If you are just joining us please read Part I of If you List It They Will Come before you read this post.
Buyers in the Northern Virginia market are looking for a good deal. They won’t buy a house that is overpriced no matter how you try to entice them. Forget the free lease on a Mercedes or cruise to the Bahamas those aren’t going to bring any offers to the table. Price your home right and offer the right incentives (closing cost assistance) and you may be on the short list.
Just as in Part I of If You List It They Will Come don’t be swayed by the agent who comes in the door and tells you the highest listing price for your home and asks you to immediately sign a listing agreement. Every agent you interview has to be able to back up what they say with detailed information. Check it carefully and make sure they can justify the price they are suggesting. If not show them the door!
So how do you determine the right price? Forget the crystal ball. The most accurate way is by having a professional appraisal of your property done. Most sellers don’t go to the expensive of having an appraisal done on the property when they first put it on the market instead they rely on a Realtor® to help them come up with the correct price. In a market where prices have declined you should start with the most recent sales in your neighborhood and then work back only as far as you need to find a baseline price.
Why do I say baseline price? It has nothing to do with the price you will list your home for but instead a baseline for you and your Realtor to begin making the necessary adjustments to come up with the list price of your home.
Did the last sale in your neighborhood have granite counters and you don’t? Adjust your price downward.
Does your home have a finished walk-out basement and the last sale didn’t? Adjust your price upwards.
Do you only have three bedrooms above ground and the neighbor has four? Adjust your price downward. But wait I have a legal bedroom in the basement doesn’t that count? Yes, but not the same value in an appraisal as the one above grade.
Now you and your agent need to take a look at what is currently for sale. How long has it been on the market, have they lowered their price since listed, what are the features of the current listings as compared to yours? A good Realtor® will have already scoped out the competition before they came to your house and I always recommend to my potential sellers that we make a quick tour of a few of the listings to talk about the pros and cons.
Armed with all of this information and a few intangibles that your Realtor® can talk to you about you can set your listing price. The first time a buyer walks in the door is when you are going to capture them for a return visit and a future offer. The first 10 days your home is on the market are the most critical. If your home is overpriced buyers and their agents will know it and pass you by. Price it to low and the will also wonder what the problem is. Price is right and they will come!