That’s Not Fair! How to Determine a Realistic Asking Price for Your Home

That’s Not Fair! How to Determine a Realistic Asking Price for Your Home

Determining the asking price for a home has to be one of the most difficult parts of the selling process. You’ve spent weeks, maybe months, preparing your home for sale – making repairs and upgrades – and you want to get the best price possible. The asking price of any home is influenced by a number of factors, though, and many are completely out of your control.

Do Your Homework

There are a lot of websites you can use to estimate what your home’s sale price may be. Zestimate (from Zillow) and dozens of others will assess the neighborhood, age of the home, size, and other factors to give you a figure to start with. A lot of these tools won’t take upgrades you have made to the home into account, so you may need to make some adjustments.

Make Necessary Adjustments

Don’t get your hopes up if you think the price you’ve come up with is really good compared to the homes that have sold recently in your area. You really want to be within 10% of the most recent sales nearby to be considered in the correct ballpark; and that’s still not necessarily going to be the best price for your home.

A few things you’re going to need to consider include supply and demand, or how many homes are available for sale in your area. The more there is to see, the more competitive your price will need to be. If interest rates are trending high, you may find a smaller pool of potential buyers, so you’ll need to appeal to them. The season even makes a difference. People love to move in the spring, so you may get a higher asking price; but in the winter? Forget it. You’ll either find a buyer who is desperate or wait until spring rolls around again unless you adjust your price.

Talk to Your Real Estate Agent

One of your agent’s primary jobs is to help you set a realistic price point for your home. The financial market, the housing market, and the mindset of the buyer are all things that need to be taken into consideration. Your real estate agent will do her best to help you to set a fair asking price that will move you quickly towards a final sale.

Sellers in the West, Buyers in the East

Zillow, an online real estate site, recently released a study that listed the markets for sellers and buyers in the United States. The study showed that there is an east/west divide. Basically, if you’re on the West Coast, it’s a seller’s market. If you’re on the East Coast (or Midwest), it’s a buyer’s market. Obviously, if you compare New Jersey to California, there’s a lot of difference, and not just in terms of miles. Things are different out there. But why is one coast showing one market, and the other coast an entirely different market?

For starters, there are relatively strong job markets on the West Coast, which is helping to create more demand. Since there is a limited supply, this is causing a rapid appreciation for homes and giving sellers the edge. And, housing prices and interest rates are still favorable, so some buyers want to buy NOW. They’re willing to pay a bit more for a home because they know it’s still a great deal, and the sellers get to take more of a profit than they would have a few years ago.

Here in New Jersey and our surrounding areas, however, the housing market is appreciating more slowly. Homes are staying on the market for a bit longer, and this gives buyers the edge. If a seller wants to take advantage of the market and sell off their existing home, they’ll be much more willing to take a little less and move on rather than holding onto the property. This isn’t the case in every township, but it is the picture for things at large.

So, what can you be looking at this fall? It depends on who you are. If you’re the buyer, then you can expect to have the upper hand, and you may be able to land your NJ dream home by asking the seller to come down in price. If you’re the seller, on the other hand, expect to have your home on the market a little longer and perhaps have to lower your asking price. Or, you could always wait for that perfect buyer to come along, which isn’t asking too much in this market. New Jersey does, after all, have unique, one-of-a-kind homes.