Advice for Sellers .... Study Your Competition!

Home Stager

An important piece of advice that I give to all of the home sellers that I work with is … Study Your Competition!   Learn as much as you can about the other homes that are for sale in your area that are similar to yours in price, condition, location, amenities, etc. I assure you this will be a very eye-opening experience!  

Studying what your competition has to offer will provide you with a great deal of
information.  It will help you prioritize what you need to do to get your own house ready to sell.  It will help you determine your realistic asking price. 

View properties online at websites like  Drive by these homes.  Visit open
realtorhouses.  Ask you agent to arrange private showings if necessary.  Look carefully at your competition with what we call “buyers’ eyes”.  Be brutally honest when you ask yourself:   
1)    What did you find positive, negative, attractive or unattractive about each property?  

2)    How does MY house compare to others I've seen? 

Be aware of the emotions you are feeling as you make these comparisons.  Move beyond these comparisons and start thinking about your house OBJECTIVELY.  Give careful consideration to the following question: 

3)    If I didn’t live in my house and love it (and the memories it contains) as much as I do, how would it really compare to each of the other houses on the market? 

You’ll find evaluating other houses much easier than evaluating your own.  Emotional attachment typically prevents us from seeing our homes the way buyers would. 

As you are checking out the competition and writing answers to these questions, be sure to take time to acknowledge the various feelings that are probably creeping in such as happiness, fear and sadness just to name a few.  This is quite common.   

To make the process of preparing your house for market a lot easier, start to become more aware of the negative emotions that you may be feeling.  When they creep in, acknowledge them, then … LET THEM GO.   This might be the MOST difficult part of the entire process, especially if you have particularly strong emotional attachments to your home, neighborhood, community, etc. 

Finally, don’t allow the love you feel for your house to cloud your judgment when pricing it.  The market dictates what your house is worth and does not care how much money you owe or how much you need for a down payment on your next house.  The market determines your home’s value - not you, not your agent.  It is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it – and what a bank is willing to appraise it for.

This post brought to you by Karen Bernetti, Realtor & Professional Home Stager on behalf of North Star Real Estate in Soutington, CT.  Call North Star Real Estate for all your real estate needs!  860-302-0333.

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Karen Bernetti is a Real Estate Stager, Former Realtor®, Author, Speaker, and Owner of Staging4Smooth Transitions - specializing in assisting seniors with their downsize moves and offering Home2Home Transitions seminars. Karen is also the Social Media Manager and Administrative Coordinator for Prudential CT Realty, in Madison, CT and Co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days System - an interactive multi-media program teaching do-it-yourself homeowners EVERYHTING they need to know about preparing a home for sale. Stay up to date on the latest staging and home decor trends by visiting Karen & Ann's Home Sale Success Blog.  



Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Betty Knowles 09/02/2010 09:27 AM
  2. Lori Cain 09/02/2010 02:37 PM
  3. Erica Ramus 09/02/2010 02:44 PM
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Christianne O'Malley
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

Karen - this is great advice. When some of my Sellers are having a hard time justifying price reductions or adjustments, one of the first things I recommend is to go out and see what they are competing with. Then, it's easy to see that in order to sell they need to drop the price and it becomes less of a personal battle.

Sep 02, 2010 09:37 AM #15
Lisa Orme
The Master's Key Realty LLC -Windsor, CT - HARTFORD COUNTY - Windsor, CT
Broker/Realtor, ABR, CRS,GRI, PSCS, SFR, Notary Pu

Another feature!  Good for you!  This blogging challenge of yours has inspired a LOT of feature posts all across the board!!! Hey Karen, this is great advice to sellers...I love the question about "If I didn't live in my house and love it (and the memories it contains) as much as I do, how would it really compare to each of the other houses on the market?"  I usually ask my sellers to step back and really think, if they were going to buy THIS house again right NOW, what would they be willing to PAY for it?  Same idea--just gets them to really look at things from the buyers side of the fence. 

Sep 02, 2010 10:32 AM #16
Gretchen Karr
Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty - Lancaster, PA

Karen, you give fantastic advice.  I like the part when you state that:  "The market determines your home's value - not you, not your agent.  It is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it - and what a bank is willing to appraise it for."  How true this is but, how hard this is to make sellers understand. 

Sep 02, 2010 11:18 AM #17
Eileen Liles
970-216-0530 - Cedaredge, CO
Macht-Liles Real Estate Group - Cedaredge, CO

WooHoo - Gold Star Girl!

Sep 02, 2010 11:32 AM #18
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Great advice.  The best suggestion is actually going out to look at a few of the most direct in competition to your prospective home that you will be putting on the market.  Pretend you are a buyer and check out the others and walk into your home again pretending you are a buyer.  

Pricing it right is so critical to getting it sold!

All the best, Michelle

Sep 02, 2010 11:40 AM #19
Diego Marin
World Wide Realty - Irving, TX
Real Estate Solutions

Karen, your advice is "Head On" with what Sellers need to consider & realize.

Sep 02, 2010 12:14 PM #20
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Karen: It is important for sellers to be very objective about the home. Sometimes that can prove to be difficult.

Sep 02, 2010 12:29 PM #21
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

I totally agree with you, but it's very difficult for sellers to put their feeling aside.

Sep 02, 2010 01:16 PM #22
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Thank you for the time today to post this blog.


Sep 02, 2010 01:37 PM #23
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

Thank you to all of you for checking in and for your thoughtful comments!  I agree it IS extremely difficult for sellers to put their feelings aside.  It's difficult but not impossible.   It's been my experience that those who manage to treat the sale of their home like the business transaction that it is - experience the greatest success.  Those who don't very often stand in the way of their own success. 

Sep 02, 2010 01:51 PM #24
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Karen this is something that homeowners need to do. Especially homeowners who think they're house is worth half a million dollars but looks like their house hasn't been cleaned in a million years. Was I too harsh? Great post Karen. Congratulations on the Gold Star. Great post.

Sep 02, 2010 02:24 PM #25
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Yes it always pays to KNOW the competition and to analyze what is better about your house/worse about it. Then be the shiny penny the buyer picks up!

Sep 02, 2010 02:43 PM #26
Marcie Sandalow
Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate

Great advice, Karen.  Rather then send them to, I'd prefer to supply them with my own neighborhood comps... but then again, this does allow for a neutral position.  

Sep 02, 2010 02:48 PM #27
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

Karen, I do the exact same thing!

Sep 02, 2010 03:12 PM #28
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

Excellent post! Sellers need to know what they are up against. It will also help them better understand what they need to do "Above" their competition to be the best on the block!

Sep 02, 2010 03:48 PM #29
Rob Albertson
Realty Austin - Austin, TX

Sellers will always think their house is worth more money & will sell faster than another house on the market...unless they see their competition first hand & view their own place objectively.  It's the only way to get them to price their own place correctly.

Sep 02, 2010 05:00 PM #30
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Super great advices for sellers. It is hard sometimes for sellers to see their home from buyers' perspective, therefore, studying the competition will help.

Sep 02, 2010 05:19 PM #31
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Karen - This is important advice.  Sellers need to understand that their homes are going to be compared to others on the market.

Sep 02, 2010 05:44 PM #32
Bernadine Hunter, SFR, ACRE
Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty - Pickerington, OH
"Finding Solution to Your Real Estate Needs"

The best thing we can do for sellers is to show them the competition they're up against. They sometimes are in another world about the value of their home and how it stacks up to others.

Sep 02, 2010 08:57 PM #33
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

Everyone should study their competition....all good business folks do this!!  Totally agree that sellers should do same....GREAT advice!!

Sep 03, 2010 02:14 PM #34
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