How much should I sell my house for?

If you are now thinking about: “How much should I sell my house for?”, that most likely means you would like like to sell the house soon and want to see how much you can get for your house. Deciding to sell your home is a big deal, so it is important to come up with the right number to sell your house for. Here are some steps to help:

  1. Contact experienced real estate agent or appraiser (though appraiser will charge you money, but the agent will do it for free). Our Experienced agent at We Sell Harford Homes will prepare the accurate estimate of your home value based on the current local market conditions (cause real estate is always local and you can’t rely on the big websites with quick online estimates like Zillow or Redfin for accuracy!)
  • Knowing what your home is worth is important information to have if you are thinking of selling your home.
  • By providing your address, our system will conduct a thorough comparative market analysis by searching the database for similar homes listed or sold in your area. 
  • With this current market data, you will be able to better determine what your home may sell for if you decide to put it on the market. 
  • There is no cost or obligation for this valuable service.
  • Simply fill out the form to Receive Your FREE Quick Online Home Evaluation.

2. Review comparables of recently sold homes

What is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)?

If you’re working with a real estate agent, they’ll be providing you with a CMA, which is a compilation of recent sales from your area. It takes into consideration home details, days on the market, and final sale price.

If you’re selling your home on your own, you can definitely do your own research online and get a good idea of your home’s value. But, don’t be afraid to contact a few real estate agents to  request a CMA. They’re used to providing comps to potential clients, and they may not even need to step foot in your home. You might also consider hiring an independent appraiser. For a few hundred dollars, they can give you a fair market value for your home.

If you do search for comps on your own, note that comparable properties should:

  • Be within ¼ to ½ of a mile from your home.
  • Have been listed within the last 3 months.
  • Be roughly the same age as your property.
  • Have square footage within 10 percent of yours. So, if your home is 1,500 square feet, you should look at homes between 1,350 and 1,650 square feet.

3. Learn from other sellers’ mistakes

Review expired listings from your area to gain insights on pricing your home to sell. Compare original list prices of recently sold homes with their final sale prices. Did it take many price cuts to get a sale? Perhaps it was overpriced to begin with?

4. Don’t let your asking price lump you in with the competition

Ever heard of price banding? It’s the practice of looking over current inventory in your neighborhood and finding a less crowded price point. Prices tend to get bunched up as sellers try to price their homes competitively. For example, if there are four homes in your neighborhood priced between $274,000 and $276,000, and the next set of homes start at $290,000 and up, you should take advantage of the wide open $280,000 price band.

5. Avoid obscure and century pricing

Whether at the grocery store or in a home sale, there’s a proven psychology that items priced just under a “century” number (meaning a nice, round number) are more attractive to buyers — think $9.95 instead of $10, $19.99 instead of $20, and so on. For whatever reason, your $299,999 home might seem more approachable than if it were priced at $300,000. However, pricing a house at a random and obscure number (like $123,456) is distracting to buyers and gives a bad impression of you, the seller.

6. Price for online search ranges

Consider the price range your home will fall into on popular online real estate websites. Most buyers have a price range they are considering or can afford. A buyer looking at homes in the $280,000 to $300,000 range will likely not see your home if it’s listed at $305,000. But, if you choose a home listing price of $299,999, it’ll show up in their search results — and they just might end up being your buyer.

7. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes

It’s hard to put aside your emotional attachment to your home, but when selling your home, it’s a must. Look around at what else is selling around the same price. Objectively, are these homes worth more or less than yours?

8. A note on pricing for a bidding war

There’s a difference between “How much can I list my house for?” and “How much can I sell my house for?” Sometimes, especially in big seller’s markets, sellers list their homes for an attractively low asking price, in hopes of driving up the eventual sales price with a bidding war.

While this strategy can work, there’s always a risk of the financing falling through on your highest-priced offer, especially if your home doesn’t end up appraising for the offered amount. When that happens, you’ve jeopardized lower offers, and potential buyers may wonder if there’s a flaw in your home that made your deal fall through.

When evaluating offers, always look carefully at all aspects of each offer before deciding which to accept — there are more factors than just the price offered.

9. Don’t hesitate to cut the price after listing

Even with the best research, sometimes you’ll come to the conclusion that you’ve listed too high. The key is to recognize quickly that you’ve overpriced, and make an accurate adjustment.

Avoid the temptation of making a few little pricing tweaks over time. Older listings simply aren’t as attractive to buyers, and your goal is to sell quickly. It’s always better to make one big price correction up front.

10. Get a second (expert) opinion

Agents are pros when it comes to pricing properties and have their finger on the pulse of your local market. They understand current buying trends and can provide insight into how your home compares to others for sale nearby. It might be worth enlisting an agent’s help if you’re having trouble finding the right price point. Don’t have an agent? We are the real estate expert that can help you.

How to price your home for the current housing market

What goes into the CMA?

Let’s get back to the idea of a CMA. An agent will perform a CMA to determine a price range, balancing the analysis with the unique features of your home. These include everything from property size to home upgrades.

1. Square footage

A CMA will look at the gross living space of your house. These include bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and dining room. You might even be able to include a finished basement or an indoor porch in your square footage depending on your zip code.

2. Bedrooms and bathrooms

The number of bedrooms and bathrooms is one of the most basic statistics used to evaluate a house, but counting them can sometimes be tricky. Keep this in mind: just because you count it as a bedroom doesn’t mean you can advertise it as such.

That little alcove with your child’s crib probably isn’t considered a bedroom. Similarly, your weekend project of putting up insulated walls in your basement for guests would need to be built to specific standards to be counted as a bedroom. But well done, you weekend warrior!

3. Lot size

The lot size is the amount of land your house sits on, and bigger properties tend to be attractive with their potential for expansion, room for a pool, or privacy from neighbors. To find your lot size, review the plat map that you received when you first purchased the property. Your local government offices might be able to help if yours has gone missing.

4. Age

Some people are charmed by older houses with a lot of history, and others prefer new construction. Preferences aside, your CMA will use your house’s age as a point of comparison to recent sales in your area.

5. Location

We’ve all heard the real estate mantra “location, location, location,” but do you know why it matters? Here’s that long-awaited answer:

  • Home values vary depending on your state and county
  • Buyers review information on your neighborhood for elements like walkability, transportation, and proximity to amenities like grocery stores, schools, and parks
  • Recent demand is greater in the suburbs

6. Condition

There’s a significant difference between a home needing a few repairs and one that’s in poor condition. However, you can still sell without a complete overhaul. You just have to be more creative and expand your profile of an ideal buyer and price. Major issues like roof damage, electrical or plumbing issues, or nonfunctional HVACs dramatically lower the price of a home.

7. Upgrades

To boost your house’s listing price, consider making a few upgrades that will increase the home’s value. A small investment now on new appliances or finishing your basement can lead to a high return on investment when you sell.

8. Comps

A comparative market analysis essentially compares your home to other, similar properties called comps that have been on the market. This is why timing becomes tricky with getting an accurate CMA.

In a rapidly changing real estate market, data becomes outdated at lightning speed. Your agent will want to ensure they’re building a CMA with recent data collected over the past few weeks as opposed to a longer timeframe, and the goal would be a max of 3 months. Depending on how long you go from dreaming of a home sale to being ready to move, another CMA may be called for to ensure accuracy.

Other factors influencing how much you should sell your house for

While the physical aspects of your home that go into the CMA are relatively unchanging, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things to consider. Pricing is as much a strategy as it is a science, and can be influenced by how people look for homes and even the time of year.

Price for online home hunters

Where do you think most buyers shop for homes? If you answered ‘online,’ you’re correct! 97% of homebuyers in 2021 used the internet in their home search. This is critical data for you as the seller to consider in your pricing. Your property should be internet-search-ready.

Make sure your number reflects a price point that a buyer would be searching for online. Most common filters would be set in increments of $25,000. Setting your price to a multiple of that increment ($325,000 versus $335,000) means you are showing up for these online mavens.

Have the real estate pricing pyramid handy

The real estate pyramid helps you visualize the accessible buyer pool at market value, below market value, and above market value.

As you might suspect, the biggest piece of the proverbial pyramid is pricing below market value which opens you up to 75 to 90% of the buyer pool. Yet there are specific reasons an agent would price you in any one of the 3 categories. But be warned – pricing above market is often not a smart strategy.

Don’t forget seasonality

Did you know that the seasons can affect your pricing strategy? Even though your favorite season may be the coziness of autumn, that doesn’t mean it’s a great time to sell your home for top dollar. Seasonality somewhat depends on your geographic location and weather conditions.

A good rule of thumb is that spring and summer tend to be more ideal seasons to sell for many parts of the country. Fall and winter tend to be busier times for people, with the holidays, the start of the school year, and snowy conditions dampening buyer interest.

An expert real estate agent will consider the season – and how that impacts the number and seriousness of interested buyers – and reflect that in your pricing.

How to maximize the listing price while attracting discerning buyers

There’s no standard formula for pricing as every home and location is different. Top agents will be uniquely prepared to maximize listing price by using all of the right tools that take into account market data/trends, your home’s unique features, and your goal as a seller.

Agents will also guide you through staging the home for maximum impact and help you prioritize small renovations that will increase the home’s value.

Strategies such as those listed above will help you answer that all-important question ”how much should I sell my house for?” Some of these can be accomplished yourself, but bringing in a top real estate agent amplifies your efforts. And helps you save time, money and headaches.

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