When homeowners are preparing to put their properties on the market, one aspect is usually foremost in their minds: money. Setting the asking price accurately can mean the difference between getting an offer quickly and having a house languish for months, drawing little interest.
With that in mind, it’s important that potential sellers block out a lot of the noise that often surrounds the intricate art and science of pricing. There are plenty of myths that may cause sellers to lose sleep at night as they attempt to separate fact from fiction.
1. ‘If we keep waiting, a better offer will come along!’
When sellers receive an offer from the first showing, they may be skeptical or hesitant to accept it, wondering if other prospective buyers would be inclined to pay more. Thoughts of potential bidding wars could cause sellers to want to wait and see who else falls for their place. But, remember the old adage, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” There’s no guarantee other would-be buyers are waiting around the corner. If the offer is a fair one, entertain it and count your blessings.
2. ‘Getting an offer right away, means the agent priced it too low!’
When sellers receive an offer early in the process, as excited as they might be, many can’t help but wonder, “Should we have asked for more money? Did our agent price it too cheaply?” While it’s natural to be skeptical (and even a little greedy), receiving an offer on the early end of the spectrum most likely means your home was priced accurately and attractively. If you trust your agent, you know he or she didn’t pick a number out of the sky, but rather based it on extensive market research. So, be glad your sale is moving in the right direction.
3. ‘We should price it so there’s room to negotiate!’
Let’s be honest: Most sellers would love to get top dollar for their homes. But overpricing it with the intention of being willing to accept a lower offer may just leave you empty handed in the long run. Plus, if you have to drop your ask multiple times, buyers may begin to wonder what’s wrong with the place — other than the price, that is.
4. ‘That’s not what my Zestimate says it’s worth!’
Have you ever noticed how homeowners are eager to believe Zestimates or other automated valuation models when that price exceeds their expectations? Yet, when the opposite happens, they assume it’s outdated or erroneous information? The point we’re making is, these numbers can be inaccurate, so again, trust your agent over the Internet. Enough said.
5. ‘We can add all renovation costs to the asking price!’
Sellers may adore the improvements and renovations they’ve made and want to add in those costs to the asking price. But remember, not every change is going to land a huge return on investment. If you’re curious about what you can expect on those fixes, check out Remodeling Magazine‘s annual ‘Cost Versus Value’ report to get an idea of which upgrades yield the biggest bang for your buck. Also, as you’re making changes, bear in mind that the infinity pool you view as an asset may just seem like a huge liability to a buyer.
6. ‘My Realtor® overpriced my house to make a larger commission.’
Agents are paid a percentage of the selling price of the home. However, even if they were to raise the ask by $25,000, in most cases that would yield an additional $1,500 in commission, which would then be divvied up between the broker the agent is working for and the buyer’s agent, leaving your agent with less than $750 more in his or her pocket. It’s hard to imagine an agent would blow a potential quick sale — and take on weeks or months of additional showings and marketing expenses — for a few hundred dollars.
7. ‘Reducing the price is a sign of weakness!’
While no homeowner is eager to drop the listing price, if time is passing and there’s been little interest, it could be time to consider lowering the ask. Remember, time is money. While you’re waiting for someone to meet your price, you’re still paying the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance etc. Plus, sometimes, lowering the price can put your home in front of a group of new buyers, which could generate a lot more interest and, ultimately, get the price back up closer to where it was in the first place.