So, what can sellers do to make their homes more marketable?
Asking what real estate agents call a “realistic” price certainly won’t hurt. With an overabundance of homes on the market, sellers are not in a good position to hold out for top dollar.
But be ready to ask some questions if your agent urges a low price that makes you uncomfortable. The agent earns a commission only if a property sells. Cutting your price by $10,000 could make the property sell faster, reducing the agent’s workload and make the payday come sooner.
But that $10,000 comes out of your pocket, while it only reduces the agent’s earnings by $150, assuming the agent keeps just 1.5% of the commission after her boss and buyer’s agent get their share.
Before settling on an asking price, conduct a little price study of your own. Look at asking prices for nearby homes, and check out recent sales at sites like Zillow.com. Don’t take the agent’s comparable-sales data at face value.
A house that’s up-to-date inside and out is more appealing to buyers than one which is not, so the agent may urge you to do some improvements.
Again, the agent’s interests are not necessarily as compatible with yours as they seem. If upgrades raise the sale price, the agent’s commission will be larger. And improvements may well help the home sell faster, which is good for both you and the agent.