Inflated prices

With property prices holding firm across many parts of London, we’re seeing a number of properties on the market for an inflated price. This can be down to one of two reasons: either the estate agent has given the seller a very high valuation for the property in an attempt to win the instruction, or the seller will only sell for a certain price. In both scenarios, the asking price rarely reflects what the property is actually worth.

If the estate agent has overvalued the property, the best thing to do is to let the property sit on the market while the agent gradually brings down the seller’s expectations. Until their expectations have been adjusted, any sensible offer you make is likely to be dismissed. If the seller has themselves imposed the high asking price, it makes buyers very nervous that they’re not a committed seller. We are dealing with one such seller at the moment and it has completely put off our buyer to the point where they’re reluctant to engage in serious negotiation on the property. We have made a sensible offer which has been refused, and although we could potentially increase the offer, our client is understandably nervous that because the asking price is so high, the chances of the seller committing to the sale and actually exchanging at that offer are very slim.

If you’re dealing with an opportunistic seller, the best thing to do is to make a sensible offer and see if he/she will engage in talks. If not, go cold and walk away, and in the process explain to the estate agent that you don’t believe the property is worth what’s being asked, but ask them to call you if the seller’s expectations become more realistic. What the seller will soon realise is that the longer their property sits on the market, the staler it will become, and buyers will become suspicious that there’s something wrong with it (even if there isn’t). If the seller does eventually drop the price to a sensible level, then the fact that the property has been sitting on the market for so long may well work against them.

I can understand sellers and agents trying their luck in a strong market, but it’s worth them remembering that there’s a fine balance between being opportunistic and putting off genuine buyers.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.