Posted on January 29, 2009 by Sandra Lauer
Here we are on week three of our ‘Selling your Lake Wallenpaupack area real estate' series...time sure does fly, doesn't it? Sheese! Anyhow, this week we're covering a hugely important topic...Step Three: Your Asking Price.
Since I'm sure you decided to use a Listing Agent after last week's installment we'll focus on how your Listing Agent determines the price to ask for your home here in Northeastern PA.
Before asking you to sign any contracts, your Listing Agent should perform something for you called a Home Valuation. I offer this service free of charge, and assume most other Realtors do the same. If they don't, I would think twice about hiring them. All Realtors know that there is some pro bono work to be done before getting a listing...the payoff comes when the house actually sells and the job is done.
The Home Valuation, when done properly, consists of the Listing Agent meeting with you in your home, taking measurements and info regarding the square footage of your house as well as the room counts. If you have anything 'special', they'll take that info down too...garages, pools, lot size...all of it present and accounted for. Then, the Listing Agent heads back to the office and searches the MLS database for properties in your area that are similar to yours and have sold recently as well as those currently listed for sale.
What? Did I just say properties that have SOLD recently? Yes, I sure did...while it's easy to say ‘my neighbor's house is listed for X, and mine is nicer, so it should be priced higher' in reality it is a comparison that doesn't hold much water. Any agent should take those numbers into consideration, of course...but the numbers that REALLY matter are the SOLD PRICES of homes around you. The SOLD PRICE is the actual price someone paid for the home...and it is often lower, sometimes MUCH lower, than the listing price.
Your Listing Agent should come back to your home with some printed information for you...at least THREE similar properties currently for sale in your area, and at least THREE similar properties that have SOLD within the last six months to a year. These are called COMPARABLES, or COMPS. The Listing Agent should explain to you how long the current properties have been on the market, and how long the sold properties WERE on the market. Then, the Listing Agent should point out how your home is better or ‘worse' compared to these properties. Finally, you'll hear it...THE NUMBER...the amount your Listing Agent thinks your home will sell for in the current market.
People are sometimes deeply offended by the listing price their Realtor comes up with...please, don't be one of those people! As I explained above, MUCH effort has gone into evaluating your home and how to price it...sure, you may *think* your house is worth 250K because you love it and the kitchen cost you 35K just last year, but it may only be WORTH 199K in today's market. Don't shoot the messenger, as they say...I've heard stories of agents being told ‘get out of here, you're trying to steal my house' by folks thinking the agent is low balling them so they can buy the home themselves and flip it. While I suppose this could happen, I've never actually SEEN it happen and I've been at this for some time.
If you are pretty sure, based on your own research, that your Listing Agent is off, you can always pay for a formal appraisal that will be done by an independent party. Chances are, it will be darn close to the Listing Agent's figure...or lower.
Some Listing Agents will take what YOU think your home is worth and list it for that amount...just to ‘get the listing'! They assume that they can talk you into lowering your price later...please, don't work with these folks! If they've done their homework and KNOW what your home may sell for, they should have the courage to walk away if you insist on pricing it higher...because listing a home for more than it's worth leads to one thing: A LONG, SLOW ROAD TO PERHAPS ‘NO SALE'. If your home isn't priced to sell from the start, it will sit. And sit. And sit. The longer it stays on the market, the harder it is to sell. People see it's been on the market for two years and they assume there is SOMETHING WRONG WITH IT. If it was a good price and a decent place, someone would have bought it already, right?
Your asking price will determine SO MUCH...which buyers come looking, which buyers can afford it, whether or not buyers will even bother to make an offer...so list it at the RIGHT PRICE from the start. You only get ONE CHANCE for your home to be a ‘NEW LISTING'...and new listings get the most attention. Don't miss out!
If you'd like me to drop by and conduct a Home Valuation for you, just drop me a line or give me a call.
Lake Wallenpaupack Real Estate
Filed under: SELLING Lake Wallenpaupack area real estate