Articles and Advice

The Price is Right... Until It's Not

Of all the choices you have to make when it's time to sell your house, none are more important than setting the right asking price.

Unfortunately, zeroing in on that magic number can be tricky.

Set the price too high, and your home could languish on the market for months, or worse — maybe not sell at all. Set the price too low, and you could be cheating yourself out of thousands of dollars. Here's what you need to know about setting the perfect price for your home. 

  1. Forget What You Paid for Your Home
    It's easy to recall what you paid for your home and think of that number as a rule by which to measure your asking price. But taking the price you paid and adding a little extra doesn't always add up to the right number. Some homes appreciate in value more than might be expected, and some appreciate less. The best thing you can do is not even think about what your home was worth when you bought it.

  2. Look at Other Homes in Your Area
    Consider what other homes on your street and in the surrounding neighborhood typically sell for. If there are any other homes on the market now, that's a good starting point, but also look at the sale prices of homes similar to yours in the past months and even years to gain an understanding of market values in your neck of the woods.

  3. Be Unemotional
    Letting go of a place that has been your home for many years is difficult, and you might be tempted to overestimate the financial value of your home based on what it's worth to you on an emotional level. But for better or worse, you can't put a price tag on memories, so it's best to approach pricing your home with as little emotional attachment as possible.

  4. Leave Room for Negotiation
    Buyers love to negotiate, and that's something you should factor into your pricing. It pays to price your home with just enough wiggle room that a buyer can "talk you down" to a price that's fair to both of you. This can be tricky, as you can overshoot and end up with a high price that buyers balk at. That said, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to start out by asking a rock-bottom price.

  5. Keep Online Shoppers in Mind
    Once you've settled on a ballpark price range, you can fine-tune the number. This is when it pays to consider how your home will be listed on the internet. Many potential buyers browse online listings by price range. That means that if they search for homes in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range, for example, and your home is listed at $305,000, they won't even see it.

  6. Talk With Your Real Estate Agent
    A real estate agent's experience can be invaluable when it comes to setting the price for your home. A good agent has in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market and years of experience selling homes in your area. Ask your agent to run a comparative market analysis to zero in on the right asking price.

As with so many things, first impressions are everything when it comes to selling a house. The longer your home stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell. Setting the right price is the key to selling your home quickly and making sure you get the amount for it that you deserve.

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