Selling your home with Liz & Ellie Real Estate, Compass, Cambridge.

The Thick of Things

Pricing your home
It is our goal to sell your home in the shortest amount of time, at the highest price, and with the fewest hassles.

Comparing properties (in similar condition, size, location, amenities, age, etc.) that have recently sold within your area will help determine the price of your property. Many times owners want to sell their homes based on how much they paid for it, or how much it is worth to them emotionally or financially, or how much they have invested in it (from renovations, for example). Every seller wants to receive as much money as possible from the sale, but if a listing is priced too high, if often ends up selling for less than market value.

If your property is overpriced, buyers may be encouraged to bid on other properties, which means that you are ultimately helping sell someone else’s home. The result of an overpriced listing is often increased market time; and the longer a property sits on the market, the less negotiating power the seller has. Even after the price is adjusted to where it should have been originally, the property is often looked at as a “stale” home: Nobody wants to buy real estate that everyone else has walked away from. So, the result is receiving a lower priced offer than you had hoped for. In addition, an overpriced property (once it is under agreement) might not appraise as highly with the bank, which gives the buyer the chance to walk away from purchasing the property, or to re-negotiate the price down.

An accurate market evaluation is the first step in determining a competitive listing price.

Showings—rules of thumb:

  • If you are getting showings but no one is writing an offer, it generally means that you are around five percent above market price.

  • If your number of showings is low (one to two a week), then your home is between six and twelve percent overpriced.

  • If your property is not generating any interest at all, then your house is likely priced twelve percent or more above what the market will bear for your property.

As listing agents, if we sense that the level of interest on your property is too low for the time of year, location, etc., then we may recommend a reposition (a price adjustment) on the property after 14 days. We will also update you in regard to any recent comparable sales that may affect your property.

A seller’s market vs. a buyer’s market
The market is often unbalanced and privileges either the seller or the buyer. It is a seller’s market when there aren’t enough properties for buyers to choose from, so bidding wars occur. This often prompts buyers to bid over the asking price, frequently waiving all contingencies. In a seller’s market, people are often willing to buy a property that needs work, and spend the extra time and resources to fix it up a bit.

A buyer’s market occurs when there is a glut of inventory on the market, and the buyers garner more negotiating power. In such markets, buyers may negotiate a lot off the initial purchase price and/or reduce their offer after the inspection. We have noticed that in a buyer’s market, buyers typically prefer properties that are in “move in” and “turn-key” condition.

Negotiating an offer
In Massachusetts, all Offers to Purchase will be in writing, accompanied by a $1,000 good faith deposit check and a pre-approval from a bank. Most offers are good for 24 hours. You may not sleep well on the night of an offer! We will present each and every offer to you, discuss the various offer terms, and the pros and cons of each.

Sometimes the highest bid may not be the best offer if they have a very large mortgage contingency. Once you reach a decision, we will negotiate your position to the buyers in regards to price, terms and timing.

Beware: often sellers believe that the first offer they receive will be one of many to come. There is a tendency not to take this offer seriously, and to hold out for a higher price. However, more often than not, the first buyer ends up being the best buyer, and many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer later in the selling process. As mentioned above, the value of a property often diminishes with the length of time it has been on the market.

The home inspection
During the home inspection, we will be present to answer the inspector’s questions in regard to systems, roof, age of appliances, etc., to the best of our ability and based on information you have provided. Here's the breakdown:

  • Inspections happen typically within 5 business days of an accepted offer.

  • Buyers must respond to the inspection within 7 days of the inspection.

  • Inspections requested by the buyer are at their expense.

  • Typical inspections include examinations of structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, and last approximately 2 hours.

  • Additional lead paint, radon, asbestos and pest inspections may be ordered by the buyer, which may delay the final inspection status.

It is common for the buyer to engage in a new set of negotiations based on defects found by the home inspector. We will guide you through this process and provide experts who can validate the costs and evaluate the importance of these repairs.