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Make Sure the Price is Right
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 • Posted November 4, 2008 10:00 PM

As a seller, you can set the price of your house as high as you want. The challenge is to avoid going so high as to drive away potential buyers.

Homebuyers can adjust many of their requirements for a new place to live. They might make do with two bedrooms instead of three, or be willing to live five miles farther from the office. Few buyers, however, enjoy much flexibility when it comes to the amount of money they can spend on a home. No matter how great your house is, many buyers will dismiss it without even a drive-by if your asking price is out of whack with the market.

How can you find out what's a fair price for your house? I'm glad you asked, because it's harder than it looks.

Your house is different

Several Web sites offer to calculate the market value of your property. You don't even have to leave your chair. Enter a few particulars about your home into their systems, and the sites spit out what your home is worth. That was fast, right?

While online estimates of your home's market value give you an idea of what price range your house falls into, it's prudent to consult other sources before you set a firm price. Estimates vary from site to site, and although each site uses various data sources and even complicated algorithms, a Web site can't account for factors that make your home unique.

A Texas Realtor can visit and assess your home, telling you what you can sell it for.

Personal touch

Texas Realtors are trained real estate professionals who analyze actual sales-price data and perform solid market research in your community. In addition, your Texas Realtor can account for local factors like:

* Is it a buyer's or seller's market?

* What's happening in your neighborhood?

* What terms and conditions are other sellers offering?

She can tell you if the pool that boosted your value with the online calculator will actually make your home harder to sell. Or maybe she knows that your wonderful kitchen remodel is unlike anything in your neighborhood.

Your Texas Realtor can also take into account personal issues like how anxious you are to sell. If I were selling, I'd like someone to tell me about how fast my house would sell based on which price point.

She can help you decide which quick fixes will net you the most return. Before you paint the exterior or re-tile the bathroom, ask your Texas Realtor if it's worth it.

A crucial first step

Setting a fair asking price is perhaps the most important step you can take toward selling your home. Set a price much lower than what your home is really worth and, well, you can figure out why that's bad.

Overpricing your home can cost you money as well. A high price can cause your home to sit on the market forever, forcing you to eventually reduce the price even lower than had you originally priced it right. Also, overpriced properties can discourage potential buyers, who may not even view the property if they think they can't afford it.

You can set the price of your home as high as you want. But knowing what the market will bear and pricing your home accordingly will save you time and aggravation, and you'll probably make more money. It's not as easy as it looks, so consider hiring a Texas Realtor to help price your home right.

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