Advice about putting your property on the market

 Q. I’m planning to put my home on the market, but before approaching any agents, I’d appreciate some general advice on getting the best price.

A. By the best price, I assume you mean the best possible price – in other words, the highest price a buyer is actually prepared to pay, given the state of the market, your own personal timescale, and the condition of your home.

Broadly speaking, the market determines what your house is worth, and that in turn is driven by supply and demand. Currently, as everyone knows, demand is somewhat constrained, for all sorts of reasons. Of course, sales – hundreds of thousands of them every year – are still happening, but given the current climate, it is even more important to get your pricing right in order to achieve success. The plain fact is that right now, no-one is going to pay over the odds for your home - or anyone else’s.

It’s also important to price correctly from Day 1. If you start off too high, with the intention of coming back down again if necessary, then you run the risk of simply scaring buyers away.

This is where your own timescale comes in. Basically, the more urgently you need to sell, then the more realistic you need to be. On the other hand, if you’re not really in a hurry at all, if all you’re really doing is testing the waters, then to be blunt, you’d be better off not wasting everybody’s time!

As for property condition…things like a neat garden, fresh paintwork inside and out, and a general air of cleanliness and tidiness may not directly result in you achieving a higher selling price. However, they will certainly all add to the buyer appeal of your home – and again, in the current climate, that is all-important.

The final factor that can affect your selling price is your choice of estate agent. So, beware the agent who values your home significantly higher than anyone else. No agent can legitimately claim to get higher prices than the competition. By the same token, however, those who charge rock bottom fees may only be able to survive by pushing through sales at virtually any price. My advice is therefore to go for a well-established local independent firm, where you’ll be treated as a proper customer – not as a number on a regional sales chart!