Ditch the Wishful Thinking, Price Your Home to Sell
By FIONA DOGAN
In real estate you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Pricing your home is part art, part science, and part psychology. It is also the most important part of the entire sales process. If you get it right, your home will sell quickly at a healthy price. If the list price is unrealistic, buyers will simply wait till you lower the price, or they will move on quickly to your competitors.
Price your home based on facts, not emotions. Don’t assume that the buyer is willing to pay a premium for your years of happy memories. Do not compare your house with a price your neighbor sold for a few years ago. Markets change quickly by season and by year. Buyers can do their own homework, and, in the end, they decide how much your home is worth by deciding what they’re willing to pay for it.
The most valuable marker for the price of a home is the appraisal value. A lender will determine the amount based on comparable sales within the last six to 12 months within a half-a-mile to mile radius. This will give you the best indicator of the value of your own home.
Be realistic about your pool of buyers; it may be a different pool than when you bought your house. Today’s young buyers are HGTV-savvy and have different expectations. Be prepared to take your agent’s advice. She or he will recommend you bring your home up to the best possible shape by renovating, repairing, decluttering, and upgrading. The size, condition, and finishes of your home will all influence the pricing.
Remember, the list price of your home is not necessarily the sale price. The former is designed to generate showings, produce offers, and even take into account some negotiation. The critical time on market is the first two to three weeks after it’s listed. If buyers perceive good value, you may be fortunate and receive multiple offers. If your house does not feel well priced, you will lose showings and build negative vibe.
Sellers wonder why buyers don’t simply “make an offer”. Psychologically, if buyers feel the asking price is too far removed from what they are willing to pay they often do not want to insult the seller with a low-ball offer. They can also be reluctant to engage in a long and difficult negotiation process with a seller they perceive as being unrealistic and unmotivated.
Buyers always have an eye on future resale and do not want to feel they overpaid. Make it easy for buyers to make an offer; pricing slightly below your competition can make your home stand out from the noise and reduce its days on market.
Don’t go it alone. Bring in the professionals. Hire an outstanding local agent whose full-time job it is to track and analyze the market. The price you may want for your home has nothing to do with what it is actually worth on the open market. Your realtor is on your team! She is your best cheerleader and will do current quantitative analysis and make a realistic pricing recommendation to sell your home quickly for the best possible price.