Should you reduce your asking price?


If your agent suggests that you lower your home's asking price, should you take it on the chin? There are ways to establish if your home is pitched at the right value and if your agent is giving you the right advice.

First things first, a good agent will get you the best price the market will bear. They will keep communication fluid between you and market your property at every opportunity.

Is your agent marketing your property well?
Your home should be advertised on property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market. Has your agent advertised your home in the local press and displayed it in the shop window? All of these marketing strategies help generate viewings but your agent should also be phoning suitable applicants on their database and encouraging them to see your home.

Are there enough good quality photos?
We know from experience that around ten photos are perfect for a flat or small house while about fifteen to twenty-five perform best for larger homes (not thirty to forty). These figures produce maximum click-throughs on the portals - too few or too many aren't good. Another thing we know is to avoid using several shots of the same room at different angles unless it really is a very large, interesting space. We're often surprised to find that people don't fully prepare their home before the photographer arrives. Make beds neatly, clear clutter and remove everything from kitchen worksurfaces - by far the easiest way forward is to pack everything into boxes for the shoot. Viewers are buying your home and also your lifestyle, so imagine you're a stylist getting your surroundings ready for a magazine shoot. We are happy to come along and help you get each room ready and assist during the shoot.

A floor plan of your home is essential and people love to see them. You also need an accurate, positive write-up that highlights unique things about your home or explains selling points that may not be obvious from the photos and plans; perhaps the kitchen has an integrated wine cooler or the cellar is full-standing height. The copy should let reader's know what will benefit them if they bought your home and lived in your area. Once key-selling points are described, our write-ups target the appropriate audience to explain how your place meets their needs. Families want to know about schools and parks, young professionals are more interested in bars and nightlife while almost everyone moving in London is curious about transport links.

Have you had enough viewings to test the market effectively?
Viewing totals vary according to your location, the time of year and market conditions. For those in our patch of south east London, if your home is being effectively marketed and you've had around ten to fifteen viewings but are yet to receive an offer, you can perhaps start to question your asking price. To guide and inform you about whether this is the right choice, your agent should be giving you regular feedback from viewings, explain the present property market to you and keep you updated about competing properties coming to market nearby. From time to time, clients amass forty or fifty viewings yet refuse to adapt to the market they're in. It would be far better to either reduce your price or take your home off the market and rest it. In the meantime we can arrange fresh photographs for a new brochure and tip you off when the time is perfect for you begin advertising again. The beauty of this is we can continue to show applicants your home while it's not being advertised and this type of 'secret sale' is often an excellent tactic.

How long have you been on the market?
If you've been on for a month, then you have been seen by all of the accrued hot buyers (those under offer, chain-free buyers and cash buyers) registered with us. There should be a glut of viewings for the first two weeks of marketing and then it depends on how bouyant the market is. In a tough market things may slow down after the first couple of weeks for two reasons: there are fewer new buyers making ongoing enquiries or there is more choice (i.e. there are more competing properties) and as a result, buyers take longer to make decisions.

Strategic selling (and buying)
There are tricks to help encourage leads in a slow market and we can measure their effectiveness to see what is and isn't working. If you're not getting the offers you were hoping for (if any at all), our advice is to talk to us. By understanding your needs and reasons for moving, we can advise you accurately. We can help people get the best price in any market by selling your home strategically. People trading up locally, i.e. selling to buy a larger home in the same area, will likely find that a price reduction is relative to their ongoing purchase. People who aren't in a rush can choose the best season to sell in while those selling houses can organise their launch to tie-in with families. Our 'secret selling' technique (outlined above) is very successful and we also offer a free finding service that scours the streets you like for properties that aren't already on the market.

If we think your home is overvalued, we will let you know. You're welcome to test the market at a higher price than we recommend, but our advice about reducing is always the same. Reduce as quickly as possible and react to market conditions. That two-week window that produces a glut of buyers will have passed, so reduce after two weeks (but before three or four) to avoid becoming 'stale.' We can help you find the right marketing price and we always back-up what we say with sales data.

Can I hold out for a better price?
If you can afford to hold out for a higher price in a falling market, be prepared to wait a long time. Imagine being valued by your agent, putting your home on for higher, getting an offer at the level your agent valued you at, rejecting it, sitting on the market for months and then selling maybe a year later for less than your original offer. This happens, be warned.

We think it's far better to lower the price during the first month rather than drop it following six. Marketing for longer than necessary can further devalue your home by leading to lower offers on your (now reduced) price.

Many homes are reasonably straightforward to value; estate agents use the figures from recently agreed sales prices of similar properties in your area and their market knowledge to inform a valuation. If you'd like us to let you know what we really think your home is worth, email us or call 0202 8299 3021 and we'll get started. If you're in a hurry and want some figures now, try our online valuation tool.