How to price your home for a speedy sale

As you’re probably aware, the housing market is exceptionally busy right now. In fact, January was Rightmove’s busiest month ever, with a record number of home-movers searching for and enquiring about their next home.

With so many buyers actively looking, this could be a good time for you to sell your own home.

If you do decide to sell, something you’ll definitely want to get right from the very start is the asking price. So here is our latest advice on pricing, why it’s important, and tips to help you sell at the best price, and as quickly as possible.

We spoke with estate agent and property expert Lucy Pendleton, who’s a director and co-founder at James Pendleton, a  successful family-run agency based in London. She had some great advice to share.

Why is getting the price right at the start so important?

Mainly because it significantly increases your chances of finding a buyer.

A recent Rightmove study showed that pricing accurately from the start doubles the likelihood of selling successfully.

We looked at 300,000 properties for sale and found that sellers are twice as likely to find a buyer if they have an offer accepted on the first listed asking price, without having to do a price reduction.

Pricing accurately will also help you sell quicker – something that is very important to most home-sellers. Almost as, if not just as, important as getting the best price for their property.

The same study showed that when a property needs to be reduced in price it will take twice as long to sell, on average, than one that doesn’t.

The average time to find a buyer if a property is priced right is currently 21 days, but that rises to 47 days if it needs to be reduced.

The first two weeks are crucial

Did you know that when your property is uploaded to Rightmove it becomes live and visible to millions of home-hunters instantly?

It will also be sent out as a Property Alert email to anyone who’s asked us to help them find a property like yours.

This means that the first two weeks is usually when your home will get the most visibility and interest, so you’ll want to make sure you start with your best foot forward, with great photos of your beautiful home, and a price that is just right.

Okay, so how do I price correctly?

There are several ways you can find out, at least to a certain degree, how much your home is worth.

You could look at sold prices to find out how much properties like yours have sold for in your area. Or you could browse Rightmove, using the filters and keyword sort to find houses with similar specs as yours, and check their asking price, and how long they’ve been on the market for.

But because homes are as unique as the people who own them, there will always be variables that even all the data in the world would not pick up on.

And this brings us to one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make: the estate agent you choose to work with. As Lucy points out, “pricing is not a science, it’s a skill”.

“And that skill comes from experience, knowledge of the local area, the types of properties sold before, and being up-to-date with how the market has evolved over the years.”

Choosing the right estate agent

We recommend you ask at least three agents to value your property. If you’re recommended different asking prices from each of them, resist the urge to be automatically swayed by the agent promising the highest price.

They may turn out to be the right agent for you, but you’ll need more than just a promise to go by. Lucy suggests you dig a little deeper:

“Step back and take a deep breath before making a decision. Don’t get overly excited if an agent has promised to get a ludicrous amount for your property.”

“Ask agents to justify how they’ve come to that price. Ask them to provide evidence of what they sold recently, when, and how much for. How often are they reducing their prices, and by how much?

“If they’ve sold properties similar to yours recently, how many viewings were they booking in? How about number of offers? Ask for transparency right from the start, and that will help you with your decision.”

Also, don’t become overly fixated with the fee the agent charges. Usually the most important things to keep in mind are:

    1. The amount of money the house sells for: the sold price minus the agent’s fee.
    2. How quickly the sale will happen.

Working with an agent who provides a great service, is responsive, proactive, and an expert in your local area, will make a huge difference to the whole experience.

What if the property has been overvalued?

Often an overpriced property may be a sign of an over-optimistic seller. So if you find an agent you trust, it’s usually best to follow their advice – after all, that’s their area of expertise and it’s what you’re paying them for.

But even the best agents in the world may sometimes get the initial price slightly wrong and will need to readjust it. It’s no big deal – and they’ll also have a plan in place for if that happens.

Lucy tells us, “It’s in everyone’s interest to get the price right.  It costs agents money and precious resources to market a property, and they don’t want to end up with a property in their books that doesn’t sell because it’s overpriced and is draining their resources.”

Lucy went on to share a clever rule her teams use to assess pricing. She calls it the Rule of 10.

Here’s how it works: once a property has been on the market for ten days, or it’s had ten viewings – whichever comes first – it’s time to reassess the results and adjust the strategy, if necessary.

“No one can promise you how long it will take to sell your property, or for what price. But if you have the right agent, who uses all the tools in their toolbox to market your property correctly, you will know within the first ten days or ten viewings if it’s been priced correctly.”

“And it might not necessarily be that it’s overpriced. The change in strategy could be how the home is presented, for example. Perhaps that study should be dressed as a bedroom instead, so potential buyers can see beyond the desk and chair.”

And lastly, if a price adjustment is needed, our data shows that the sooner you do it the better. If the reduction is done in the first three weeks, you may still benefit from the momentum of the first two weeks.


Read more: Housing market sees busiest ever January on record


The header image for this article comes courtesy of Sheldon Bosley Knight.

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