Dramatic changes in our local real estate market continue. Yes, it’s a new year, but will home prices go up or down? Will buyers come back or stay on the sidelines? Will sellers continue to flood the market or put the brakes on, once again constricting available inventory? The truth is - we don’t yet know.
With so many years focused exclusively on an unforgiving seller’s market, many have come to expect that buyers will pay anything for a home, right? Not anymore. We see a steady shift to newly discovered leverage for buyers with a lot of supporting commentary in the news, online or threaded through our conversations at open houses. As the market becomes more balanced, buyers are right to use their leverage when negotiating the terms of an offer or the results of an inspection. However, as homes sit on the market longer, well over 30 days, even in Greater Seattle, sellers must discover new ways to get buyers’ attention.
One tool readily available to all sellers is pricing a home intelligently. This doesn’t mean setting a price that is lower than market value to just “get it sold” nor does it mean overpricing the property expecting buyers will offer 3-5% below list price. Fair market value should always be the goal for setting a home’s initial price.
Intelligent pricing lasers in on the value of your home in today’s climate. As always, pricing a home in the current market takes into consideration location and condition of the home, but today, there’s also more for buyers to choose from, an increase in days on market and volatile economic indicators. Frankly, in recent years, we haven’t had to think much about seller competition, extended time on the market or a changing economy.
Priced right, your home will attract the most attention in the first 2-4 weeks. Another bonus for intelligent pricing? Most buyers will sense that you’re not blatantly taking advantage of them. Some sellers are still trying to capture buyers in a market that’s already passed with too high prices that are out of whack compared to similar properties. Any good broker will know those listings and should point them out when preparing a comparative market analysis that will inform the best price for your home.Intelligent pricing is actually our oldest tool in the marketing toolbox. It also feels like the newest because it’s one we get to rediscover and dust off from the bottom drawer. Price will always be front and center, complementing all other avenues for market exposure. Priced to sell, your home should move to the top of the page.