According to data reported by the Saint John Real Estate Board, June 2019 residential sales in the Saint John area were the highest recorded in over a decade, and the year-to-date residential sales for the first half of 2019 saw an increase of 14.9% over the same period in 2018.* If you’re getting ready to list your home, this is good news. But, favourable market conditions is not the only thing that determines whether your home will sell. From my years of experience selling and buying homes for clients, I know that the pricing, the condition and the location of a home are key determinants of its sale. These three elements always come together to create the packaging in which a home is marketed. Although the condition and location of a home are critical factors, setting a competitive, realistic list price trumps all.
You have no doubt heard the adage, “First impressions are everything”. Well, it certainly applies to the importance of setting an attractive asking price for a home right out of the gate; in fact, it’s critical to a timely sale. You don’t want potential buyers to be turned off by an inflated list price. You want to attract their attention as soon as your home enters the market – those first few weeks are vital. Don’t inflate the price of your home thinking you have time on your side and that you can sit on it. This strategy rarely works. If your home is already listed and you’re not having showings or you’re receiving consistent feedback that it isn’t competitively priced, don’t hesitate to adjust the list price. Be decisive on this front and act in a timely manner, because time is of the essence. You want to avoid your home sitting on the market for an extended period of time. Also, if you’re wondering how much room to leave for negotiation when setting a price, leave some, but not too much. Again, be realistic — neither party wants to feel as though he or she is overreaching.
There isn’t a set formula for determining that all-important asking price. It requires careful consideration. An experienced REALTOR® takes several things into account before identifying an appropriate list price, including preparing a comparative market analysis. This provides sellers with an idea of the value of their home relative to others in their area. As part of this analysis, the agent should study past sales in the neighbourhood and should show their client comparable current listings. The current listings give an idea of the competition. Remember, however, that these are homes that have yet to sell. Their sale prices and how long they will sit on the market are still unknown.
The condition of a home plays into the list price without question. An agent should thoroughly assess the condition before recommending a list price. Has the home been well maintained and cared for? Does it present well? Finally, there’s no doubt that the location of a home is one of the most important factors when settling on a list price. Proximity to schools, restaurants, hospitals and other amenities, as well as views and property sizes, typically play into the desirability of a location; however, it can also be unique to an area or to individuals.
No home is perfect, and buyers will almost always find something to object to when considering a home to purchase; however, if it’s attractively priced, it’s interesting how quickly many of those imperfections will disappear.
*Based on data from the Canadian Real Estate Association as reported through the Saint John Real Estate Board’s MLS.
By: Don Ketchum