When you sell your house privately, one of your first jobs – and actually one of the most daunting ones - is to set an asking price for your home. We know this can be a tough call, and so Habitats is here to help you navigate through the factors you need to consider to make the decision that is going to sell your home fastest, and for the best possible price.
There’s plenty to consider. How buoyant is the market? How much are similar properties selling for? Is my house convenient for commuting? Many people end up tolerating the expense of traditional estate agency fees to ensure that their house is priced correctly, getting those tricky questions answered for them. But there is another way.
Habitats offer a free valuation suggestion tool, which will give you a ballpark figure of how your home should be priced. But to go the extra mile, here are our top tips on setting a savvy asking price that will pitch your home at just the right level for a successful sale.
Take your time to understand your local property market
We all know how much the UK housing market can fluctuate, and the economy has a huge part to play in that. Whether we’re riding a housing boom brought on by a stamp duty holiday, or we’re seeing a stagnant market during an economic downturn, it’s worth doing a little bit of homework to know the current situation. A good place to begin is to check how the housing market is doing overall. The Halifax House Price Index is the UK’s longest running monthly house price series – its data covers the whole of the UK and will tell you all sorts of useful information, including the nationwide average house price and the percentage that prices have risen or fallen monthly, quarterly and yearly. It also gives you a picture of what is currently impacting the market and some predictions for the future.
Be confident with your own strategy
Pricing your house yourself isn't just about what is going on around you, but what YOU need to achieve from your sale.
If, for example, you need to move quickly or are under pressure in a chain, it might be worthwhile advertising your property at a price ‘in excess of’ - showing you how much buyers are willing to pay.
If time is less of an issue, it may be worth setting your asking price at the higher end of the scale and waiting for the perfect buyer. If you can wait for the buyer who wants an emotional sale and is looking for just what you have to offer, you are most likely to achieve your highest price.
Make use of online tools
We often wonder how we survived in the days before the internet, and when determining your own property price the world wide web truly is your best friend. There are so many online tools to help you, meaning you can confidently set a price based on accurate and timely information. Zoopla is probably the most popular tool for checking what your house is currently worth, and what other homes in your area have sold for recently. Simply type in your postcode, and you are offered an estimated price, as well as a lower and higher estimate which allows you to account for the current state of the wider market. Rightmove can also help you to have a little look at what price other properties similar to yours and in your area are being marketed at, so in this instance it pays to be a nosey neighbour!
Consider the value or limitations of your locality
The old adage ‘Location, Location, Location’ is absolutely correct – your local area plays a key role in determining your house price.
There are the obvious factors that come into play that will positively impact the value of your home, such as being within the catchment area of a popular school or somewhere boasting low crime rates. The proximity to a train station can also be a real bonus, but there is definitely a sweet spot between it being near enough for a commute, or so close that the line backs onto your back garden.
However, you also need to take into account anything that may be a red flag to a potential buyer and may then reduce the value of your home. Examples of this include whether your house sits on a flood plain, or whether you live downwind of your local landfill site or sewage works. You may have become used to certain issues you live alongside, but when you set a sale price it’s vital to put yourself in a potential buyers' shoes and open your eyes to any limitations.
If in doubt, test the market
Finally, there is absolutely no shame in testing the market. If you’re as addicted to browsing property listings as we are, you’ll know that you often come across properties that have reduced their asking price since the last time you checked. In our minds, a price drop alone doesn’t necessarily signal that there is something wrong with the property in question. Indeed, we’re inclined to think that a property which has dropped in value after a long period on sale is something to be slightly more wary of.
Test the market with your asking price for a short period. Try and set as realistic a figure as possible, but if it is proving too high, move within the first month to 6 weeks of listing to a slightly lower figure.
Pricing your home without the help of an estate agent does take some consideration, but arguably with the tools available to us online now, there has never been a better time to take the leap and give it a go yourself. Having confidence in your own knowledge, alongside the assistance of tools like those that Habitats can provide, put you in a prime position to make an informed decision on how to set your sale price. For the thousands saved in agency fees, alongside that smug feeling you’ll get from becoming your very own property market guru, we think it’s worth a shot.