A few months ago (sheesh, almost six months already!) I stopped actively selling real estate. Oh, not to worry, I still keep my fingers in the pie and my toes in the water of the Denver real estate market, but I don't actually list or sell properties in my own name. However, being the control freak that I am, anyone who gets a referral from me can count on lots of - ahem - help from me, especially if they're working with someone from my precious Sphere of Influence. I'm sure my - ahem - help is very much appreciated.
Anyway, I recently referred a sweeeeet Charming Old Denver listing to a fellow SWS'er - Mary Beth Bonacci. It's in one of Denver's many historic neighborhoods and was built in 1908. If you're fortunate enough to work in charming old neighborhoods, you know how challenging it can be to accurately price these homes. After 100 years (give or take a dozen) of renovations - not only of the subject property, but also of the surrounding neighbors, the influx of infill development, changes to perceived trendiness "boundaries," the comings and goings of neighborhood amenities, not to mention school district nuances and zoning codes... you can pretty much bet that there ain't another house just like the one you're trying to price.
Oh, sure, on paper, there are probably dozens. After all, builders weren't much more creative back then than they are today. Drive down a street in Denver's Washington Park and you'll see Bungalow after Bungalow built in 1927 - the tract homes of the 20's. On the next block, you might see Tudor after Tudor built in 1935 - the tract home of the 30's. Similar square footages, similar lot sizes, the same existence of or lack of a basement...
And of course, all the MLS descriptions of your comparables proclaim the homes to be Renovated with Pottery Barn Flair! Or to have a Gourmet Custom Kitchen with Stainless Appliances & Granite Counters! Oh, and in a Perfect Location, too.
But I digress.
I decided Mary Beth needed my help pricing the sweeeet listing I referred to her. And she graciously agreed to let me - ahem - help.
Actually, we had a great time. ‘Specially me - since I'd been out of the loop a few months, it was a bit of a novelty to get out there in the trenches and exercise my pricing expertise again.
But, as it usually does, it amazed me that many agents price simply from what the seller tells them about their home and what the MLS data tells them about the market. In other words, they have a telephone conversation with the seller; spend an hour in front of the computer and voila! They create a "professional" CMA and proudly present it to their seller prospect as gospel.
And proceed to the market with an improperly priced home...
Perhaps this strategy works just fine in a newer tract home development. But in a historic neighborhood? No way.
Stay tuned for some hints & tips on pricing urban homes in historic neighborhoods.... I freakin' love this stuff...