Whether you’re selling a home for the first time or you’ve already climbed a few rungs on the housing ladder, here’s how to get the best price with the least possible fuss.
Surveying asking prices in the local area will give you an unrealistic picture of the market condition. To see what’s selling and for how much, look at final sale values and keep in mind that Land Registry data can be up to six months old, so ask estate agents for examples of recent sales.
Watch out for overvaluations
Three agents value your home with the third suggesting a value of £20k over the others – which do you pick? Naturally, you gravitate to the higher offer – but this can be a cheap trick to win your business. The inflated value will price you out of prospective buyers’ search criteria, put people off from viewing and attract lower offers than you expected. You’ll also waste time looking for new properties outside of your price range.
Obtain a number of valuations and ask what price each agent thinks they can realistically achieve, given a three month window. Compare to actual sale prices for similar properties in the vicinity. In London, it should be possible to find a comparison even for more unique properties – while outside the capital, it’ll be more about the stats, with number of square feet, land sold with the property, listed status and such features being more relevant.
Ask about track record
When shortlisting your agents, ask them about their stats for house sales, together with examples of comparable properties they’ve sold recently. If they’re selling only 85% to 90% of the properties that they’re listing, it could be that they’re pricing them too high initially (perhaps to win business). =
Price to sell
Whilst we’d all love an extra £5k or £10k, homes that linger on the market for a number of months go stale – attracting suspicion or being overlooked in favour of newer fresher properties. Many agents have an alert service that allows prospective buyers to be notified of new properties that meet their criteria in the area. This is your best chance for a sale – so don’t blow it with an inflated price.
Compare what’s there
See what else is selling in your area and how your property compares. If there are plenty of properties that are similar in price and quality, lowering your price will make you stand out, attracting more viewings and offers.
Do keep in mind the average price per square foot – but don’t take it as a rule. You’ll find that there’s a diminishing return on price per square foot in larger properties compared to smaller one.
Keep in mind that if you’re selling a flat, the price you can achieve depends on what floor you are on. Properties closer to the ground will achieve more than those higher in the building, especially if there is no lift.
Consider how people search
People search on Rightmove in price bands – £50,000 – £60,000, £60,000 – £70,000 and so on. If your asking price is slightly above a price band, consider dropping it a little to make your property look good value within the lower range.
Ask what people want
Your agent should have a good knowledge of what type of properties are in demand locally. See if you could adapt or style your property to meet the features that local buyers are looking for. This might mean simply dressing the home to suit a particular market, or converting a fourth bedroom into a study or gym.
If you’re selling a 2-bed and the market demand is for 3-beds, consider thoroughly investigating the costs and practicalities of converting the garage, basement or loft, or of building an extension. You don’t have to actually do the work unless you have the time and budget – but enquiries and plans will be attractive for a prospective buyer who could purchase and extend, increasing the property’s worth.
Keep an eye on sale prices in the area but remember that many stats are two or three months old and do not reflect the latest conditions.
You can find more tips on selling your home in our previous article, ‘How to sell your home’.