These days there are tons of resources at the average homeowner’s disposal, so you don’t necessarily have to rely on your real estate agent to take care of everything for you anymore. And although you may want the expert advice and inside information that this professional can provide when it actually comes time to buy or sell property, you can do a lot of the leg work yourself and save some money in the process. For example, you can watch tutorials online that will teach you how to do easy home improvement projects designed to make your property more appealing to prospective buyers. Or you might use popular MLS sites (like Zillow and Trulia, for example) to set search parameters that help you to find new properties that meet your needs. And when it comes to determining the price to list your home at, there are a few forms of input that can help you to decide.
You’ll want to start by considering your own criteria where your listing is concerned. You obviously want to make some money on the transaction or at least break even, so your asking price should reflect what you paid for the property, what you still owe on the mortgage, and any additional monies owed for home equity lines, liens, or a second mortgage. On the other hand, you should also tabulate the amount of money you’ve put into the property for upgrades, additions, or anything else that should increase the overall value for a buyer. Unfortunately, these factors may not hold much water if you are under the gun to sell for some reason, such as an imminent foreclosure or the fact that you’ve already purchased another home contingent on selling yours.
The next thing you’ll want to find out is what the county assessor has valued your home at. Since your property tax is based on this number, it is generally calculated annually, and many counties send homeowners a yearly letter that tells them how much their property is worth for the purposes of taxation. However, you can also talk to a realtor or lender to get this information, or you can simply use the aforementioned MLS sites to get a rough estimate. The thing to remember is that the numbers listed on sites like Zillow may not be truly accurate, especially if the market is in transition, as it frequently is.
That said, these sites can give you a lot of additional data that could be useful when it comes to selecting a price for you home. For example, you can look at what other homes in your area are listed at or what they have recently sold for. When you see how consumers are responding to listings similar to your own you can begin to solidify a reasonable price. You should look at historical data for listings, including how long they stayed on the market, whether they dropped their price or delisted and relisted, and the amount they ultimately made compared to their original asking price. All of these pieces of the puzzle can come together with a little research into real estate for sale in your area, helping you to come up with a listing strategy (and price) that are going to move your property and perhaps deliver more than you ask for.