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The art of pricing a home just right

A well-trained real estate agent can help you

A well-trained real estate agent can help you take the emotion out of the equation when pricing your house for sale. Credit: Getty Images

Most real estate agents agree: Among all the things that go into selling a home, the asking price is the most important.

Before putting a home on the market, agents perform a comparative market analysis, researching what similar homes in the area have sold for and determining how the property they are listing stacks up. These sales are commonly referred to as “comps.”

“Take the emotion out of [the price],” advises Adelle Longo, an agent with Coach Realtors in Commack. “You have to go by the comps.”

Here are some other factors that go into pricing a home, as well as some common misconceptions:


A home on a busy road cannot command the same price as a home on a quiet road or cul-de-sac, Longo says.

It’s also important to hire an agent who is familiar with the seller’s area.

“You don’t see people in Bellport going out and selling houses in the Hamptons,” says Mary Lawrence Roberts, a broker with Eileen Green Realty in Bellport.


Features that could command a higher price include updated kitchen and bathrooms.

“If a house is really updated, then they sell very quickly and usually for more money,” says Nancy Jarvis, a broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Carle Place.

However, even if a home has some nicer features than others that have recently sold, it is usually wise to not stray too far from the comps. Barbara Tomko, an agent with Laffey Real Estate in Woodbury, recently had a listing in Syosset that was priced slightly higher than recent sales and received a full-price offer after one showing.

On the same note, a home in poor condition will likely sell quickly if it’s priced right. Longo recently sold a home in Smithtown that didn’t have heat.

“Just because a house needs work doesn’t mean it’s not going to sell,” Longo says. “You just have to price it attractively.”

Price a home lower if it has older paneling or wallpaper.

“If a house has wallpaper, buyers are afraid of it,” Longo says.

Patience can help

A client of Tomko’s decided to stick with the same price even though their home stayed on the market for more than a year. The sellers just received an offer.

“Instead of the house appreciating, the market appreciated,” Tomko says. “Maybe if they had to leave six months ago, lowering the price would have been a good thing to do. But not everybody has the time to wait.”

Pools aren’t an oasis

Some sellers believe pools add value to a home, but unless the area has a lot of vacation homes, that’s not necessarily the case. Some buyers don’t want a pool because of the upkeep, or because they worry that it’s a safety concern for young children, Longo says. Most buyers also aren’t interested in apartments inside homes, she says.

Some exceptions

Buyers may have a little more leeway with price in the Hamptons, says Gary DePersia, a broker with The Corcoran Group on the East End.

“Price it a little above what you expect to get, knowing that nobody likes their real estate experience in the Hamptons unless they get to negotiate,” DePersia says.

That doesn’t mean the listing price should be out of line with the reality of the market.

“In today’s market, you can’t overprice a house,” DePersia says. “You have to be realistic with your expectations. A house will ultimately sell for what the market dictates.”


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