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How to Set Your Home Price for Top Dollar

By Jamie Richardson | July 25, 2019

The median home sale price was about $200,000 in 2017. There are many minor details to tend to when selling a house, but the first step is to figure out your home's price.

And you don't want just any home price. You want the best price. Depending on the market, it could be the difference between losing money on your home or snagging an extra ten thousand dollars.

"How much can I sell my house for?" I'm glad you asked. These seven strategies can help you get the best price for your home.

1. Inspect Local Comps

When you're selling a house with the help of an agent, they'll give you a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA). This is how to price your home with the most accurate information. The CMA is a deep-dive into recent home sales in your area.

But if you're not using an agent, you can find these statistics on your own. Look for comps, or comparables, on real estate listing websites.

You are looking for homes that sold within a half-mile in the last three months. They should also have roughly the same age and square footage.

Once you've finished your research, you have a collection of comps very similar to your home. This should give you a clear baseline listing price as you consider other minute details that could affect the value of your home.

2. Check Out Active Listings

Don't trust the price of active listings. Sellers can list their homes however they like -- that doesn't mean they're worth that much. However, an open house gives you an opportunity to see the condition of the home's interior.

Perhaps you've fallen behind on upgrades over the years. If these active listings seem to be in better condition and around the same CMA-suggested price point, you might have to lower your price.

Conversely, maybe you have a dream home in comparison to what's currently on the market. Take a day or two to inspect these active listings to see if your baseline price seems to account for the quality of your home.

3. Include the Agent Fee in the Home Price

90% of home buyers use an agent when searching for a home. Many of these are buyers agents. Their job is to make sure the buyers get the best deal possible and aren't taken for a ride.

The problem with a buyer agent? The home seller has to pay the price of their commission, which is about 3% of the home's final sale price.

As the home seller, you could refuse to set a buyer agent commission fee. But since most home buyers use one, your house listing will receive very little attention.

Instead, include the commission fee in the price of your home. Check out this article for more information about the buyer agent fee and commission.

4. Try for a Bidding War

A bidding war can backfire but is nonetheless a popular strategy. So, you have a solid baseline home price thanks to your comp research. What if you willingly set your list price a few thousand -- or even ten thousand -- below that?

It's going to get a lot of attention. Theoretically.

By setting your list price under your neighborhood's average, you are guaranteed a ton of attention. This can result in several offers that lead to an above-average sale price.

The problem is this doesn't always work out. If offers fall through, you've missed your moment. The home is already at a low price.

So now what? Although the bidding war strategy can pay off, it can also be a gamble. Play at your own risk.

5. Enlist a Listing Agent

For most people, a home is their most expensive asset. Maybe you don't trust yourself to make the best decisions possible. If that's the case, you might want to hire a real estate agent.

They'll handle the CMA for you and can keep you on track. Just remember that you'll have to pay for their commission fee. But that could be worth the price if you snag a great sale price, thanks to their expertise.

6. Use Psychological Pricing

Want to know how to price your home? Pretend it's being sold at a grocery store.

I'm sure you've noticed that most products are sold with a price that ends in a pair of nines. This is known as psychological pricing. Rather than selling your home at a century number, like $250,000, why not try $249,000?

This can make a price seem more approachable and less intimidating. Even though the seller is basically paying $250,000, it doesn't quite feel like it.

Psychological pricing also has another great advantage: search engine optimization.

7. Consider Internet Search Ranges

Yes, search engine optimization is even a thing for house listings. Check out some popular real estate websites.

You'll find many of these websites have a built-in search range. So, how do you price your home so it appears in as many searches as possible?

Make sure it's at a smart price. Maybe most houses in your neighborhood sell around $395,000, just under $400,000. It's in your best interest to stay under the $400,000 range.

Otherwise, your home will be lumped in at, say, the $400,000 to $500,000 bracket. Many of these people will be looking at the higher end, which means you've just priced yourself out of luck.

Sale Price Isn't Everything

Everybody wants the biggest bang for their buck. With intelligent strategies and careful research, you can snag a great sale price for your home. But remember that the home price isn't the only part of selling a house.

There are commission fees for listing and buyer agents. If you put on an extensive bidding war or price your house too high to start, you could prolong the length of your sale date. And that could mean another month of property fees.

It's time to do some research before setting a listing price. Start with comps in your nearby area, and be sure to get a handle on commission fees so they don't surprise you.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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