If I had a nickel for every time I heard “not gonna give it away!” I’d have enough to retire. That expression always comes from the homeowner based on whispers and third-hand information, rarely from actual sales data. More often than not, homeowners divine the price they think their house is worth, perhaps to recover renovation costs or a refinanced mortgage, and that becomes their target sales price. A lot of this is understandable, since owners may have a lot wrapped up in their property, both financial and emotional. So, it’s to be expected to some degree.
Still, the market is cold and unforgiving. Buyers don’t care about the seller’s personal logic in arriving at a price. Enter the buyer’s real estate agent. Now, reality will reveal the comparable sales and a buyer-offer price in line with the market. Even with that empirical data, there are variables that keep the final value less than totally objective. Size, condition, age, curb appeal, and of course, location are all very important factors affecting value. This is why relying on an experienced and diligent real estate agent is so important. Even if a seller has access to actual sales comp information, there are adjustments to be made to bring them closer to the “subject” property. And then there’s the occasional rogue sale which is clearly an outlier, skewing the entire picture.
Anything that sits on the market for a long time has only one thing wrong with it – the price. Sure, there are bargain hunters, and there always will be. But, without a professional to bring reality into the value picture, you won’t know if an offer is truly a lowball one or one that’s right on the money. In this market, lowballers are rare, and full-price offers (and higher) are common. Owners often say after getting a full or higher priced offer “I should have asked for more” – a natural sentiment. Yet, it just means your agent did their job well on value and was able to collect enough buyers to bid up the price even higher. Pricing your property too high from the beginning could actually cause the sale to end up much lower because buyers have agents too who will value the property as “overpriced” and showings and offers will be fewer.
Time on the market erodes price, and that can cause you to “give it away” eventually if it started at too high a level. If you accept and trust your listing agent’s opinion of value, you will never give it away at below a fair market price.