Adam Eeles, Ashtons’ Culcheth branch manager, discusses offering the best value for the best price when selling your home...

THE art and science of deciding on your asking price is crucial when marketing your property.

Nowadays, the property market is a common conversation at everything from after dinner parties to bus journeys and is the subject of must-see television programmes.

As a result, making the decision to sell your property has become much easier and more common.

General public opinion seems to be that every estate agent is the same, only differing in colour – the blue agent, the red agent, the green agent etc.

This suggests that the asking price of a property becomes the crucial part of the marketing for your home and ultimately its eventual sale or withdrawal.

Sellers, on occasions, can be swayed into choosing an agent based on the highest valuation, as opposed to the most realistic.

At the same time, not all estate agents are the same and the relationship between you and your agent is just as important as your initial asking price.

Estate agents’ valuations are both an art and a science.

But the word ‘valuation’ can be misconstrued. We are not here to place a ‘value’ on your home – that’s for the surveyors to determine – and clearly we can’t place a number on what your home is worth to you.

Instead, our job should be to determine and achieve the highest price the market is willing to pay for your home, and our ‘advice’ should be just that. We are here to give our professional opinion.

So, what is important when considering the asking price? Is it...

What you paid for the house?

Plus what you have spent on modernising it?

How much you need to cover your commitments?

How much you need for your next purchase?

Your gut feeling?

What next door achieved?

What your friends say?

Or even what you expect your profit to be?

These are important, but they are important to you as the seller. Your buyer will not be interested in what your friends say or how much you need for your next purchase, only what they are willing to pay for it at this time in their lives.

They may be interested in how much you have spent on the property, but not so they know how much to pay you back – they are interested in what difference it has made to the house, how you have improved it, how it compares to others on the market and what makes it different/stand out.

So what else can guide you? Sold prices? Asking prices of properties currently on the market?

Most people tend to think sold prices is most important here, and there is some merit in that – your buyers will be interested in what others have sold for in your area.

You will have opinions on your neighbour’s property and how your house compares to theirs etc.

Nevertheless, I suggest your focus needs to be more on the asking prices of other properties that your prospective buyers will compare your home to – these are your competition when you come to the market and this is how your property will be judged.

It is hard to compare your lovingly cared for home with other properties on the market, but when doing so you need to take your opinions, emotions, pride and memories out of the equation, as your buyers will have no such emotions and no history or links to your home. They will simply want the best property for the best value they can afford.

So your property needs to be the most attractively priced of its type on the market, so that it becomes more saleable than the competition. You have to be able to offer the best value for the best price.

In conclusion, determining your asking price is an art and a science.

The art is to provide your property with the best presentation you can – fantastic pictures and beautifully described property details are a must.

The science is to pitch your property to be competitive.

Do not fall into the trap of saying: “I am in no rush to move, so I will just try it and see what happens.” This is flawed logic, as properties that stay on the market too long become stale – they start to appear unwanted, unattractive and lose that freshness and vitality that are crucial to a sale.

Think of it this way, you wouldn’t buy a fresh donut three weeks before you are going to eat it would you?

If you’re not ready to move quite yet, then stay put. Don’t be persuaded to overvalue your home in the belief that when you need to sell, because you have found your perfect next home, a quick reduction will do the trick. It won’t.

You may find that your house has become the last reduced stale donut in the bargain bucket!