The state of the UK housing market has been illustrated by the National Association of Estate Agents (Naea) call for an overhaul of the management of the market.
Homeowners have been forced to either sell at a low value or stay put and improve their home if they require a larger property, and those who do try to sell may end up with their fingers burned by an unscrupulous estate agent.
Those who choose to build a conservatory or an extension to their existing home instead of moving may avoid a potential selling minefield if comments from Naea chief executive Peter Bolton King are to be believed.
"For years, the National Association of Estate Agents has been calling for an appropriate level of regulation to be introduced as mandatory in the UK housing market," he said.
"The sums of money are too large and the potential impact on families too great for the industry to remain liable to abuse by unqualified cowboys."
Estate agents Right Move recently predicted that house prices would rise in 2009, but other sources have predicted a continued fall leaving homeowners confused.