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How much should I sell my house for?

What's the best asking price to put on your home? Too high and you could be left waiting, too low and you may later regret it. Here's how to get it right.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

How can I estimate the value of my home?

Your home is likely to be the most valuable thing you own. So how do you make sure you set the right price when selling it?

We can help with that.

We can give you an instant online estimate of your home’s worth, based on powerful market data.

You can also look back at a timeline of your property’s sales history - and see what other homes in your area have sold for, to give you a good idea of the current market rates.

Track your home's value

  • See how your estimate is changing every month

  • Check how your local area’s performing

  • Explore what’s on the market and what’s sold near you

  • Find out what local agents think you could sell for

How can I see what the neighbours sold for?

Your neighbours' sale price is a good indication of what you might be able to get.

Over on our house price search, you can narrow down your search to your actual street, to see what your neighbours' homes have sold for.

We'll also show you their current estimated values, giving a good steer on what yours is likely to be.

How do I get an accurate property valuation?

Nothing beats having an estate agent come to your home to have a proper look around for the most accurate property valuation.

They’ll be able to see all the work you’ve done to your place while you lived there, take in how well you've looked after it and learn about its best features. You know - the stuff the data can't tell us.

They'll be able to calculate how much value this all adds to your property.

Thinking of selling?

Get the ball rolling with an in-person valuation of your home. It’s free and there’s no obligation to sell if you change your mind.

Because local agents also know the area well - they'll have plenty of experience in selling a property like yours.

That means they’ll be able to highlight any great things about your home that may not be found in every property.

Like if it’s a particularly spacious example of this type of home, if it’s filled with natural light or if the garden is nice and private.

We recommend asking three different agents to come and visit for an estate agent valuation.

That way you'll see if their valuations are all fairly similar - and can then choose which agent you’d like to work with.

How to find the best estate agent for you

Can you sell your house for whatever price you want?

In a word, yes. The property is yours to sell and you can put whatever price you’d like on it.

That said, you don’t want to price it too high, as you could be sitting on it for a while. Or, worst case scenario, fail to sell it at all.

Equally, you don’t want to price it too low. You could end up selling it for less than you had hoped for and later regret it.

There's also the possibility that people might think there’s something wrong with your home if it’s priced too cheaply, which is something to bear in mind.

On the other hand, a lower price could attract lots of attention and start a bidding war. 

When setting a price for your home, estate agents take a range of factors into account, including: 

  • the particulars of the property (such as the number of bedrooms) 

  • the local area (including proximity to transport and school catchments) 

  • wider market conditions

But there’s more at play than just calculations, says Andrew Groocock, regional partner at Knight Frank.

‘An element of it is scientific,’ he says. ‘Valuations are very factual and based around price per square foot. But a lot of it is more emotional.

‘For example, what the views are like or how busy the road is.’

For Groocock, the key is to set the most realistic price from the get-go.

‘That first four to six weeks of marketing a property is so important. You are fresh on the market and it’s your best moment to capture the maximum number of eyeballs,’ he says.

‘The more realistic your price is, the more buyer interest you'll get. It's then easier to negotiate the price up if you have two or more people interested. 

‘If you go too high with the price, you may have one buyer interested but other potential buyers may not have engaged, limiting your options.’

It’s about your strategy too – and how quickly you wish to move.

Are you in a chain and under pressure to sell your current property in order to move up – or down – the housing ladder, for example? Or have you got time on your side?

Mark Wheeler, director at Hamptons International Prime & Country House, explains: ‘With some houses, the right price (the highest price) will come from finding just the right buyer, where all attributes are seen as valuable ticks in the box by a buyer, and this can take time.

‘If a quick sale is required, a pricing strategy of offers in excess of a price, as long as it is compelling, will draw all relevant interest to the house and determine market value more quickly.’

What if you don’t agree with an estate agent’s valuation?

Of course, you may not necessarily agree with the valuations or offers you receive for your property. The trick is to try and look at your property dispassionately, says Groocock.

‘Sellers are often emotionally attached to their homes and at times, there is a need to distance themselves. 

‘We will always give an honest opinion. We will always justify what we are saying.’

If your price aspirations are on the high side, Wheeler suggests testing the market.

He explains: ‘It can be a good idea to test the market for a short period to help establish the right price, as long as we’re not operating in fantasy land!

‘It would be wrong to always think we are right, and all agents can tell stories of houses selling for more than the comparable evidence would suggest. 

‘In the end, it all depends on who is out there looking at the time the house comes on the market.”’

What questions should I ask an estate agent when they're valuing my home?

Estate agents can set an asking price based on your priorities in your property sale.

You might want to get the highest price and don't mind waiting a little longer to get it. Or you might prefer to sell as quickly as possible, even if it's for a slightly lower price.

Good questions to ask the estate agent are:

  • What's the highest price my house could sell for?

  • What price will generate the most interest in my house?

  • What price will sell my home the fastest?

You're likely to find the answers to these questions will be different. 

You can then decide whether you're prepared to play a waiting game for a higher price, or go in a bit lower for a speedier sale - and possibly generate competition for your place among potential buyers at the same time.

What percentage do you keep when you sell your house?

Estate agent fees range between 0.75% and 3%, so once you’ve paid those, the rest of the property’s value is yours.

As long as you’ve used your property as your main residence, you won’t pay any tax on the sale.

Only home buyers pay stamp duty, not home sellers.

You may have an outstanding mortgage debt, which you’ll either need to pay off or port to your new mortgage for your new home..

And you’ll need to pay your solicitor’s fees for their help in handling the sale.

If the home is a second residence, you’ll need to pay capital gains tax on any profits you make.

Basic-rate taxpayers pay 18% on gains they make when selling property, while higher and additional-rate taxpayers pay 28%.

When’s a good time to sell a house?

Generally, spring (from February to June) is the best time to sell a house.

The second best time is autumn (from mid-September to October).

In July and August, most people are on holiday, while mid-November to December can be a trickier time to sell as everyone prepares for Christmas.

Your house may stay on the market for longer if you decide to list it in a quiet period.

Other factors such as interest rate changes or political factors such as a general election can also have an impact on whether your home is likely to sell quickly.

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.