Many agents, when working up a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) on a property, will go directly to the MLS, and punch in the specifications of the property that they're trying to 'comp'.
In other words, if you're working with a three bedroom, two bath single family home, in the Willard School district in Evanston... they'll look to see what other 3br/2ba SFH's are currently for sale in the Willard District, and what other 3br/2ba SFH's are under contract, and which 3br2ba have closed in the last 3, or maybe 6 months.
This is a good plan, and will tell you exactly how you fare, against another 3br/2ba SFH in Willard. And many agents stop right there.
BUT.. oddly enough, that's not necessarily how buyers think. In order to get into their heads, you have to try thinking like a buyer. (I have tried this Jedi-warrior mind trick, successfully, in other situations... like when my car keys are missing: "If I were a set of car keys, where would I be.....?")
So... just how does a buyer think? While many buyers may be looking for exactly what you've got... some don't need that precise home. Many would be willing to accept a one-and-a-half bath... they don't need two FULL baths, they just want the added advantage of an extra toilet. Others might be willing to look at a nice two bedroom with a small den, since all they want is a place to put an itty-bitty office with their computer.
The next buyer might not care if it's a single-family house, they might be willing to take a townhome with a nice yard, 'cause they have a dog or a child and want some outside space... or maybe they just want to be able to barbecue, but don't want to stand on a two-and-a-half-foot balcony to do it.
And others, might not care if they're in Willard School District, they might be willing to accept Lincolnwood or Orrington.
So you need to open up your search, and see what those homes are selling for with the other parameters that your buyers might be searching for. Think like a buyer... "All I need is 3bedrooms... what are my options?"
Now, that doesn't mean you have to price your three bedroom, 2 bath like a 2 bedroom 1.1 bath. But you need to be aware of all of the options that are available to the buyers, when they're househunting, and position your new listing accordingly.
Be smart, don't box yourself in! Look at all the options. You sure don't want the buyer's agents to be the ones telling you why their clients bought that townhouse down the street, instead of your Single Family Home.
phew, I broke through that plateau!