The most important thing you can do to prepare your home to sell is determining the sale price. In fact, you know you have a top-notch real estate agent if they spend time with you explaining the current market, the factors that go into pricing, and the likely fair market value of your home. They know this because they understand the comparable and they have the pulse of the local real estate industry.

Since knowing how to price a home is one of your agent’s most invaluable skills, finding an agent whose opinion you trust is important to the entire selling experience. If the agent simply tells you what you want to hear or acquiesces to your best guess based on Zillow or what you heard your neighbor’s property sold for, you might need a different agent. An intelligent seller wants an agent with a reputation for selling a home around the original listing price.

Why price matters

Be aware that when you price a home too high, it causes significant issues during the sale. Buyer’s agents know when a home is outside the correct price range, so may not show it to their clients. When that happens, your home hangs on the market too long, causing even more questions among potential buyers.

Eventually, you’ll need to lower the price. While doing so may bring it into focus for budget-minded buyers, it also causes serious buyers to wonder what might be wrong with the property that the price reduced. Finally, you’ll end up selling it for well under what you originally listed it at or receive only low-ball offers from buyers that think it is renovation material.

How to price your home

Avoid the issue of an incorrectly priced home by relying on your expert agent to show you the relevant market forces and comparable that apply to your property. Don’t rely on a simplistic price per square foot-type value determination since there’s much more to a home than its size.

Comparable homes in size, layout, and neighborhood sold recently offer the best idea of a starting price for your house. Your home, however, may have an exceptional view or be just over the boundary into a different school district. Your home’s upgrades could be more attractive to certain levels of buyers. Let your agent help you determine which of these options adds value to your listing. Market and promote those differences to command a higher price. Conversely, if other homes show more upgrades and advantages than yours, develop a strategy for overcoming those differences together with your agent.

Don’t let your home languish on the MLS. Trust your real estate agent to help you determine the best price for the market and get that home sold.