The New Reality of Pricing your Home to Sell

Posted On March 15th, 2016 By deepardue

After a few years of prices running up in the northwest Houston area (Cypress, Spring, Tomball), sellers are dealing with a new reality.  Prices are stabilizing, inventory is building and we can no longer expect multiple offers for most homes.  Buyers and their agents are being more cautious and evaluating the market more closely.  Yet we are seeing a lot of activity–a lot of buyers are out there looking for a home.  So it comes down to sellers listening to their agent and taking into account the current market when pricing their home.  It is so easy for the sellers to convince themselves that their home is better than any other home in their neighborhood because of the upgrades or changes made to the home.  When in reality, their home very likely has some of the same upgrades as the other homes on the market.  If I tell a seller what they want to hear or simply agree with their over-estimation of the value of their home, I may get the listing, but we all end up wasting time and money–and getting very frustrated.  One thing I have finally learned to do is to be willing to walk away if a seller is being completely unrealistic and insists on a price that is too high or simply does not want to do the recommended basic make-ready to make the home competitive at the price we are setting for the home.

If a seller asks me what type improvements are best to do, I do emphasize the cosmetic appeal (curb appeal, updated paint, flooring, kitchen, baths). But one type improvement that seems to be yielding a good return these days for homes older than 15-20 years, is anything to do with energy efficiency: Low E / insulated windows, new energy efficient heat & air systems, added insulation, radiant barrier roofs, etc.  This helps older homes compete with newer homes and buyers see them as likely to be lower maintenance.

The March 2015 publication in Texas Association of Realtor’s Magazine urges us as agents to avoid the pitfalls of the sellers’ emotional attachment to their homes, having the tough conversations with sellers about the comps and what their home is really worth and making sure we use comps that truly represent the homes that buyers would most likely compare the seller’s home to. Pricing a home too high is never a good strategy–whether you need a quick sale or have time to wait.  Because the best way to get the best price is to price it right from the start.  The “pent up” market of buyers waiting for a home like yours will be there to snap it up if the price is right.

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