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Pricing your home for sale

Sell your home: putting a price tag on the American dream

Our homes represent so much: goals achieved, renovation complete, family started. It's hard to remove our emotions from the transaction. But in the end, the only thing that matters is what buyers are willing to pay. And they don't share your fond memories.

Setting the price to sell your home is no easy task. Consider current market conditions, competing properties nearby, time of year, inventory in your community. Consult with your real estate professional to identify an approximate value of the home based on comparables of similar properties sold recently in your neighborhood. Base your list price on a combination of all of these factors.

Cost of pricing home too high

"I understand the desire to hold out for the price you want on a home that has meant a lot to you, but at what cost?" says Kathleen Dufner of Thrivent Federal Credit Union. "We have had members who look at the price they originally paid for the home and the price they want to sell it for and nothing else. They can end up waiting a long time to sell or dropping their price significantly."

Think of the thousands of dollars you could potentially spend waiting for the house to sell. Consider that house payments, property insurance, property taxes, private mortgage insurance, and any association fees could add up over time.

Row of houses

Keep emotions out of the equation

These tips may help you keep your emotions in check while selling your home.

  • Work with an expert. Rely on advice from a real estate professional who knows your community. If an agent doesn't already represent you, find one using our Real Estate Services Program.
  • Play the numbers game. There's a reason price tags tend to end in "9" no matter what you're buying. Psychology plays a role. A home priced at $299,900 seems more affordable than one selling for $300,000.
  • Understand herd mentality. You want as many buyers as possible to be interested in your home because excitement about the listing won't last long. Pricing it on the lower end of the value range of comparable properties in the neighborhood may generate multiple showings.
  • Price for online searches. Buyers will likely search for certain criteria when shopping for a home, including price. Select a number that will appear within a reasonable range in more searches.
  • Consider the season. High demand months result in more showings, while the opposite is true other times of the year. The key is to know trends in your geographic area.
  • Leave room for negotiation. Set a price that gives you and the buyer a chance for counter offers.
  • React quickly. Be prepared to adjust the price if your home isn't getting showings or you have received feedback that the price is perceived too high.

You may gain some insights in Is Now the Time to Sell? from a previous edition of Home Loan Economics.