Pricing your home to sell

As autumn settles, the prime central London property market remains tricky and price sensitive. There is a continued shortage of stock and agents are clamouring for business. But at Nicolas Van Patrick we believe it is important to stick to our guns and give realistic advice to clients when it comes to pricing their home for sale, backed up by irrefutable evidence.

This practice stood us in good stead recently when we were asked to join a parade of agents to value a house in Montpelier Walk, Knightsbridge village. The owner had bought the property for £3m several years ago and it is a sign of the times that we valued it at £3.35m in the current market. Given the stamp duty the vendor paid when purchasing the property, achieving this sale price would effectively mean he was losing money. As we left, he told us that we had indeed given the lowest valuation of all the agents, so we thought we had missed out on the instruction. However, he chose to instruct us regardless because he understood that we were giving a truthful picture of the market, backed up by facts. We had been selling houses over the past few months in that area which justified our pricing – we could prove that we knew what we were talking about.

While preparing the brochure ready to launch we showed a serious buyer around who immediately made a bid below asking price. This was rejected but we were able to back up with comparisons as to why the house was worth more and following two consecutive increased bids, we agreed a deal at 2 per cent off asking price before even going live with it to the market. Contracts were exchanged within the week. 

What this demonstrates that the price your home comes to market at is essential if you are keen to move. Part of the reason for this is that when it is launched on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla you will get the most views by potential purchasers. But also, if you over-value your home, it will sit there until buyers feel it is priced correctly. There is every chance you may not end up with as much as you would have done if you had started marketing at the correct price.

Although we are supposed to be the experts, some vendors feel they know more when it comes to their property. Or they feel that their property is special so they want to market it at a higher price than we would advise. Often, they try for a bit more because they expect buyers to negotiate downwards and they want to leave room for this. Added to this, if vendors are not in a rush to sell, they may be happy to wait to see if they achieve their desired price.

Mostly though, vendors are realising that if they overprice their property, they won’t even get a sniff from a buyer who will completely disregard their property on the basis that they are not a serious seller. Our advice is that you can never undersell a property if it is marketed properly as well-informed buyers will compete and push the price upwards, even in this tricky market.


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