An online article in one of The Independent blogs recently warned about avoiding the “quick” cash buyers who are targeting those who want to sell their home quickly in this tough economic climate. This is good sound advice as these types of buyers usually offer well below market value and, in the worst cases, drop their offer significantly just before exchange of contracts.

One of the comments on the article recommended using only the professionals to value you home i.e. estate agents, but personal experience and a quick glance across RightMove in my local area shows that there is a substantial discrepancy between what estate agents in the same town believe comparable houses are worth. There are those estate agents who over-value properties hoping to rely on their sales skills to achieve a higher selling price and hence a higher commission; there are those who under-value hoping for a quick sale and quick commission even if it is lower than they would achieve in a buoyant market and then there are those in the middle ground who price fairly but are good salespeople who try to achieve the best price for the seller.

Regardless of the type of agent you choose, the current economic climate will still leave you at the mercy of the lack of proceedable buyers (you can tell I’ve been talking to a lot of estate agents recently as I’m slipping into house-selling speak). And with limited properties on the market to choose from many of the proceedable buyers are dithering in the hope of more choice appearing soon or the prices falling for homes already on the market. But with sellers who plan to trade up facing stringent lending criteria from mortgage providers the housing market for the average buyer has reached a stalemate. It remains to be seen whether this situation will change over the autumn and whether the UK government’s “Funding for Lending” initiative will drag the housing market out of the doldrums.