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Selling Step 3: Set the Listing Price
All owners want the best possible price and terms when selling their home. Several factors, including market conditions and interest rates, will determine how much you can get for your home. The idea is to get the maximum price and the best terms during the window of time when your home is on the market.
In other words, home selling is part science, part marketing, part negotiation and part art. Unlike math where 2 + 2 always equals 4, in real estate there is no certain conclusion. All transactions are different, and because of this, you should do as much as possible to prepare your home for sale and engage the REALTOR® you feel is best able to sell your home.
What is Your Home Worth?
What homes are worth boils down to “what the market says it’s worth.” A home “value” also depends on who you ask: there's the price owners would like to get, the price buyers would like to offer and the point of agreement between buyer and seller that actually results in a sale.
In considering home values, several factors are important:
How Do You Set a Listing Price?
Because all transactions are unique there is price flexibility in the marketplace. The amount of flexibility depends on local conditions.
For example: you're selling a townhouse and there have been five recent sales of the same model townhouse and prices ranged from $200,000 to $210,000. You now have an idea of how your home might be priced. In a strong market perhaps you can ask for $210,000 or a little more. If the market has slowed, $210,000 may be a reasonable asking price, but perhaps more than you could get for a final sale price.
Here's another scenario: you live in a community of Victorian-style homes, most of which were built in the 1920s. All the homes are different in terms of size, condition, modernization, style and features. In such a neighborhood, an average sale price is just a statistic without much practical meaning. On a single block one home may sell for $400,000 while another is priced at more than $1 million. The average price may be outrageously high for one home and staggeringly low for another.
Knowing what listing price to set for your home can be difficult. That is why it is valuable to work with a REALTOR®. Because experienced REALTORS® have handled many transactions, they're familiar with the terms and conditions that went into individual sales, not just published sale prices that may not reflect various premiums, discounts, terms, conditions and adjustments. And, importantly, REALTORS® know of the latest sale prices among competing houses and can offer that information to the home seller.