Q. I have just had my house valued by a number of different agents, and I’m convinced it’s worth more than they say. Is there anything wrong with testing the waters by going to market at a higher price?

A. The short answer is Yes. Granted, no agent is infallible, and we’ve all heard tales of homes that sell for substantially more than the original valuation. Besides, we all want to get the best possible price for our homes. So of course, it’s tempting to try a slightly higher price to start with. After all, we can always take it down a notch or two if we don’t get any takers, can’t we?

The trouble is…all the evidence points to the fact that if you’re really serious about selling, then putting your home on sale at an inflated price initially is not a good idea. Indeed, most agents will tell you that it’s actually a downright bad idea.

Why? Well, for one thing, buyers aren’t stupid. They may spend months looking at properties in their target range, so they will certainly recognise an overpriced home when they see one – particularly with the advent of the internet, which has made comparing prices even easier.

But does this really matter? Isn’t it still worth taking a punt? No it isn’t – for the simple reason that you may actually be spoiling your best chance of making a sale. Statistics show that properties are always viewed most during the first few weeks they are on the market. Thereafter, buyer interest declines dramatically. Even when prices are later reduced, it can be difficult to persuade buyers to reconsider a property they have already rejected.

These arguments basically hold true whatever the state of the market, but they’re obviously particularly applicable at the moment, when genuine buyers are few and far between, and the last thing you want to do is put them off. Now more than ever, if you’re really serious about selling, then you need to be realistic in your asking price.