When selling a home, establishing a reasonable and, ultimately, profitable listing price is perhaps the biggest challenge that a homeowner faces. A home priced too high may go unsold, but a home priced too low will result in a loss for the seller.

Before settling on an asking price, the professionals at Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty recommend taking the following steps:

Choose the Right Sales Associate. While many home sellers use a friend or relative’s referral when selecting a sales associate, it is smart to interview a variety of prospective associates and invite them to show their listing presentations.  Pay attention to how they plan to market the home, and find out how many homes they (and their companies) listed in your local market in the past year as well as how many of them were sold.  Also, make certain they plan to list the home on the multiple listing service (MLS), and inquire about the breadth of the sales associate’s network of contacts.  Remember, the more prospective buyers a sales associate can attract, the better the chance for a successful sale.  Finally, because selling a home will require a lot of communication, the seller should ensure he or she connects with the sales associate’s personality.

Do the Homework. Home sellers should work with a real estate sales associate to develop a written comparative market analysis (CMA). This will provide a list of recent sales prices of similar homes in the area (with comparable numbers of bedrooms, baths, square footage and lot size), the asking prices of homes currently for sale in the neighborhood and other relevant information. They should also consult the Home Listing Report available at coldwellbanker.com which offers buyers a way to compare average housing costs in over 400 U.S. markets.  Based on the information gathered, a sales associate will provide his or her professional estimation of a legitimate selling price.

Take the Emotion Out of It. Sellers often take great pride in their homes, but it is important to set a priced based solely on factors like location, condition and size. A house in a secluded, exclusive area may be appealing to some buyers, while others will want to be closer to schools, shopping and health care facilities. What is the physical condition of the home? Is it a fixer-upper? Does it make a good first impression (or have “curb appeal”)? Will it appeal to a growing family, or is it better suited for empty nesters? These are all things that need to be considered when pricing a home.

Determine If It Is a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market. Home inventory, mortgage interest rates and the economy play a role in determining whether the buyer or seller has a negotiating advantage.  Interest rates remain at historically low levels even as the economy shows signs of improving, allowing buyers to be in a good position to shoulder the “good” debt of homeownership.  A sales associate will know the inventory levels in the community.

Do the Math. Do not forget to figure in closing costs, legal fees and other selling expenses when determining the selling price.  The sales associate should be able to provide cost estimates, and negotiate with a potential buyer to ensure a fair sale price.

Give It the Once Over. After working with a real estate sales associate to get a CMA and considering all the other factors, the listing price will be set.  But there is one more step in trying to ensure that the house sells for that price, or more.  Do as much as possible to improve the home’s appearance: touch up the paint, fix leaks, seal any cracks, clean the home, eliminate clutter and rid the home of any pet odors. The house has only one chance to make a first impression.

Home – Where your story begins…

To learn more about how Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty can help you buy or sell a home, please call one please call one of our four offices in:

Grass Valley Office at 530-273-7293
855 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945

Nevada City at 530-265-3282
108 Union Street, Nevada City, CA 95959

Penn Valley at 530-432-1131
11364 Pleasant Valley Rd, Penn Valley, CA 95946

South County/LOP at 530-268-1575
10193 Combie Rd, Auburn, CA 95602