ASK THE EXPERT

A. Generally speaking, it means precisely what it says. Like it or not, at a time when more and more properties are coming onto the market, the key to achieving a successful sale is to be “realistic” - not just about the value of your home, but also the amount of time it may take to find a buyer.

Of course, you need the proper advice on both counts. So, as always, much depends on your choice of agent.

Unfortunately, some agents continue to over-value in order to gain instructions – and then promptly set about trying to persuade you to drop the price closer to where it ought to have been all along. Obviously, this is hardly helpful. So, what can you do to avoid this pitfall? Well, you can start by asking a number of agents to give you some advice. Talk to them about their experience and about comparable properties that they may have been involved in selling. Find out what services they provide. Check that they are members of a recognised trade body such as the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) or RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). Ask them about the market and how they consider it may change in the coming weeks and months. Is there anything that you should do to the property to enhance its saleability and perhaps even the sale price?

All this will help build up a picture of the knowledge and professionalism of the agents concerned.

Meanwhile, as far as timing is concerned, while the market is not as bad as the press make out, it is nevertheless taking a little longer to find buyers. So again, don’t be swayed by those agents who claim to have “buyers waiting.” They may indeed have plenty of people on their books – but to what extent any of them are actually in a position to buy is quite another matter.

Ultimately, it is vital that the agent you choose genuinely understands the value of homes of your type, in your location. Only those that do can really advise on how to price property to achieve the best results – realistically.