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How to properly price your house for sale as the market cools, according to real estate experts

July 18, 2022, 3:58 PM UTC
Female real estate agent carrying document while walking into house
"If you’re coming onto the market, you can’t act like nothing has happened in the last three months."
The Good Brigade/Getty Images

While many sellers have been more or less able to name their asking price over the past two years, that’s starting to change as the housing market begins to cool in certain markets.

Although inventory remains low, higher interest rates are slowing demand somewhat. That means the days of multiple bids over asking and crazy buyer concessions may be coming to an end.

And with a cooler market, there’s less pressure on buyers “to jump on the first thing that became available,” says Nicole Buchaud, an economist at Zillow.

“We’re not in a complete 180-degree market, but we’re starting the cool off,” says Buchaud. “Not every seller is having to negotiate something below asking price, but we’re seeing more and more cut prices.”

So how can sellers make sure they’re getting the best price for their home? Some real estate truths never change: curb appeal, location, and condition are always top of mind, says Scott Durkin, CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. But right now price is particularly important.

“We have a saying: ‘If it’s still sitting there, there are three reasons,'” says Durkin. “‘Price, price, and price.'”

You don’t want to price your home too low, but price it too high “can take the wind out of your sail,” he says. A real estate agent can help you figure out the best price for your neighborhood. But it’s also good to look at what similar properties near you have sold for in recent weeks.

“If you’re coming onto the market, you can’t act like nothing has happened in the last three months,” Durkin says, given interest rate increases and growing recession fears. “Don’t be overly aspirational…It’s very hard to go down on a price. It’s much easier to go up. And the market will bring you there.”

Aesthetics also matter. If you’re planning to sell in the near future, Buchaud recommends getting an early start on fixing up your home. Painting and landscaping can take time—especially with supply chain disruptions, she says. You want to make sure you have time to get those projects done before you list.

Finally, if your home is on the market, and you’re not getting much interest, you may want to update the photos on your online listing. Invest in high-quality images, but be selective, says Durkin. Sometimes too many photos can dissuade buyers from coming and experiencing the magic of the home in person.

“Do something that gives the listing new life,” he says. But “don’t give away the kitchen sink.”

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