How much should I sell my home for?

October 27, 2018 - 4 min read

In this article:

How much should I sell my home for? Everyone contemplating a home sale asks this question. Because the money is often the whole point.

  • You can’t get more than it’s worth, so determine a realistic range
  • Decide how motivated you are (can you hold out for the high end, or do you want to pull the trigger quickly?)
  • Determine how much work you’ll need to do to get top dollar, then decide if you want to do that much

There are several ways to determine your property value, ranging from easy and free (and less accurate) to complete appraisals from licensed providers.

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What’s your home (really) worth?

It’s ideal to get the price you want when you sell a home. However, overpricing your home is the biggest mistake you can make when selling. There are four ways to estimate your property value and avoid this:

  • Online automated valuation models (AVM) are easy to find but can be off by 10 to 30 percent
  • A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) by a real estate agent should be part of any marketing presentation they provide when seeking your business
  • A BPO, (Broker’s Price Opinion) is like a mini appraisal and only licensed brokers can do them
  • A report from a licensed appraiser is the most accurate, but also the most expensive

Getting an appraisal upfront may be helpful when justifying your price to an agent or buyer, but it’s not cheap.

How not to answer, “How much should I sell my home for?”

Know from the start you can’t get whatever price you want for your home if it’s not realistic. You’re also unlikely to be able to include the total cost of improvements you’ve made — many don’t add their full cost to your home’s value.

Home pricing is a business decision predicated on how much your home type sells for in your market. That means actual selling (not listing) prices of recent sales of property similar to yours and in your neighborhood. And it depends on trends and demand. You’ll price differently in a buyers’ market than in one where sellers hold sway.

Related: What does a real estate agent do to sell your home?

So, it’s imperative you take the emotion out of the pricing process. Get accurate professional insight or conduct your own research and rely on the facts you learn as the basis for your home’s price.

If you’re not selling your house yourself, keep in mind real estate agents want to sell quickly more than they want to squeeze a few more thousand from a willing buyer. That’s fine if a quick sale is your priority more than a higher price.

Overpricing your property means it won’t sell quickly and you’ll end up reducing your price anyway.

How fast do you need to sell?

This question is essential to consider when asking yourself, “How much should I sell my home for?” If you don’t need to sell your home right away, then pricing your home on the higher end of the range for your home type might be a strong strategy. Put your home on the market during the best time to sell in your area and see what offers you get.

However, if you need to sell immediately, price your house to sell. That means setting at the lower end of the range for homes of your type in your area. This goes double if it has defects you can’t fix, or lacks amenities that other houses in your area have and that buyers expect.

Related: Selling a home (When should you reduce the asking price?)

The longer your home is on the market, the harder it will be to sell — since no buyer wants a house that others keep rejecting. Buyers can lose interest in your home after 21 days, forcing your price lower. You’ll also pay all the costs of owning your home longer, including additional mortgage payments and all expenses related to marketing the house.

Weigh all these factors when you’re asking, “How much should I sell my house for?”

Getting a better price: Do the work

Order an inspection and see if you have major or minor defects to address before buyers see them.

But, don’t consider repairs alone. Understand what buyers in your neighborhood want and expect. If everyone has three-car garages and you have two, you won’t get top dollar.

Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs Value Report makes it clear that some of the least-expensive improvements add the highest percentage of value. It also indicates buyer preferences in your region.

Then decide if it’s worth the time and investment you’ll make to get your selling price, especially if you’ll do significant renovations.

Related: How to stage your home yourself

These aren’t the only two factors that go into deciding the amount of work necessary to get your house sold for the price you want. The marketing effort you’ll undertake comes with monetary and time investments, too.

Much of that involves just getting and keeping it positioned to sell. That means staging, pictures, listings, flyers, postcards, and the costs of allowing regular open houses. Unless your home is perfectly-located, in pristine condition with all the amenities buyers want, you’re going to spend money to sell the home.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you

Dahna Chandler
Authored By: Dahna Chandler
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Dahna Chandler is an award-winning business and finance journalist with 20 years of experience writing for major media outlets and top blogs. She is passionate about helping wealth-minded people thrive financially by reaching their wealth objectives.