WE'VE lost count of the times we've wound up a property appraisal for a seller with our opinion of its likely open market value to be hit by a hasty response along the lines of, "We hear what you say but our neighbours and members of our family think it's worth a lot more than that"!

On the other side of the fence, we frequently receive derisory offers from would-be buyers. They justify them by advising us their learned friends and family have no doubt the property is overpriced by many thousands of pounds and unless the sellers drop by a five figure sum they should drop it like a hot brick.

So who is right - the agent or your dearly beloveds? Assuming he or she has a professional approach, is experienced and of course honest, the agent is most likely to be closest to the mark.

There is though no exact science – ultimately a property is only worth what a buyer is prepared to pay.

It’s our responsibility to assess all relevant factors to enable us to offer our opinion. No two properties are the same and every sellers’ plans are different so we must approach our task with open and objective minds while considering their requirements.

Two principle factors we must always consider are the importance of our sellers plans and the timescale they desire.

One of the most helpful guides we can employ is comparable evidence, where available. Knowledge of the recent ‘Sold’ prices of similar properties can be a good base to work from. When advising on value we will also consider the present state of the market, the location, environmental factors, the general condition and presentation of the property and any valuable potential it may have.

Many property types are unique, therefore comparable evidence cannot be found – this is where experience counts.

With the benefit of having carried out many thousands of appraisals in and around Taunton, we can usually draw at least some pointers and evidence from a cross section of similarly sized properties, with broadly similar features then indicate a price range within which the value of a property should lie.

In such cases we’ll often advise that a ‘Guide price’ should be set, with offers invited. The best offer will then pinpoint value and on the basis the sale materialises we can be confident the best price has been achieved.

In the final analysis the deciding factor will be the market. After appropriate exposure to the market, the market will determine value. We politely have to put to the well-meaning neighbour or relative, it's unlikely to be them who knows the value, it will be the market and the price paid on the day contracts are exchanged will determine the actual value.

It’s essential sellers are aware that the appraisal meeting is a two way process and the final decision on where to set the price is made not by the agent but, following all their research and consideration, by the seller.

Once a decision has been made, we set to work doing all we can to achieve the desired outcome.

My co-director at Wilsons, Daniel Batchelor, and myself have been selling houses in and around the Taunton area for a grand total of 60 years, so if you’re thinking of selling and you’d like experienced advice on where to set YOUR price – call us first!