Pricing Your Home for Sale

Shelve your defensiveness when it comes to pricing your home for sale. Judgments about the value of your home are not about you. They are about the looks, bricks and sticks and location of the home you are getting ready to sell and most importantly current market conditions.

Priced to Sell

You need to stay as dispassionate as you can, and face the financial facts and tried-and-true strategies of selling in tough times. Bear in mind that pricing your home for sale is a marketing decision, and no amount of wishing will make it anything else. Price your home too high, and potential buyers will pass it up.

If it is at the top or outside of their price range they won’t show up to look at the “special qualities” you believe add to the value of your home. You are likely to spend more money because of time spent waiting for a sale and missed marketing opportunities. If it stays on the market too long, buyers will assume there is something wrong with it besides price. In the end, an offer to buy your home will be determined by the marketplace. Since most buyers today are seeking bargains, allow some room for negotiation, but not so much as to discourage them altogether.

Showing off Your Home to Buyers

Help prospective buyers imagine living in your home and don’t expect them to put any effort into summoning up the results. Most people are just not visionaries and will not look past what is actually there. What this means is that you must remove clues about the manner in which you live your life as well as any signs of disorganization and clutter. If this is inconvenient and stressful for you, then scream into a pillow but do it anyway. Your buyers want to imagine how they will live in your home, not how you do. It is definitely worth the inconvenience to consider your home through your prospective buyers’ senses—their sights, sounds, smell, touch, and feelings.

The outside appearance is the first impression buyers will form as they pull up to your home. If it is not attractive you might lose a buyer even if the inside of the home is in great condition. Ensure that the gutters are intact, the roof looks in good condition, doors and windows are clean, the paint is in good condition and the lawn and flowerbeds are healthy and appealing. Buyers will remember how good your property looked when they first approached it long after they have left. If these simple steps can make your house more appealing than other properties, then you could have yourself a sale.

Bedroom - Personal Items Removed

Aim to have your home looking as clean and bright as possible. Deal with the most obvious problems first: fix cracks, peeling paint, masonry or carpentry in bad condition. Be wary of spending large amounts of money on renovations or additions hoping to obtain a higher price for your home. Spend only the amount needed to make your home appealing.

Often the least expensive way to do basic improvements is to do them yourself—things like minor repairs and a coat of paint may be all that’s required. Touch up any paint that looks tired, scratched or stained with neutral colors such as off-white or very light beige. Replace carpeting if it is very worn or an unusual color. Remove curtains to let in the maximum amount of light. If you need electrical or plumbing work done, leave it to the professionals but take care of it anyway.

While these have been poor years for home sales, successful sellers are getting more knowledgeable about taking the steps necessary to ensure that their home will show in its best light. And yes, we said that selling your home can be a stressful experience, but you have a lot of good company. Nearly everyone who has a home to sell these days is following the hints and tips offered on TV, by their real estate agent, and set out in books and articles. You will get much more of what you want if you follow their lead.

About the Author

Lois A. Vitt, PhD

Lois A. Vitt is a housing expert and financial sociologist, and is the author of “10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling”, the first book to demystify the psychological forces behind our housing decisions. To learn more about Lois and this book, visit

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