How to Price Your Home to Sell

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How to Price Your Home to Sell

 By Celeste M. Smucker –

If selling your home is a priority, you probably know our market is active and that inventory is scarce in many neighborhoods. 

Sellers may correctly interpret this information to mean their home may sell more quickly and at a better price than in years past. They may also believe all they have to do is put a sign in the front yard and the house will sell itself.  If only it were that easy.    

The truth is, when you’re ready to sell your home, it’s more important than ever to consult your REALTOR®.  That way you can get the best advice about pricing and selling it from someone who is intimately acquainted with your neighborhood’s market dynamics. 

The bottom line is, it is the correctly priced homes that sell quickly and at the best possible price

Finding that best price can be tricky, though, and  is both an art and a science.  It is based on a combination of what similar homes in your neighborhood have sold for, your current competition and your agent’s expertise and experience.

The condition of your home is also a critical part of the puzzle, as are a host of other factors such as proximity to jobs, local schools and amenities such as shopping, parks and playgrounds. 

Sellers can become familiar with home prices in their area by visiting websites like REALTOR.com®, Trulia, and Zillow.   However, without viewing lots of other homes in the area and being familiar with what it is about them that made them sell quickly—or not—it is nearly impossible to select a winning  price. 

In addition, and of critical importance, most sellers are not able to be objective about their own homes and almost always want to inflate the value.

Fortunately, your REALTOR®  knows the market well, is familiar with other homes for sale in the neighborhood and can be objective about what yours has to offer in comparison.  That plus an analysis of recent sales can help prevent either over or under-pricing your home when it goes on the market.

Selling the Buyers
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2018 survey of generational trends in home buying found  that most buyers under the age of 72 start their house search online.

By the time these buyers contact a REALTOR® for help—and 87 percent did—they are familiar with the inventory, have eliminated some homes from consideration and have an idea about what they can expect to pay.

In addition, before taking them to look at homes, their REALTOR® will make sure they are prequalified by a lender so they know how much house they can afford.

Since buyers form their initial impressions from online searches, it is, of course, essential that your home look its absolute best in pictures, videos and descriptions.  You want your prospects  to be excited about what they expect to see and to feel they are getting good value for their money. If not, no matter how nice the house is, they may eliminate it before they ever see the inside. 

Of course the home must also live up to its marketing, and  buyers and agents must both be convinced the actual condition and amenities of the house justify its price.  If not the buyers will not linger, and agents won’t bring other prospects to view the home.

Price It to Sell
Most sellers want to set a higher price on their homes than market conditions suggest.  They may also buy into the common belief that buyers can submit a lower offer and between them they can negotiate a price somewhere in between.  While that seems logical, it is likely to backfire.

The amount of monthly payment buyers can afford, and/or are comfortable paying, is a big part of what drives their decision about what homes to look at.  If yours is overpriced, buyers will eliminate it up front because they believe they can’t afford it. 

On the other hand, buyers who qualify for higher payments may also reject your home because it won’t compare favorably to others in the same price range.  All of this reduces the number of showings, which doesn’t help your home to sell. 

While the price can always be reduced, buyers who might have made an offer when it first came on the market have very likely already bought another house.

The Challenge of New Construction
Today’s market is an undeniably good one for sellers. However, Roy Wheeler’s Matthew Woodson offers a note of caution.  While he is excited about the current market and what it means for sellers, he urges them  to be realistic when choosing a price if they want to sell their home in a reasonable amount of time.

This advice is especially important for those whose homes are in the same price range as new construction.  Buyers who can afford a brand new home can choose from popular features such as high energy efficiency, open floor plans and one level living.  Many also appreciate the warranties that come with new homes and being spared the inconvenience of renovating to fit their needs.

This means at the very least sellers must be sure their house is in top-notch condition before it goes on the market.  A little psychology also helps explains Byrd Abbott with Roy Wheeler Realty Co. “If people think they are getting a great deal it can make a difference,” she says.

If you are ready to sell your home, contact your REALTOR® today.  Then price it to take advantage of our fast-paced market.  You’ll be living in your next house before you know it.


Celeste Smucker is a writer and blogger who lives in Charlottesville.

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