Dear house sellers. In my last blog post I introduced you to magic word in house sales number 1: Presentation. (Click here if you missed it.) Now it’s time to introduce you to the second magic word.
Be warned – in order to sell your house successfully (and that means to achieve what you want to achieve out of the sale, whether that’s top price, to sell quickly, or any particular point along that sliding scale) you need to make friends with all three of these fellas. Neglecting just one of them could mean your house continues to sit on the market with no interest for many more months to come. But being BFFs with all of them means there no reason within your control that your house won’t sell straight away for close to the asking price.
The buzz word here is REALISTIC. We are no longer in the silly days of 2007, so don’t think you’re going to get the price your house was ‘valued’ at back then. You won’t. Remember that however tough it is to swallow, a house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it at that particular time.
So don’t be greedy; be realistic. I understand that everyone wants the maximum price for their property, and some have a particular value they need to get in order to do what comes next, but just because you want or need a certain figure, that doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Remember what your potential buyers are doing all day every day when they’re actively looking for their next house – they’re scouring the market for houses that are very similar to yours. They know exactly what is available for what price, because they’re looking at it all the time! They’ll know in an instant if your house is over-priced, and once they’ve made that evaluation they won’t look at you twice. Even if you drop your price, you’ve still got that negative evaluation to overcome even if the buyer does realise that the reason they discounted you is no longer valid.
Get it right first time. In order to sell straight away, you want to be the best house of your type and size available at your price. If you’re going to price yourself higher than the others then you’ve got to have a really good reason that buyers will agree with (and saying it’s worth £400k because that’s what you spent on it is not a really good reason).
Step 1: get 3 valuations from local estate agents. If you can, ask them up front to be realistic and not bump the valuation up just to get your business – on a valuation visit, the agent’s sole aim is to get you to sign their contract, so they’re not focussed on selling the house at that point. They can’t do that until you’ve signed up with their agency, so that’s job number one for them. This means that some agents will over-value a house just to get your business, and then they’ll drop the price to where it should have been all along. Be up front with them and let them know before they start spouting numbers at you that you want a realistic sales valuation, not a fantasy.
Step 2: go and check out the market. Use the valuations you got from the agents, and play buyer – search Rightmove or Zoopla or wherever for houses that match yours in that price range. How well do you compare? Do the valuations seem reasonable or are they totally out of sync with what you’re seeing online? Be honest with yourself, and if you can’t do that, ask me to do your pricing indications for you. I’m totally honest; it’s a talent and sometimes a curse :)
Step 3: work out what your price strategy is going to be. Work it out with your spouse or anyone else directly involved in ownership of the house, and decide what the lowest amount you can accept will be, of course making sure this is in line with what you found during steps 1 and 2. Then decide on the figure you’d like (same rules apply) so you’ve got two figures. This is your negotiating range, and you’re ready to meet magic word of house sales number 3.
Til next time!