Let me start by saying that despite the message I am about to convey, there are still some decent agents out in the market place. That being said, this particular issue has been on my mind for sometime and I felt the need to share my personal feelings on the matter.
I often get calls from potential sellers to come out and evaluate their home and potential value. Sometimes I am the first agent and sometimes I am the last. Regardless, I can't begin to tell you how many times I see agents undervalue a home. This grates on me for many reasons. First, it's lazy. Evaluation a home is not a slam dunk in many cases. The evaluation needs to take into account multiple factors such as condition, upgrades, location and of course comparable sales AKA "comps". Despite what some seller may think, pricing a home is not an exact science and I can promise you that if you invite three agents to your home, their pricing will not all be the same. This is due to the way an agent evaluates as well as their current marketing situation and ability to negotiate. I tell potential sellers all the time that I am an "optimistic pricer", meaning I tend to view things in a more positive way. On the flip side, you should be aware that there are agents who tend to downplay the value so that they can attract more buyers and sell quickly. Now I know every seller wants to sell fast, but don't they also want the most they can get for their home? Many times when I am the last to interview, I find that I have evaluated the home for thousands more. This is because I take into consideration some factors that may have been missed such as inventory and time of year, not to mention that I take advantage of as many adjustments that I can. I also pad my numbers. This is necessary to allow a seller wiggle room to get the actual desired number from a buyer. Take for instance a recent sale I had. The comps came in at around 335K-340K. The prior agent wanted to list at 325K and pray for a multiple offer situation. I felt strongly that with the limited inventory and upgrades in the home, that we should list at 350K, knowing that in the area, homes were selling for about 3.5% of the list price. I told the sellers up front that the home would not likely appraise at the list price, but that the real number we wanted to get to was 335K. I explained that if we listed at that price, our offer would be in the mid to lower 325K range. Low and behold, we got a 335K offer and are closing in 2 weeks.
Pricing is a strategy to a much bigger process of listing a home. It requires give and take from he seller and their agent. I freely admit that sometimes my calculations are not exactly where the seller wants to be, but they and accurate and optimistic. You should be very aware of agents that try to down play value just so a home sells fast. Those agents have no marketing plan so they have to rely on a steal in order to sell your home, leaving you with less cash in hand at the end of your sale. That's not only bad for the seller, but it can also hurt community values. This has happened in my neighborhood Brookestone multiple times. I sell several homes at top dollar, only to have a neighbor sell with another agent come in and lowball a listing, have it sell in one day for mush less than other sales in the neighborhood. Truth is, that agent doesn't really care about your neighborhoods future value and the seller doesn't know they are being duped. Call me crazy, but I have never had a seller tell me I made them too much on their home. I take great pride in being an optimistic pricer! I can also tell you that my listings are top priority in ensuring they sell at the best possible price.
If you are thinking about selling in my area, give me a call. I'll show you first hand where your listing falls in the market place and then we can decide together what is best for YOU!