No I am not saying don't sell your home to a licensed agent. If an agent wants to buy your home and it is a fair offer go for it.
What I am saying is don't choose the agent to represent you based soley on which one tells you that you can sell your home for the most money. If you say I want to list my home for $X and they simply agree this is not a good sign. This could mean that the agent is willing to get your listing by agreeing to your price with a plan to convince you to reduce the price later. In the industry this is often called "buying the listing". A good agent will show you a market analysis of your home's value based on what is currently on the market, what has recently sold and what has failed to sell. They will also be able to share with you what homes in your area they have visited in person and give you detailed reasons why they believe your home should be priced above or below the comparable homes.
These reasons can include but are certainly not limited to:
- Proximity of the comparable homes to your home
- Main road or side street
- Neighborhood - Comps in the same general area or neighborhood are stronger than comps that are in a different neighborhood or father away.
- Is the comparable's neighborhood considered more desirable or less than the one your home is in.
Lot size and usability
- Is the yard fenced?
- Is the lot flat or sloped?
- Is it landscaped or does it need work
- Is the lot bigger or smaller
- What type of parking is available?
Condition of the exterior and interior of the comparable properties in contrast to your home
- Which home has the most upgrades, yours or the comparable's?
- What is the master bedroom like?, Master bath
- Number of bedrooms and baths
- Condition of the kitchen
- Does the home have a home office
- Is the design open or traditional
- What type of flooring does the home have?
- Are the ceilings vaulted or low?
- Does the property have a view?
- Is it a waterfront property
- Are there neighborhood restrictions
- What are the homeowners dues
- For larger properties are there outbuildings and what is the condition and use of the outbuilding?
- Year built
- Windows and insulation type
- Heating system
- AC or no AC
- Paved drive
- Neighborhood condition. Are the neighbors keeping their homes up?
If an agent simply agrees to list the property for what you want or "need" to sell it for they are not necessarily doing you any favors. Statistically overpriced listings stay on the market longer and eventually sell for less. If you are planning on pricing your home well above the competition you need to ask yourself "If I were the buyer would I pick this home or one of my competitors?" Detach yourself emotionally from your home and answer honestly. If you would pick one of the other homes you house is priced too high and will likely linger on the market and eventually sell for less than it would have if it were priced competitively from the start.
John L. Scott - North Bend