Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Christine Groves, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Wheaton, on how the pros price their listings appropriately.
5. Take the Emotion Out of It – Selling a home can be very emotional for the homeowner. They have spent years making improvements and memories, so the value they place on their home is usually higher than true market value. Gather sound data and let the facts speak for themselves. Pricing is not just your opinion; it is supported by quantifiable data.
This is also the time to gauge a seller’s true commitment to a move, and if they will be realistic.
4. Knowing the Area – Home values vary greatly between cities, subdivisions, streets, neighbors, etc. An agent must take into consideration the home’s specific location in proximity to busy streets, noise, condition of surrounding homes, school boundaries and pending municipal issues. Also, different subdivisions and areas have different amenities that are common to the homes, such as trends on flooring, counters, layout, yard, exteriors and updates.
3. Knowing Buyer Behavior – Listing a home is no longer about what the seller perceives the value to be, but what the buyer will perceive it to be in comparison to other homes. Buyers also want a good deal that they can feel good about. Buyers have high expectations for what they should get in a home. Lack of updates, maintenance issues, even cosmetic changes will certainly be reflected in what a buyer is willing to pay.
All buyers have a mental list of what things will cost them (which is typically higher than actual cost), and the time it will take, so keeping their list of needed improvements as short as possible will benefit a seller’s return. First impressions will also set the stage for negotiations and starting offers. Think like a buyer and price for a reasonable buyer.
2. Keep Time on Your Side – The first few weeks of a new listing are precious, with the listing generating the most exposure/interest from potential buyers by simply being “new.” The longer a home is on the market, the less attention it will receive; the more potential buyers will be cautious as to why it has not sold; and price negotiations will no longer be in the seller’s favor. A home should be priced slightly above what the appraised value will be. Any higher can be a waste of precious time and reduced negotiating strategy. Even if a seller is in no rush, a home should be priced to sell within 30-60 days.
1. Boil Down to Comps – We would all like to believe that our home is so special that buyers would fight over it and pay a premium to purchase by any means. However, most buyers will be getting a mortgage, which will require a certified appraisal and cash buyers will do their homework (they want an even better price). Buyers will pay what a home is worth – period. This value is determined by evaluating comparable sales (comps).
When pricing a home to list, think like an appraiser. Anything contrary to what a home will appraise at will waste time and money for everyone, as well as potentially kill a deal. Look at closed sales in past six months; within one mile; similar size/age/room count; lot size; and updates/amenities. Make adjustments accordingly. Pull strong comps when listing that can be used if an appraisal ever needs to be disputed. Also, look at current listings to size up the competition. Position the home’s pricing relative to the order buyers will see it amongst other homes for sale.
Christine Groves is a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Wheaton. A Coldwell Banker TEAMblue Media Spokesperson for the Western Region, Christine closed more than $4.3 million in sales in 2013, and is a New Agent Teambuilding Mentor and a short sale foreclosure resource.