The Overpriced Home: Figuring Out The Problem

Can You Spot The Overpriced Home in a Neighborhood?

Which Home is Overpriced?
Would you know if one of these homes was overpriced?

Hint: it’s the one that isn’t selling. (Ooooh, imagine that – an overpriced home not getting any offers!)

You know, the one that has been on the market so long no one even notices the sign any more. Sunday home-shoppers don’t even slow down (they’ve already seen it) as they cruise on by to another Open House. Neighbors speculate on why it’s not selling and what that means for their own chances of selling (when they get around to it).

But if you ask the seller . . . it’s priced right. They just KNOW it because someone told them so.

So how do YOU avoid becoming one of the non-selling sellers of an overpriced home?

Know Thy Market When Pricing a Home for Sale

Picking the right price for a home is part art, part math, part intuition, part experience. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with an overpriced home – and that can really hurt your chances of selling it anytime soon.

The person coming up with the numbers needs something to go on. You know . . . some actual data to use to figure it out. Emotions need to be checked at the door – as strong as they may be, they just get in the way of what needs to be done: get the price right so the house sells as fast as possible at the highest price possible.

Let me share an example with you so that you can see why just breezing through some other local listings, or recent sales isn’t quite enough to nail the price on a listing. What you learn here could save you a lot of time and money (and teeth gnashing).

But It’s Priced Right!!!

I ran across a listing a while ago that stuck out in a sea of data as an outlier – a data point that looked out of place.

At first, it was a bit confusing: the price per square foot was clearly under other homes of similar size and age in the area. The photos in the MLS looked okay. The photos themselves weren’t that great, but the home looked presentable in them. The neighborhood and schools are considered desireable. Other listings were selling in just a few weeks.

And yet . . . this one was still on the market. It was still on the market despite several downward price adjustments, each of which made it look more and more favorably priced than the competition.

And yet, other houses were coming on the market and selling and this one was . . . sitting. It was the classic overpriced home.

The Big List of Small and Not-So-Small Things That Matter

To re-cap: at first glance, the priced seemed reasonable. But at deep-gazing, the price was way off, from a combination of these things:

  • The house was built by a lower-end builder in a subdivision of homes built by better builders: it did not have the same quality of original fit-and-finish as the typical home in the area.
  • The fixtures (faucets, light fixtures, shower surrounds) were original, and in a bright-brass finish.
  • The house did not appear to have been well-maintained.
  • The fence was rotty.
  • The playscape was falling down.
  • Some cabinets had sharpie (?) markings and other scribbles on them.
  • The bathrooms had dated (and peeling) wallpaper.
  • The flooring that looked like hardwood was actually super-thin, poorly-installed laminate.
  • The floorplan was awkward.
  • The house was crowded with too much stuff (that had been moved aside for the photos).

On other words: it really wasn’t comparable to the other homes for sale, or other homes that had recently sold.

Those homes were mostly updated, mostly built by better builders, mostly wall-paper free and were in better locations within the subdivision. They were better presented (de-cluttered), and more importantly: more accurately presented in the MLS.

The photos in the MLS for the non-selling home looked better than the reality – by a long shot. wshen you add it all up, the price for this home was just too high – it was overpriced.

What To Do, What To DO?

If you’re home isn’t selling, and you want to know why, it might be time to step back and take a cold, hard look at it.

Look at the list above, and talk it over with your real estate agent.

How DOES your house compare? Don’t be tempted to stick with the “but, we priced it right!” party line that has gotten so comfortable in recent months.

If it’s not selling, the price isn’t right.

To get your price, you may need to do a lot of work.

If you don’t want to do the work, you’ll need to lower the price to the point where someone else might be willing to do the work. And, if it’s really stale because it’s gotten the reputation of being an overpriced home, you may even need to slightly underprice it, just to get folks back to take a second look, or to generate some new traffic.

After all, the point is to sell the house, not just list it for sale – right?