Setting the asking price or listing value is one of the key decisions to make when selling your house: along with choosing the right agent, pitching the price correctly is vital to ensure that it stands the best chance of getting noticed by potential buyers.
Traditionally there have been two schools of thought on setting a different asking price from the value you want to achieve. Pitch it high, so the theory goes, and expect the buyer to knock it down a little, and you’ll still get the figure you want. Alternatively, set it low and make the property look like a bargain, driving lots of interest and potentially triggering a bidding war.
However, Movewise’s property advisors, with decades of experience in the industry, recommend that in most cases it is better to set a realistic listing value that reflects the amount you actually want to sell for.
There are good reasons for this. First, people who search for property on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla will filter their results by price, so they may not even see your listing if it is set too low or too high. Second, properties listed at the wrong level are likely to take longer to sell, and, because price reductions can carry a stigma, end up selling for less than they would have done if listed at the correct price in the first place. A study of sold prices by Which? in 2017 suggested that overpricing could lose sellers as much as £4.3bn per year, while Rightmove reported last year that properties with a price reduction were half as likely to sell as those priced correctly, and took 26 days longer to sell.
Here’s our guide to getting it right first time.
Before you can fix your listing price, you should ask the experts. We recommend getting valuations from three estate agents who are experienced in selling similar properties in the local area. Usually these valuations will not vary too much from each other, and will provide a good starting point. With more unusual properties, specialist knowledge becomes even more important, which is why choosing the right agent is vital. For more advice, see our complete guide to choosing the best estate agent.
Ask the agents for evidence to back up their valuations: for example, sold prices of comparable properties they have recently listed. But be aware that market conditions change over time, and past sales might not necessarily be a guide to current house prices.
Don’t just rely on agents’ suggested valuations: remember that they are trying to get your business, so they may inflate house prices to get your hopes up and perhaps justify a bigger fee. Search online, at local agents’ websites and property portals, putting yourself in the position of a potential buyer for your home. What else is on the market in the area? These are the properties you are competing against, so make sure you price accordingly. Factor in supply and demand: if there are lots of similar houses for sale, you might need to reduce your asking price to generate interest. For the latest news and insight check out our News page; you could also check local sold prices with the Land Registry.
Do you need to sell quickly, or can you afford to take your time and hold out for the best offer? This will have an impact on the asking price you set – but it’s best not to tell an agent that you are looking for a quick sale at the valuation stage, as you want them to give an unbiased appraisal. If you are in no hurry, then consider when is the right date to launch your home on the market, as house prices do vary with the seasons: read our guide to the best and worst times of year to sell.
If you are not getting any interest from buyers, it might not be the price that is wrong, but the agent. See our guide to changing estate agents – but beware that many agents lock sellers in with exclusivity periods, making it difficult or impossible to sell with another agent without paying a penalty.
If you do decide to cut your asking price, our advice is that it’s best to bite the bullet and reduce it in one hit, rather than slicing away incrementally. When choosing a new figure, take into account the price bands on property portals: on Rightmove, for instance, house prices go up by £25,000 between £300,000 and £500,000, with £50,000 bands up to £700,000, then £100,000 bands up to £1m. So reducing the price from, say, £750,000 to £720,000 won’t move the listing into a new band. Drop it to £700,000 or just below and you can potentially reach lots of new pairs of eyes.
Movewise offers a unique multi-agent selling process that gives you the best chance of selling your home, for the best price. We can help you set your listing value correctly in a number of ways:
To find out more, contact us today.