Dear Esther: My husband and I met with a few real estate agents to discuss selling our home. We felt like all of them gave us prices which were at least $20,000 less than what we thought we could get for it, even after we told them all that we’d put into it. We really don’t want to take a loss. What should we do?
It’s a common scenario. A real estate agent meets with a seller to discuss selling his property. The seller gathers his records for what he paid for his home and has receipts to show the cost of the improvements in the years he’s been there. It’s only reasonable, he feels, that the improvement expenses be added to the price he paid in order to come up with a bottom line list price. He does not want to lose money in the sale.
Although that makes sense, it’s not the successful way to price your home. Good real estate agents will show comparable properties that have sold in the last year in order to price yours appropriately. Sold prices of homes which are similar to yours in the same school district are the best indicators of what yours will sell for. In the process of finding comparable properties, good agents will also show sellers homes which have been on the market for a time probably because they are overpriced.
The recommended price given to you by agents may be higher than what your figures show, sometimes lower. Over pricing your home will delay the selling process and you will most likely come away with the same amount or less than what your agent originally suggested. As a home sits on the market, it loses value.
Over a year ago, I met with a couple to discuss selling their home. They decided to use another agent who overpriced it. Their second agent was unsuccessful, even though the price was lowered. By the time the second agent got the listing, everyone was wondering what was wrong with the home, a common concern when a property does not sell. I was the third agent involved. By the time I was hired, the sellers were exhausted by the process and willing to price it appropriately. It sold within a week.
Trusting your agent to price it right is the first step in selling your home. Everything that follows from showings to contracts to inspections and finally to settlement will be much easier if your home is priced right.
For real estate questions, contact Esther Prosser, Stoltzfus Realtors, firstname.lastname@example.org, 484.269.7153.