When it comes time to put your house on the market, pricing can make or break your sale. If you overprice your home, you risk watching it languish on the market, but under-pricing it means minimizing your investment. The starting point for pricing should be based on recent sales in the neighborhood, not on personal attachment. Regardless of what you think your home is worth, the pricing should be based on market value – this is why it’s important to find a good real estate agent who is familiar with the area. He or she will start by looking at what other comparable houses in your area have sold for. This is called a comparative market analysis (CMA).
Another important consideration is the market. To be safe you want to allow yourself enough wiggle room to come down in negotiations, but if it’s a buyers’ market you will have to do more to make your home stand out. Pricing your home below the competition should ensure multiple offers, thus driving up the selling price. Other tactics include being flexible around financing options and offering incentives. In any case, you want to price your home low enough that you will get traffic through – the first three weeks are important. If the house sits longer than three weeks perspective buyers may assume something’s wrong with it.
In a seller’s market it’s safe to add 10 per cent to the last comparable sale in your neighborhood and in a balanced market you may aim to add an amount based on the last comparable sale plus the average market increase calculated over the time since that sale.
Remember, pricing your house is as much an art as it is a science. In the end the price is important, but marketing and staging your home plays a vital role as well. A good realtor can guide you through this process and help you get the best price for your house.