It is the question that tries sellers' souls, "What is my home worth?".

 

Naturally in this insane market (and yes, it is still a bit insane), Sellers are wanting top dollar for their homes. There is just one problem to that... buyers have the final say in a sense. Basically by definition, a home in today's market is what a set of buyers might be willing to pay for it. As some of my ancestors said, "That's a bit of a sticky wicket."

There is a process that needs to be crawled through before you put your home on the market and deciding on a price is first and foremost. One "problem" now is the readily availability of public information out on the web... some good and some bad. In our market, buyers can access tax records imediately, if they know where to go, and it will tell them how much you paid for your home and when you bought it. There is also a section including "2012 market value". I have seen this value be "spot on" and also way the heck off. The problem is that this figure is out there, right or wrong. The same exists on some of what I call the "big box" sites. There is an automated valuation tool on some of these sites that is a ROBOT comparing home values. Often these are inaccurate... but again, they are out there, and of course, as we all know, everything is true on the internet... not.

The best way to get an idea of what price your home should be listed for is to contact an agent, whther they be a Realtor® or not (the two are not the same thing exactly). They should provide you with a list of "comps", which are comparable homes that have SOLD.  Homes that have sold are more important than what homes are currently listed for in the area, but the competition should be looked at as well. You don't want your overpriced home to be a shining advertisement making the lower priced home down the street to appear more attractive to buyers. This is called a CMA, or comparative market analysis (I like to call it a "compilation of market activity") and you need to be involved in the analysis part.

One of the most important things in this process is YOU. You have to step out of the seller role and put yourself in the buyer role at this point. I am here to tell you that there is very little market to "test", and if you are totally in love with your home, you might be shocked at what you think the agent feels in their opinion is a good asking price. Look at those comps objectively as a buyer would. If you heard from neighbor Sam down the road that Mr. Smith's house sold for a big amount... get that agent to verify the amount. As we all know, tales change in the telling. Not saying that Sam would lie, nor would Mr. Smith... but they might just stretch the truth a bit as far as that sales price goes.

An agent might be able to shoot from the hip and tell you a range what your home will sell for... but without truly researching the UP TO DATE data, shooting from the hip is a bit dangerous for accuracy, and accuracy counts. They will need to see your home, inside and out, and compare  it to previews done of like properties. That is "feet on the ground" work that no automatic valuation tool can do. Ask them (if they are hip shooters) what they are basing the figure on.

Here is the most imporant bit of advice (other than leaving your emotion at the door, but it IS related): When the agent produces data as to recent sales and active competition. LISTEN. After that, find out what you owe on the property (probably ought to know this already), look into what closing costs will be (including sales commissions... these are necessary expenses and don't forget that often minimum price on this can equate to minimum service). Then see what there's room for...  and although I'm not trying to paint a bleak picture... be ready to counter insultingly low offers. DO NOT slam the door because they are very low.. everyone is after the steal. 

I hope this helps... email me if you have some questions. I'd be happy to help you.