House sellers ‘twice as likely to find buyers if initial asking price is right’

House sellers are twice as likely to find a buyer within four months if their house is priced correctly the first time around, analysis suggests.

A study of 300,000 newly-listed homes across four months found those who ended up reducing the asking price had a one in three (32%) chance of finding a buyer within that time period.

Those whose homes were priced correctly had a 63% chance of selling within the timeframe.

The research, by Rightmove, also indicated that if sellers pitch their initial asking price too high, they may find their home takes an extra 26 days to sell typically.

Rightmove found that around one in six (16%) marketed properties have been reduced since May, slightly down from 18% for the same period last year.

Across Britain, the average price reduction equates to nearly £16,000 based on the current average asking price of £319,497.

The study tracked more than 300,000 homes that were first put up for sale between May 13 and July 31. The cut-off date for any reductions or sales activity recorded in Rightmove’s study was September 10.

Out of all properties put up for sale that were not reduced, 63% of them were marked “under offer” or “sold subject to contract”.

Out of all properties put up for sale that had at least one price reduction, this was the case for 32% of properties.

Rightmove said in the current market, for those properties that have not been reduced and that have found a buyer, the average number of days from first listing to finding a buyer is 21. For properties that have been reduced in price and have found a buyer, the average is 47 days – a 26-day difference.

The firm’s director of property data Tim Bannister said: “This analysis shows just how vital it is that sellers listen to their agent when they recommend the asking price that the property should be listed at.

“If sellers are serious about selling, then starting with too high an asking price can cause unnecessary delays, and also make it a lot less likely they will actually find a buyer in the end.

“The temporary stamp duty holiday means more sellers are in a hurry to get a sale through conveyancing, and with this also taking longer at the minute a realistic asking price could soon end up being the difference between completing in time or losing out on the savings.”

He said not all price reductions are due to properties being over-priced initially for their area – for example, some sellers may slash their asking price if they have their own pressing reasons to move.

Mr Bannister continued: “Also if prices have gone down in an area it’s understandable that a seller will be hesitant or may not be able to afford to put their home on for a lower price than they bought it for.

“But in the busy market we have right now there will also be some sellers who may think it’s worth a punt to ask for their home to be put up for sale for the same price as their neighbour across the road, when their neighbour may have extra room or their home may be in a better condition.

“A good local agent will be able to look at a number of things before valuing a home, such as the condition of the home and comparable properties, making them the experts at getting the price right first time.”

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