The housing market is in a state where it really depends on where you are as to how you’ll fare when selling your home. A home that might languish on the market in the middle of nowhere might sell the first day in a prime location like West Palm Beach. More than ever, a real estate agent with a specialization in your particular neighborhood is going to be an asset in everything from pricing to marketing your home.
Start with very recent comps
One of the first ways you’ll start the pricing conversation is to work with an agent who can pull the most recent and most relevant comps. This person isn’t just finding the sales nearest you, or the 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom houses sold in this city lately; they’re going to have a good reason for each home they pick, either because it is so similar in features, sold so recently, or shares the same neighborhood. These houses will help you see what is selling quickly versus slowly in your town, and whether prices seem to be stable in your area or fluctuating widely depending on mortgage interest rates or other market factors. In many in-demand neighborhoods, inventory is so low that many homes are still selling quickly even with high mortgage interest rates, so don’t leave money on the table by relying on just general impressions of how the real estate market is working.
Balance the need for buzz with the need to hit a certain price point
In general, pricing a little too low will get more heads to turn and more prospective buyers, but pricing just a little too high might get you a higher offer from that one necessary buyer – either strategy relies on the market to bring in the buyers you need. Talk candidly with your real estate agent about what you need from the sale: are you moving immediately and financially stable enough to sell for a little less than the absolute maximum you could get? Are you simply considering moving and interested in testing the real estate market, but you need to sell for a certain amount to form your budget for your next home? Your agent can help you make pricing decisions that either maximize final sale price or increase likelihood of a fast sale, and they will of course do what they can to get you both of those things.
Take your agent’s advice when you want a fast sale
There are sometimes hard pills to swallow when it comes to information from your real estate agent: you may not have been interested in doing the necessary repairs before listing to command top dollar, or you hadn’t been prepared for the amount of decluttering and staging necessary to sell your home quickly. However, try to reserve judgment on your agent’s suggestions – while you can of course interview various agents before signing up with one of them, the wise choice is to find someone who you will trust even if they give you news you don’t want to hear. While you can push back, the agent is typically someone who has seen this process over and over; they want you to get top dollar and get to the contract signing as soon as possible, so deviating from their plan might mean leaving money on the table or delaying the sale. Whenever you can, trust them to help you navigate the strange market and find success.
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