When dealing with the subject of house prices, be sure you're clear on the difference between "asking prices" and "sales prices".
This is what a house is worth - what it sells for - the money banked!
These are advertising prices and traditionally they are set between 2-10% higher than the expected sales price.
Selling for just under the asking price allows buyers to feel that they've negotiated a good deal while you achieve the sale price you were hoping for.
There is an art to setting an asking prices but all it really boils down to is keeping it competitive.
Buyers are attracted to properties that look like good value - no one likes to overpay.
Buyers' only real points of reference on value are the other houses they're currently viewing. It's important that you advertise your sale in line with these properties or run the risk of not finding a buyer at all.
As I mentioned, there is usually a gap of 2-10% between asking prices and achieved sale prices (you can get an idea of what the gap is in your are by looking at the market data that Hometrack collates).
To attract more buyers, make the gap between your sale price and your asking price smaller than your competition (i.e. Keep your asking price as low as possible).
This may sound counterintuitive but it's one of the best strategies for achieving the highest sale price possible.
Basically you're trying to increase your chances of buyers getting into a bidding war over your property.
This is an old salesman's tactic that you'll have seen in the supermarket a thousand times - it works for house prices too.
Here's an example:
Knocking off a few quid and advertising your house at £399,995 will attract more buyers than £400,000.
It's silly but it works.
Here are the latest rates for Stamp Duty Tax:
Be careful if your house is worth close to:
It is hare to sell property priced just over one of these tax thresholds.
This is especially true around the £25,000 mark because the tax rate jumps from 1%-3%.
If this applies to you, here are a few things you can try:
At this level buyers will be attracted because it's not too far over the threshold. They'll sense that there's a chance you could be negotiated down to just under the tax threshold.
This will net you a few extra grand while maintaining the saleability of your property.
Understanding some simple Stamp Duty avoidance strategies like the one I just mentioned help you to:
However, you need to know what you're doing otherwise The Inland Revenue will have something to say about it.
The people at the excellent Tax Café website have commissioned a first-rate book detailing everything you need to know about how to avoid stamp duty.
It's pretty easy to read and gives you step-by-step guide to all the legal tax avoidance strategies you can use to:
The book is written by Russell Eaton (who is the UK's leading authority on legally dodging Stamp Duty) but I must warn you - this is an instructional book so don't expect a "rollicking good read.
The writing is a little dry in places, the suggested dialogue a bit stiff. However, it is concise, accurate and clearly shows you how to use strategies that can save you a lot of money.
Learn more: How to Avoid Stamp Duty (by Russell Eaton)