How to price your house in this crazy market

Everybody knows that it is the craziest seller’s market ever.

Everybody knows houses are selling for over the list price.

What a seller does with this information is often all wrong. Sellers think they need to price their house as high as they can to get the most out of it. That is totally wrong today.

Today the list price is really just an opener, similar to an auction. Imagine if you went to an auction and the auctioneer began with the number that would be the same as the sale price at the end of the auction? How many bidders would you have? Maybe one? Maybe none? This is effectively what a seller does when they start too high.

I showed a house a few days ago that was listed for $185k, which is pretty high for what it was. There was a line of people waiting to get in to see it. This morning I got an email from the listing agent that they had “An” offer. A few days on the market and they get one offer from all those showings. Had they started at something more reasonable like $175k, they might have ended up at $185k or more. Why? Because buyers are used to going over the asking price these days. When you start at the number they would be willing to pay, they assume they would need to go over that to get the house and are not willing to do so. To a buyer, a list price of $185k means expect to pay $190-195k or more.

The best strategy today is to price the house in line with the most recent comps and create a multiple offer situation. The only way to take advantage of the buyer frenzy is to have two or more people trying to outbid each other for your house. Pricing it high and only having one buyer would be just like going to an auction where there is only one bidder in the room. This is why the success of an auction depends on having maximum exposure for a brief period and then setting a deadline for the sale.

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