12 tips to sell your home for top dollar
Ready to sell your home? You may have an ideal amount you’re hoping to sell your home for, but it’s important to consider several crucial factors before you set your home’s list price.
In this article, you’ll learn what a list price is and how to set it to get the best, and highest offers for your home.
- A home’s list price is a marketing tool that a seller and their real estate agent use to position a home on the market
- Before setting your list price, speak with your real estate agent and look at the competitive market analysis they give you
- Sell your house at top dollar by using smart pricing strategies
In this article
What is a list price?
A list price is the amount a seller asks for their home. It’s also called an asking price.
A list price positions a home on the market because the amount a seller asks determines what kinds of buyers the home will attract and what other homes it’ll be compared to. A seller and their real estate agent choose the price based on the home’s size, condition, and location, as well as an analysis of nearby comparable homes. This number also depends on the supply and demand for homes in their current market.
How do I set my home’s list price?
Choosing a list price for your home is a complex decision. You may know the amount you want to get for your home, but if buyers aren’t willing to pay it, then your dream price doesn’t mean much.
That’s why it’s important to follow the advice of your real estate agent and understand how to price a property. Here are 12 effective pricing strategies you can use to sell your home for top dollar.
Consult your real estate agent
Setting your home’s list price isn’t something you should do alone. First, find a good listing real estate agent and ask for their professional opinion. They will have a much better idea of how much your home could sell for.
They should also do a comparative market analysis (CMA), comparing your property to other similar recently-sold homes nearby to help you arrive at a more precise price.
Use a home pricing calculator
Home pricing calculators are a good place to start when considering how to price your home, because they can give you a rough estimate of its current market value.
For example, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has a house price calculator that estimates how much your home is currently worth, based on how much you paid for it and recent appreciation in your area.
To use it, simply select your state, your city or region, when you purchased your house, when you’re selling it, and how much you originally paid for your home. The calculator will then give you an estimated value within your state as well as within your specific region.
Assess your location
Now that you have a general idea of what your house is worth, it’s time to get more specific. Analyze your city and, more specifically, your neighborhood. Ask yourself:
- What are comparable homes in my area selling for?
- How good are the schools nearby?
- What’s the crime rate in my area?
- Is my neighborhood clean and quiet? Or cluttered and noisy?
- Do my neighbors participate in activities that might not be legal?
Typically, the higher the quality of your area is, the higher you can price your home.
Look at your home’s square footage
Your home’s size has a big impact on the price. Your 2,000-square-foot house will be worth more than a similar home that’s only 1,500 square feet.
Calculate the square footage of your lot as well. A home on an acre of land will typically sell for much more than one sitting on a 10,000-square-foot lot.
Consider your home’s condition
Have you meticulously maintained your home over the years? Or does it need significant repairs? Your home’s overall condition will greatly determine how high your list price should be. Homes with higher curb appeal typically sell for 7% more than unattractive homes.
The following issues can negatively affect your home’s value:
- Foundational or structural problems
- Roof damage
- Mold or bug infestations
- A lawn overgrown with bushes and weeds
- Evidence of water damage on walls, ceilings, or floors
- Holes in the walls, broken doors, or chipped cabinets
- Dirty, chipped paint
- Signs of rot on the external siding
Factor in home upgrades and renovations
Are any of your home’s features outdated? Or have you recently renovated or upgraded certain areas?
- A master suite addition
- A major kitchen remodel
- A bathroom addition or remodel
- A roof replacement
- A window replacement
Learn more about the top features that can increase your home’s value in 2022.
Analyze the current market
How high your home’s list price should be will depend on what type of market you’re in. For example, in a seller’s market, a seller may have multiple home offers, and will likely accept a bid that’s above the asking price.
On the other hand, in a buyer’s market, there are more homes available for sale than there are buyers. Pricing too high in a buyer’s market puts your home at risk of sitting on the market for a long time, causing buyers to wonder what’s wrong with it.
The last type of market is a neutral market. This is when the number of houses and buyers is fairly balanced.
You can determine what market you’re in by analyzing real estate trends in your area, but it’s always a good idea to ask your real estate agent about how the current market will affect your home’s list price.
Use the ‘99 rule’
Have you ever wondered why so many price tags have odd numbers like $9.99 or $999? Why not just round it up to an even $10 or $1,000?
Research shows this ’99 pricing strategy’ leads to more sales. For many people, $9.99 feels less expensive than $10, even though it’s just a one-cent difference.
You don’t have to limit yourself to 9s, though. Research also shows that numbers other than 9—such as 4 or 7—stand out to a buyer more and implies that the seller has put a lot of thought into their price.
You can use this strategy when setting your list price, too. Instead of asking for $400,000 for your home, try pricing it at $399,000 or $397,000.
Price slightly lower (to start a bidding war)
Did you know that lowering your home’s list price a bit can increase your final sales price? It’s true! Choosing a slightly lower list price often catches buyers’ attention and can even spark a fierce bidding war.
Let’s say you decide to list your home for $475,000 after analyzing your local market and considering your home’s size and condition. You may get a few buyers to bid on it—perhaps at or even a bit above $475,000.
But if you list your home at $454,000, multiple buyers will likely recognize it as a steal and make competitive offers. Before you know it, buyers are outbidding each other and you sell your home for a final price of $493,000.
Keep in mind this is just a hypothetical example, and this strategy is only a tool. You can’t guarantee a bidding war, but you can set yourself up for one.
Keep the list price simple
When pricing your home to sell, don’t get too fancy with your numbers. Prices like $387,000 are intriguing, but seeing a home listed for $385,441 is just confusing. Does that extra $1 really matter?
It’s best to keep your list price simple and compelling.
Consider buyers’ price ranges
People often set a price range when browsing online listings. If you price your home just outside of your ideal range, you could miss out on many potential buyers.
For example, if your home could go for anywhere between $380,000 and $402,000, consider listing it at $399,000. This way, buyers who have set their pricing maximum at $400,000 still see your listing.
Lower the price if you need to
It’s okay to lower your home’s list price if you realize it’s too high. Reducing it can even capture new attention and incite buyers to make a bid because they feel they’re getting a great deal. In 2021, sellers who reduced their list price accepted an offer within an average of only 19 days.
Wrapping up your home’s list price
There’s no easy way to determine your home’s list price. But if you consult with your real estate agent, consider your local market, accurately assess your home’s condition and location, and use smart pricing strategies, you’re ready to start pricing your home to sell at a top rate.
Do homes sell for asking price?
It depends on the current market. In a seller’s market, it’s much easier to sell a home for asking price or above. For example, in 2021, the average home’s sale price was a median of 100% of the final listing price, according to the National Association of Realtors. In a buyer’s market, though, it’s not uncommon for homes to sell at or below the asking price.
Can a seller change the list price?
Yes, a seller can change the list price. A seller may do so if they haven’t received a favorable bid within a certain amount of time. The more eager they are to sell quickly, the more willing they may be to decrease the home price and encourage more bids.
Although it’s less common, a seller may also increase their home’s list price after their listing has been published. Sometimes sellers do this after an offer has fallen through. They republish the listing at a higher price so they have more room to negotiate.
Can I list my house for as much as I want?
You could do that, but you run the risk of not getting a reasonable offer because you overpriced your home. It’s important to accurately assess your property, its location, your current market, and recent home sales in your neighborhood to determine a strategic list price. Be sure to consult with your real estate agent during this process.
How do you find the list price?
As a buyer, you can find a home’s list price online if it’s available on an online listing. You can also ask your real estate agent to show you the asking prices of listings that match your criteria.
As a seller, you can find your home’s ideal list price by looking at the competitive market analysis your real estate agent provides. This analysis will help you determine the best dollar amount in light of your home’s size, location, and condition.
About the author: Jenny Rose Spaudo is a freelance copywriter and content strategist specializing in real estate, PropTech, and finance. She’s written for clients like Knock, PropStream, and Edward Jones, and her writing has appeared in publications such as Business Insider and GOBankingRates. Visit her website and connect with her on LinkedIn.