Revealed: the secrets to pricing your home

Revealed: the secrets to pricing your home

By Annabel Dixon

Ready to put your home on the market? Here's the inside track on how to price your property to secure a sale.

This article is part of our Master Your MoveZooploma- a series of free guides, insider advice and inspirational stories delivered straight to your inbox.

One of the most difficult decisions to make when putting your home on the market is setting the right price for securing a sale.

If you price up, you could hit the jackpot. But be prepared for your property to sit on the market for a while and for it to sell at a lower price (or, worst case scenario, fail to sell at all).

If you price down, you could attract attention, sell quickly and in a hot market, start a bidding war. On the other hand, you could sell for less than you might otherwise have hoped.

To give you a good idea of how much your home is worth, our My Home experience provides an instant online estimate, based on powerful market data. 

It allows you to build a sharper picture of your home's value, look back at the timeline of your home’s sales history and see what similar properties have sold for in your area.

My Home lets you track the value of your home - and other properties you’re interested in - so you’re ready to put your place on the market when the time is right.

Ready to jump in? Check out our guide on how to price your home at the right level in order to achieve a sale.

Where do you start?

Kickstart the process by doing your own research to see what is happening in your local housing market. Note what comparable homes in your area have recently sold for – and what price they are on the market for now. And dig around to find out what the bigger picture is.

We have a range of free tools to help you become a local property expert, from SmartMaps tools that let you draw out a map of the area you're interested in, to our Travel time search that lets you search for properties within a certain distance of the office, the kids' schools or your favourite places to have fun. 

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on our monthly House Price Index report for expert insights from our Research team. You can find it on our news page.

But you'll want to seek professional advice from local estate agents too. They'll have a wide range of experience, an insight into buyers’ minds and a bang up-to-date view on your local housing market.

You can set up a free agent valuation through Zoopla. Simply fill out our form and we'll contact a number of local agents for you. They'll then get in touch to set up a suitable time for an in-person appointment with you. 

So what are the secrets?

Pricing takes into account a range of factors, including the particulars of the property (such as the number of bedrooms) and the local area (including proximity to transport and school catchments) as well as wider market conditions.

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

After all, for many people, buying a property is about buying a home.

He says: "An element of it is scientific. 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 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 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 tips are there if you don’t see eye-to-eye on price?

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.”

Good questions to ask an estate agent are:

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

And 'What price will generate the most interest in my house?'.

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 competition for your place among potential buyers.

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