The longer your home is on the market, the more money you’re spending on it. There’s no two ways about it; taxes and mortgage payments don’t go away until your home is officially signed over to another party. What’s worse, if you’ve already purchased another home, you’ll be responsible for making double payments for as long as you own both properties.
We’ve watched it unfold time and time again in the Seattle area. Sellers push for the highest price possible and end up waiting so long that their higher sale price doesn’t offset the extra payments they made. In order to avoid this situation, it’s important to price a home appropriately. Here are a few of the factors that we consider when pricing your home to sell as fast as possible:
No Two Homes Are Alike.
We look at other homes we’ve sold to get a better idea of a fair listing price. It’s a neat little trick, but not foolproof. No two homes are alike, and little differences can affect pricing.
The house down the road with the same square footage and number of rooms sold for $500,000. Yours should, too, right? It’s not so simple. Perhaps their home has two master bathrooms or a rooftop deck, while your home shines in other ways. It’s not a knock on your home. It’s just a matter of which features will be most attractive to the buyers who tour your home.
The same thing goes for home layout, age, and condition. If your home is new, it can generally sell for a higher price. The untouched 1880s Victorian down the road might have the same number of square feet, more bedrooms, more bathrooms, and an enormous kitchen, but its charms may be lost on buyers who prefer sleek modern finishes.
A practical layout also helps. An office right next to a child’s bedroom isn’t going to win many people over. Likewise, a main entrance that leads past the home’s bedrooms may be a turnoff for buyers.
The Local Market Fluctuates.
We could sell the same house a few years apart and see drastically different sale prices. In 2005, your home was worth much more than it was in 2008. That’s an extreme example, taking into account the subprime mortgage crisis, but the concept applies anytime you compare home prices from one period to the next.
When the market is strong, it’s because the demand for homes is high. This causes home prices to rise, which is what we are currently seeing in our local market. Seattle is experiencing a growth period with a significant influx of new residents. Because of this increase need for homes, your property’s market value today would be higher than it was five or ten years ago.
This seems obvious, but living in a good neighborhood brings home values up, and a bad one will bring values down. Likewise, a house that is closer to the road is less desirable than a house that is set back on its lot.
Taxes and zoning laws also hugely affect home values, both of which depend on the location of the property. Two homes in the same neighborhood may fall under different zoning laws, which often appeals to housing developers. Your neighbor’s zoning may not allow construction of an apartment building, but yours does. That’s going to result in an increase in your property’s value.
Neighborhoods are sometimes split into different tax districts, as well. If your home pays higher taxes than the one for sale down the road, we’ll need to lower the sale price accordingly. This may provide buyers with an incentive that negates the higher taxes.
The importance of pricing your home appropriately cannot be overstated. If you’re selling a home in Seattle, contact us to request a personalized home value report.