Price your house to sell quickly

A first-quarter survey of homebuyers and sellers done by HomeGain.com, a  real estate services website, revealed that 76 percent of homeowners believe  their home is worth more than the list price recommended by their real estate  agent.

Homebuyers usually have a better grasp of current market value in the  area where they’re looking to buy than do sellers who own and live there. Buyers  look at a lot of new listings. They make offers, know what sells quickly and  for how much, and what doesn’t and why. HomeGain reported that homebuyers still  think sellers are overpricing their homes.

Your home is worth what a buyer will pay for it given current market  conditions. This may not be the same as your opinion of what your home will  sell for, or what you hope it’s worth. Relying on emotion rather than logic  when selecting a list price can lead to disappointing results.

The prime opportunity for selling a home is when it’s new on the market.  This is when it is most marketable. Buyers wait for the new listings. Usually,  listings receive the most showings and have the busiest open houses during the  first couple of weeks they are on the market.

This is the opportunity to show your house off to advantage with a list  price that attracts buyers’ attention. Listings that sell today are priced  right for the market. Buyers need to feel comfortable that they are getting a  good deal.

Buyers won’t overpay if they feel home prices are still declining, and in  some areas of the country, they still are. In areas of strong sales, buyers may  shy away from multiple-offer situations if they feel the recovery is fragile  and that prices may slide further before stabilizing. Even in areas where home  sales have been strong in the first half of 2012, local practitioners wonder  how long the uptick will last.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: When selecting a list price, it helps to understand  how real estate agents and appraisers establish an expected selling price or  price range for your home. They research the recent listing inventory for homes  similar to yours that sold. The most recent sales give the best indication of  the direction of the market.

They analyze these comparable sales giving more value to your home for  attributes that it has that the comparables don’t, like a remodeled kitchen.  Value is subtracted from your home for features it lacks when compared to the  sold comparables, like an easily accessible, level backyard.

It’s difficult for sellers to step back and take an attitude of detached  interest in their home. But it’s essential to do so if you want to sell  successfully in this market. For example, your home could actually sell for  less, not more, than a comparable sale because you added a swimming pool in an  area where most homebuyers would rather have a yard with a generous lawn.

If the comparable sale information suggests that the value of homes like  yours is declining, select a list price that undercuts the competition to drive  buyers — and hopefully offers — to your home. You can take a more aggressive  stance on pricing if the comparables show that prices are moving up.

If there is high demand for homes like yours, you may receive more than  one offer. But don’t list too high. It’s better to stay in the range shown by  the comparables and expose the house to the market before accepting offers. The  market will drive the price up if it’s warranted.

THE CLOSING: Don’t rely on rumors circulating in the neighborhood about  how high a home sold. Prices tend to get inflated when passed from one person  to another. Select your list price based on hard facts.

-Taken from Inman.com

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