Realism is returning to sellers' attitudes

The more realistic attitude to home pricing that estate agents have for some time now been advising their clients to adopt is at last far more evident among sellers, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

“At one of our recent agents’ training sessions it was said that approximately 35% of sellers have to be counselled to drop their prices to achieve a sale in a reasonable amount of time and at least 15% still refuse to do so. This, however, is an improvement on the position of 12 to 18 months ago when, it seems, nearly 50% of sellers initially tried to over-price,” said Rawson.

Repeating a warning that almost every spokesperson for a major estate agency has made at some stage, Rawson said that it is not wise to “test the water” by over-pricing.

“Today’s buyers are better informed than ever before,” he said.  “They know how to look up data on the internet and they have been taught by the recession, from which we are now only beginning to emerge, to be cautious and not over-optimistic about price rises.  They will, therefore, make very competitive bids and will not be cajoled into signing a sales deal until they know they are getting real value.

“If in today’s market a home is over-priced and consequently sticks on the market, it will come to be seen as somehow flawed and unacceptable. This, in turn, means that those who do eventually make an offer for it will probably come in at below its true market value and in these circumstances, in our experience, the seller either takes his home off the market or actually accepts a price below its true value.”

Those sellers who have landed themselves in this predicament and are consequently unable to sell their homes, said Rawson, should consider the possibility of renting out their home for two or three years.

“This solution to sellers’ problems has proved a relief to many because rents, particularly those on older properties, can cover the full bond payments.  In some cases owners have taken to renting lower priced properties for three or four years so as to relieve the pressure of debt — and this can be a very good move to make.”

Those who can afford to buy but are still hanging back from taking the plunge will, said Rawson, find that, even on the relatively low per annum value increases currently seen, prices will rise steadily, with the result that in four or five years’ time buyers are likely to find it even more difficult to assemble the necessary finance to make their purchase.

“My advice to all such buyers, particularly young buyers,” he said, “is to accept that a fair amount of austerity now will pay off handsomely in the future.  All our experience in the Rawson Property Group shows that once the buyer has weathered the first three or four years, unless some unforeseen financial disaster occurs, he is always grateful to have got onto the home owning ladder.”

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