beware – but don’t go too low either.
Equally, we see it as our job to dissuade sellers from inflated asking prices. Of course a seller wants the best price – but there’s a dividing line between something realistic and something preposterous. There have been cases where overpriced property has ended up on the market for ages, been reduced several times and eventually sold for below the accepted asking price for the area.
So, in short, if you’re selling property, our advice is keep it real. Naturally, you don’t want to part with your home for too little – but ask too much and it might be you who ends up paying the price.