It doesn’t matter if you are a buyer or seller in today’s Northern Virginia market reading the newspapers or listening to the TV news can completely make you lose your equilibrium. The best advice that anyone can give you is not to rely on the paper or news reports to help you make a decision on either the listing price of your home or what price to offer.
Instead you need to turn to a local Realtor® with knowledge of your area to help you decide about pricing. Not all agents look at a neighborhood and see the same number so it is important to understand how they derive their data. For example if you are getting ready to list your home for sale an agent might present you with sales from the last three months and show you an average sales to list ratio. This is a good start but it isn’t the entire story that you need to consider.
Most agents look at the last list price of a home and compare that to the final sales price and say homes in your neighborhood are selling for 96% of list price. But was the final list price the original list price? Homes in the neighborhood could have originally been listed for higher and then the price dropped one or more times until they reached a price where an offer was made. When an agent looks at those numbers they may find that the true list price to sales price may be 90%.
Here is an example of a few recent sales in a West Springfield neighborhood:
Now take a look at the second set of numbers for the same townhouses:
As you can see there is a difference in the list to sales price percentage when you go back to the original list price. If sales prices in your neighborhood are coming down as these are then you begin to understand that only looking at one set of numbers isn’t giving you the true picture of the list to sales price ratio.
There are additional numbers in a market report that are critical to your pricing decision as well. If you are interested in learning more about how to price your home right in today’s market for the best chance of putting a SOLD sign in your yard give me a call. I’d be glad to walk you through multiple pricing strategies and show you my list to sales ratio numbers for 2008.