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Can I sell my house for less than market value?

We are asked from time to time whether people can sell their homes for less than the value. The short answer is yes. The reality is a bit more complex, and to some extent depends on where you are selling and what.

Much depends on the surveyors comments in relation to the purchase. In England and Wales, surveyors generally survey to the agreed purchase price. It is rare for a surveyor to go over this amount, but has been known to happen. If the surveyor did give a valuation in excess of the purchase price, the mortgage company may query this.

In Scotland the valuation is public before purchase price is agreed. In Scotland surveyors value to the highest possible level. In the current market properties are routinely being bought and sold for prices below valuation. A large difference between valuation and purchase price might be queried by a lender.

It is a mute point in Scotland whether market value and valuation are the same or whether the price achieved is market value.

The other issue which has some bearing on whether you can sell for less than market value is the amount you actually owe on your home in terms of the secured debt. Your mortgage and secure loans are paid upon the sale of your property. In some cases it is possible to negotiate with lenders if you have negative equity. Although unsecured debt such as credit cards doesn’t factor in your house sale, many people like to take the opportunity of a house sale to pay off their other debts.

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