If you’re putting your home on the market, especially if you live in an area where prices are going up and buyers are competing for homes, you may be tempted to try listing it at a high price just to see if you can get it.
Don’t do it.
Experienced Realtors will tell you that pricing your home appropriately from the beginning is critical to getting it sold quickly and at the best price. Research shows that overpricing your home and then dropping the price several times while it languishes on the market usually leads to selling it at a much lower price than what you originally should have asked for it. The longer a home stays on the market, the deeper the discount is likely to be off the original price.
For example, according to McEnearney Associates, a McLean, VA, real estate company, homes that sold in August 2013 within their first week on the market sold for an average of 2.08 percent above the list price. Homes that lingered on the market for four months sold for an average of 11.53 percent below their original price.
How to price your home correctly
Many homeowners want to set their list price based on what they paid for their home, the balance of their mortgage, or the profit they want to make so they can move into another home. In reality, your home is worth only what the market will bear. If you price your home too high, some potential buyers won’t want to look at it at all, while others will simply walk away without making an offer.
If you’re interviewing several Realtors to choose a listing agent, you may be tempted to pick the sales professional who suggests the highest price for your property. But sellers, like buyers, need to beware. The Realtor who provides the best comparative market analysis and explanation of how your home should be priced will be more likely to sell your home quicker and for a higher price than someone who tells you only what you want to hear.
A comparative market analysis should include sales prices for similar nearby homes that sold in the last month or two. In addition, many Realtors include prices for homes currently on the market that will be your competition, as well as homes taken off the market because they didn’t sell. Other data Realtors can use to suggest a price range include how many days homes were on the market at various price points and the average difference between the list prices and sale prices on homes that have sold.
Your Realtor can help you estimate who might want to buy your house and what else those buyers are looking at so you can measure your price against the competition.
A knowledgeable Realtor can factor in all of these issues in the context of your local market conditions, including whether home prices are rising or falling and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market.
Choose the right professional to help you with your home sale and then listen to your Realtor’s advice and your transaction is more likely to go through quickly and smoothly from the beginning.