A house properly priced is half sold. But there are plenty of ways to price it improperly.
* You can’t go by what you paid for the place. Perhaps you bought two years ago when local prices were skyrocketing, and things have cooled off since. Perhaps houses like yours can now be bought for less, and if you hold out for what you paid, you’ll just waste your time.
On the other hand, perhaps prices in your area have taken off, and you’d short-change yourself if you just tried to “get my money out” (but you’d have a fast sale.).
* You can’t go by how much you’ve spent on improvements. A given street will support only a given price range. If you’ve invested so much that yours would be the most expensive house on the street, the buying public is not likely to reimburse you.
* You can’t go by your tax assessment figure. Even in communities that aim at full-value assessments, the figures are almost never in line with what buyers are currently ready to pay.
So how do you price your house?
By putting yourself in a buyer’s shoes. What else is for sale in the area? How does it compare with your house? How long has it been on the market? What has sold recently, and how much did the buying public value it at? What has failed to sell in the past year?.
Any good broker can furnish the data you need, often in the form of a chart known as a CMA, Comparative Market Analysis. And once you have it, again think like a buyer. What price would it take for you to look at a list and say to an agent “Take me to see that one”?.