Pricing Your Home to Sell in Today's Market

As sellers still struggle with the decline in housing prices throughout Northern Virginia the question is “How do I price my home to sell?”

The first part of the process is setting the right price.

Most sellers think of price first, condition second and market third. In a buyers market that order needs to be re-thought. Market and condition are going to determine the price. Buyers are not going to overpay and the lenders appraisal will not support an overpriced home. Don’t confuse what you paid for some of the improvements to your home with a 100% return. A new roof or heater is a maintenance item and doesn’t necessarily equal a higher price. If you over improved your home for the neighborhood that could count against you as well. Well done improvements that show quality of workmanship are what impress buyers the most.

Setting the right price at the beginning is critical. As this chart shows buyers and their agents know when a home is overpriced and will pass it by. If it is under priced you may see more traffic but it will also raise questions as to “why?”

Pricing Pyramid

So how do I determine the right price?

The most reliable way to determine the right price is to have a professional appraisal of your property done. For about $350 you can hire an appraiser to come and take a look at your house, run the comps and give you a value. Appraisers use a set of evaluation standards that are recognized nationwide. The only time you may see a different appraisal situation is if your buyer is using an FHA loan. There are some different requirements that FHA appraisers are required to use to comply with HUD guidelines.

If you don’t want a professional appraisal prior to listing your home then remember that a home listed for sale is not a good comp for your home. Homes that have SOLD are the only comps you should be concerned with. The more recent the sale the more reliable the comp will be for you. If the values in your neighborhood have decreased in the last six months then a home that sold a month ago is a more reliable indication of current value than one that sold six months ago.

“We’ve set the price-what else can I do?”

The obvious first answer is to make your home “showroom ready.” As hard as it is to do you need to disassociate yourself from you home and look at it through a buyer’s eyes. You need to de-clutter and de-personalize. Sometimes it can be tough since you don’t know how long it will take your home to sell. But starting off on the right foot will impress more buyers and we all know the old adage “you only get one chance to make a first impression.”

The second answer is to look at how you might be able to sweeten the deal for a prospective buyer. Can you move quickly, could you carry part of the down-payment or pay the buyers closing costs? If so then let them know up front. The more flexible and creative you are the more likely you are to attract the right buyer.

Third is to select an agent who understands how to market your home to the widest audience of buyers. You need to look for an agent who is internet savvy, who knows how to negotiate successfully and will keep you informed throughout the transaction.

If you follow these steps it will set you in the right direction to get your Northern Virginia home SOLD. For more information on selling your Northern Virginia home give me a call to talk about your options. Together we can build a selling plan that is right for you.

Additional information on Making Your Northern Virginia Home standout from others on the market.

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