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Pricing your home for what it’s worth

I have to admit, I totally understand why so many sellers are confused when it comes to pricing their homes for sale. With so much information from so many different sources, it’s tempting to want to choose your own price. By the time they call a realtor in to put their home on the market, most sellers have done just that. Unfortunately, that price is usually not an appropriate one.

For example, the popular website Zillow is great for a ballpark figure, but many people believe that a “Zestimate” is the price their home is actually worth. It is not. Cory Hopkins, Zillow’s public relations manager for data, told me: “A Zestimate is a starting point and should be used in conjunction with guidance from local real estate professionals who understand the market and know your property.”

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Additionally, when your friends find out you are selling, they all seem to have an opinion. Of course, their price is almost always higher than what your home is actually worth. And when everyone tells you your home is worth more, you tend to believe it. Having an interest in real estate does not make someone an expert.

Although pricing a home is not an exact science, there are very specific steps realtors take to arrive at the most accurate value. The first is to walk through your home. How can someone give you a price if they haven’t been inside your house?

We consider what you’ve updated. We factor in room size, the condition of your property, and more. These are all essential factors that help us calculate your home’s value. Then we use current data to compare your home with recently sold properties as close in proximity as possible. We look for the most similar style for comparison, adding and subtracting for amenities such as location and updates.

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Last, we consider the market and factors such as current interest rates and the number of buyers out looking right now. We take into consideration how many other homes are on the market in your price range competing for these buyers. We consider, verify, and analyze all of this information before drawing a conclusion as to a price that we think a buyer would probably pay for your home in today’s market.

Don’t be confused by all of the conflicting information you will find on cable TV shows, various websites, and especially from your friends. A realtor or appraiser is your best bet for an accurate opinion of your home’s value.


Marjorie Youngren is a broker at RE/MAX Leading Edge in Lynnfield. E-mail your questions to Address@Globe.com.