What’s in a number? Everything, when it comes to successfully marketing your home. Nothing could be more critical than asking the right price. Set the price too high, and you’ll get a bad rap from buyers and experienced buyer-brokers who can see through your inflated listing. Be sure to listen carefully to your agent’s advice, and consider getting an independent appraisal for the most objective assessment of your home’s market value. And if you’re still not sure, consider the novel approach of setting a price range instead of a specific number.
How do you know if your asking price is too high? The telltale signs are hard to ignore. If buyers or agents aren’t showing up at your home or if the offers are way below your listing price, then something is awry. Or if your home has been multiple-listed for several weeks to no effect, then it’s probably time to reconsider your asking price. Certainly, your broker should know market conditions in your area and be able to explain why there’s no activity. If not, pick a motivated broker who can get you back on track. Still, chances are good that he or she will say your price is too high.
Better yet, do some research before you list your home. Check the “comparables,” i.e., similar homes that have sold recently in your neighborhood. That way you can make an informed judgement of what your home is worth, based on the real estate market in your area. In addition, consider getting an independent appraisal of your home’s market value from a professional real estate appraiser. FSBOs (for sale by owner) especially need to seek a professional appraiser’s opinion, because they don’t have a broker to provide this information. Knowing what your home is truly worth lets you negotiate with confidence and know exactly what your bottom line price is.
Every seller must arrive at a price and negotiating strategy with their broker that they’re comfortable with. Most decide on a specific number for listing their home. But some brokers are using a range of numbers instead, say $134,900 to $149,900, for example. Prudential real estate calls this “Value Range Marketing.” The idea, according to brokers who use the strategy, is by setting a broad range the listing attracts more buyers who might otherwise be turned off by a single number at the upper end. In setting the range, Prudential agents say they try to factor in the price the seller hopes to get, the market value of the home, plus the price that buyers are probably willing to pay.