Pricing Your Home and Finding an Agent When You’re Ready to Sell: Home Selling Series Pt. 2

February 20, 2020

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you are probably eager to know how much a buyer would be willing to pay for it. Like many things in real estate, the answer can be complex.

A well-trained and well-connected real estate agent will help you get top dollar for your investment. Some of the variables they will walk you through include the condition of your home, the location, the current real estate market conditions in your area, the season and more.

You’ll want someone who knows the neighborhood and the many-step process of selling real estate. To find an agent, you can ask friends and neighbors for names of agents they have worked with, or search on for a Long & Foster agent who specializes in your locality.

These are a few questions your agent could help you with, initially:

  • What time of year is best for putting your home on the market, and is this considered a buyer’s or seller’s market?
  • What improvements would make sense, and how much might it cost to get the best return? A fresh coat of paint inside, in a neutral color, is one improvement that often gets a lot of value for the money and effort.
  • If you’re making improvements, how will you find the professionals needed to do the work?
  • How long does a home like yours take to sell, typically?

For the initial listing appointment, the agent will meet you at your home. This is the time for you to mention all the features of your home and neighborhood, so your agent can tell prospective buyers. They will want to inspect the house and grounds, and they will perform a competitive market analysis (CMA) to see what similar homes in the areas have sold for.

Be specific about what makes your home special. Is it convenient to public transportation or major commuting routes? Are there daycare facilities and schools? What about natural features, like trails and parks, or proximity to entertainment and dining?

After conferring with the agent, the seller will set the asking price. Price it too high, and you risk turning buyers off. Too low, and you could be leaving money on the table. A rule of thumb says homes priced more than 5% over market value discourage offers. Buyers will go elsewhere if they believe they can get a better home for the price. You can use tools like Long & Foster’s home value calculator to get an estimate of what your home might be worth.

Your Long & Foster agent is an expert on market conditions in your neighborhood and will be the best person to advise you on the listing price. Your agent will also prepare a sample net sheet. This document subtracts anticipated expenses from the expected sale price to estimate how much money the seller will have after settlement.

It will also be important at this point to put into writing exactly what comes with the house. For example, if you have a washer and dryer set you love, and you want to take them to your next home, put in the listing that those items don’t convey with the home. If you can, remove or replace items you plan to keep before buyers see them.

One question agents routinely hear from clients is whether the market is currently favoring buyers or sellers. According to the National Association of Realtors, home sellers in many parts of the United States have been able to take advantage of low inventory in recent years, while prices have increased due to low supply and high demand.

Home sellers in 2019 received a median of 99% of their asking prices and sold their homes typically within three weeks, NAR found in its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Find out more about selling your home at Long & Foster’s home seller page.

This is the second in a series of articles about selling your home. Read additional posts in the series here.