2 Things You Need to Know to Properly Price Your Home

In today’s housing market, home prices are increasing at a slower pace (3.7%) than they have over the last eight years (6-7%). However, they are still are above historical norms. Low supply of listed homes and high demand from buyers has pushed prices to rise rapidly.

In the mind of the homeowner, annual home price appreciation over 6% has become the new normal. This becomes a challenge when a homeowner looks to refinance or sell their home, as the expectation of what the homeowner believes the home should be worth does not always line up with the bank’s appraisal.

Every month, the Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) measures the disparity between what a homeowner seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth and what an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home is.

Over the last five months, the gap between the homeowner’s opinion and the bank’s appraisal has widened to -0.78%. This is important for homeowners to note, as even a 0.78% difference in appraisal can mean thousands of dollars that a buyer or seller would have to come up with at closing (depending on the price of the home).

The chart below illustrates the changes in home price estimates over the last 12 months.

2 Things You Need to Know to Properly Price Your Home | MyKCM

While the appraisal gap widens, another trend is also becoming more common.

According to realtor.com“the share of homes which had their prices cut increased by 2% compared to last year”. Thirty-seven out of the 50 largest US housing markets saw an increase in overall price reductions.

In today’s market, you need an expert agent who can help price your house right from the start. Homeowners who make the mistake of overpricing their homes will eventually have to drop the price. This leaves buyers wondering if the price drop was caused by something wrong with the house. In reality, nothing is wrong- the price was just too high!

Bottom Line

If you are planning on selling your house in today’s market, let’s get together to set your listing price properly from the start!

Click here for a FREE home valuation.

Selling Your Home? Thinking of “Trying” The Market?

Price-It-Right-STM- Keeping Current Matter.jpgWhich strategy works best – pricing BELOW the market, pricing AT the market, or pricing ABOVE the market just to see if you can get your price?

Well, that all depends. On YOUR market. If you’d like to talk strategy and find out about YOUR SPECIFIC market, contact The Belt Team. In the meantime, here’s some great info from Keeping Current Matters. We happen to think in many cases it makes a LOT of sense. (Note: Not ALL markets are the same. There are NO absolutes. Call us at 703-242-3975 to find out about YOURS.)


In today’s market, where demand is outpacing supply in many regions of the country, pricing a house is one of the biggest challenges real estate professionals face. Sellers often want to price their home higher than recommended, and many agents go along with the idea to keep their clients happy. However, the best agents realize that telling the homeowner the truth is more important than getting the seller to like them.

There is no “later.”

Sellers sometimes think, “If the home doesn’t sell for this price, I can always lower it later.” However, research proves that homes that experience a listing price reduction sit on the market longer, ultimately selling for less than similar homes.

John Knight, recipient of the University Distinguished Faculty Award from theEberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific, actually did research on the cost (in both time and money) to a seller who priced high at the beginning and then lowered their price. His article, Listing Price, Time on Market and Ultimate Selling Price, published in Real Estate Economics revealed:

“Homes that underwent a price revision sold for less, and the greater the revision, the lower the selling price. Also, the longer the home remains on the market, the lower its ultimate selling price.”

Additionally, the “I’ll lower the price later” approach can paint a negative image in buyers’ minds. Each time a price reduction occurs, buyers can naturally think,“Something must be wrong with that house.” Then when a buyer does make an offer, they low-ball the price because they see the seller as “highly motivated.”Pricing it right from the start eliminates these challenges.

Don’t build “negotiation room” into the price.

Many sellers say that they want to price their home high in order to have“negotiation room.” But, what this actually does is lower the number of potential buyers that see the house. And we know that limiting demand like this will negatively impact the sales price of the house.

Not sure about this? Think of it this way: when a buyer is looking for a home online (as they are doing more and more often), they put in their desired price range. If your seller is looking to sell their house for $400,000, but lists it at $425,000 to build in “negotiation room,” any potential buyers that search in the $350k-$400k range won’t even know your listing is available, let alone come see it!

One great way to see this is with the chart below. The higher you price your home over its market value, the less potential buyers will actually see your home when searching.

Selling Your Home? Make Sure the Price Is Right! | Simplifying The Market

A better strategy would be to price it properly from the beginning and bring in multiple offers. This forces these buyers to compete against each other for the“right” to purchase your house.

Look at it this way: if you only receive one offer, you are set up in an adversarial position against the prospective buyer. If, however, you have multiple offers, you have two or more buyers fighting to please you. Which will result in a better selling situation?

The Price is Right

Great pricing comes down to truly understanding the real estate dynamics in your neighborhood. Let’s get together to discuss what is happening in the housing market and how it applies to your home.


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For more questions or for a specific update on YOUR neighborhood – call Terry Belt & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a FREE Buyer or Seller Consultation. Don’t you deserve the BEST Realtor in Northern Virginia?!

The Dangers of Overpricing Your Home & Other Truths You NEED TO Know

As professionals in the Northern Virginia real estate market for more than 40 years, we have developed a reputation for integrity & truth telling – even when it’s not to our advantage.

The Belt Team Values

How could telling the truth not work in our favor?

One example would be when we’re showing homes to a Buyer. And the Buyer falls in love with the house. We can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice. Sometimes it’s even love at first sight.

But part of our job is to make sure the Buyer has ALL the facts before making a  decision that could affect their future forever. Sometimes that means giving them information they may not want to hear – about potential resale issues for example. Buyers from other parts of the country may not care whether a home has a basement. But Buyers in Northern VA DO care. And so homes with finished basements are often much more saleable (and sell for more) than homes without basements. If the Buyer is a relocation client, and likely to relocate again in 3 years, they need to know this. Telling them about a resale issue when they just fell in love isn’t easy. And losing a potential sale is not easy for us either. But it’s in their best interest to do so. And for us, it’s always “client first”.

Another example where telling the truth may not work in our favor is when we are interviewing with potential Sellers. Some Sellers believe they should ask each agent for their recommended pricing and select the real estate agent who suggests the highest price or is at least willing to go along with their ‘dream’ price.” (Note: This is a myth! You should always select an agent on his/her credentials. Market value is a separate issue.)

So when we tell the truth of what’s happening in the market, and the Seller is not ready to hear it, we sometimes find the Seller chooses another agent to try to sell their home. (We call this “Jack Nicholson Syndrome”. Remember his line in “A Few Good Men”? – “You can’t handle the truth!”)

But it’s not unusual for some of these Sellers to come back to us 90 days later when their listing expires and their home is not sold. We always wish they had been ready for the truth sooner, because the longer your home is on the market, the less it usually sells for!

Never let an agent “buy” your listing.

It’’s tempting to “tell you what you want to hear”, but integrity and a professional price opinion are in your best interests. No one has a crystal ball & pricing can validly have some variability, but pricing realistically from the start is one of the strongest tools you have in winning the “Sales Game”! Listen to your agent’’s professional input and recommendations. Then make an educated decision and let the agent get on top of things at the start. Many agents will overprice a home in order to get the listing… and then ask for a price change down the line. You should insist on working with an agent with a proven track record. Ask the agent not only for a market analysis to determine the realistic amount your home will bear in today’’s market, but also ask them what their pulse is on the market. Then price your home accordingly. Overpricing a home is the worst mistake you can make! Statistics prove that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price it will sell for.

This graph illustrates what happens when Sellers do not price to “market”:

The chart above shows what happens in a “stable market”. Markets that are “shifting” (such as ours) find Sellers who overprice in even worse positions.

Dangers Of Overpricing Your Home Dangers Of Overpricing Your Home Dangers Of Overpricing Your Home Dangers Of Overpricing Your Home

Here are just SOME of the Dangers of Overpricing Your Home:

  • You will lose the excitement that a new listing generates.
  • You will lose the most qualified prospects.
  • Overpricing helps sell other, more competitively priced properties first.
  • Your home may become stale on the market.
  • If you do get an offer, the contract may fall through because of appraisal problems.
  • You lose a strong negotiating position when your house is on the market for a long time, both financially and mentally.

(Click through if you would like a FREE estimate of your home’s value or if you would like a FREE Buyer Consult, just fill out our scheduling form here.)

Now you know why we tell the truth. It may not always be in OUR best interests. But it IS in our clients’ best interests. Our goal is to maximize the return for our Sellers, and minimize the time and inconvenience of having their home on the market. And the best way to do that is with the facts.

Telling the truth is not always easy. But it’s the right thing to do. Our clients depend on it!

(Click here for more info about The Belt Team’s MVVBP – Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs & Perspective. This is our blue print for how we do business.)