Opinion by John Swift
IT IS a bitter pill to swallow for many people but the point about being realistic with asking prices – which estate agents have been hammering home for several months now – cannot be argued against.
Properties are selling so long as they are priced competitively. I hesitate to write about this in case it all falls through at the last minute but I know from recent personal experience that it works. I've had a property in Newcastle on the market for a month or so and the first viewer we had has offered the full asking price. As I said, there's many a slip between cup and lip and I won't celebrate until the money is in my bank, but so far it is looking good. Fingers crossed...
The thing is that when I've told people that we've been offered the full price the immediate reaction has been, "Well, you've obviously pitched it too low."
Possibly so but my point is that I was guided by the estate agent whom I trust to give an accurate value of what the market will bear. I would have liked more, of course I would, but my desire to sell far outweighed my desire to squeeze more money out of the deal at the cost of possibly sitting on it for months and months.
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Every valuer I've spoken to these past few months says there is often a gap, typically around 10 per cent, between what the vendor wants and what is market reality. Time and again agents tell me that vendors have rejected their advice, gone for a higher price – and then waited for ever without even a sniff of interest.
I have seen adverts showing houses with several tens of thousands of pounds knocked off them, presumably because the owners are now absolutely desperate to offload the property. But what has been the emotional distress and financial cost in the meantime of hoping and waiting for a buyer to turn up?
If you want to sell you just have to be sensible on the price and listen to the experts who deal in the trade, day in, day out. Buyers aren't silly – they are watching the market too and if they see a property which is on for a long time or has had several reductions they know the seller is getting desperate and will take advantage of that.
Be sensible, be guided by what the estate agents say. Who knows, you too might get someone offering the full asking price.