Would You Rather Sell Your Home Or Just List It?

Nice Home in a Suburban Neighborhood with a big lawnPeople ask me to list their homes for sale. What I think they mean is they want me to sell their home.

I come by. I look at the condition of their home. I check out the neighborhood to see the condition of the neighborhood. I check out the comparable sales.  I look at the competition (Active listings) and the homes that are pending settlement. I ask how much of a mortgage they still owe on their home

After all of that, I sit down with the person who wants to list their home for sale and I talk about price. That’s where the rubber hits the road.

The “I Wish I Could Get It” Price

There’s no question. Sellers want the absolute highest price they can get for their house. Buyers want to pay the absolute lowest. Somewhere in between both fantasies is something called Market Value.

When I talk to home sellers, I always get the “I wish I could get it” price.  Home sellers say it in different ways: “Let’s start at $325,000 so I can get $300,000”. Or, “I really need $325,000 because of where I’m moving.” Or “The house down the street sold for $310,000 and my house is much nicer.”

They really mean, “I wish I could get $325,000 for my house.”

Listing vs Selling

Believe it or not, the most difficult part of selling a home is not selling a home. It’s all the stuff in between the time a seller accepts the offer from the buyer and the time when everyone is sitting around the settlement table.

Here is how a home is sold.

  1. Price it competitively 
  2. Prepare it so it shows well (i.e., it’s in pristine condition)
  3. Make sure the home is accessible so people can come by and see it.
  4. Make sure it’s in a great location

You can deal with #1, #2 and #3. You have no control over where you’re house is located.

Still. 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

If you just want to list your home to see if your fantasy can come true, go ahead and take a number out of the air, don’t bother tidying up and list it. Here’s what will happen:

  1. During the first one or two weeks you’ll get a burst of visitors. No offer.
  2. About week 3 your showings will become less and less frequent. No offer.
  3. About week 4 you start to get nervous and/or upset. You want Open Houses, more advertising, maybe a new agent.
  4. Around the same time, you’ve stopped picking up the house. There are dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor, the grass is getting long. In other words, you’re about to give up.

If you want to sell your home, you need to take a deep breath and maybe a stiff drink and then:

  1. Price your home at or, maybe, just slightly above market pricing. If no one has sold a home for $325,000 in the last 120 days you may want to think long and hard about pricing at $350,000. Price it at $325,000 or, maybe, $335,000. Better yet, price it at $310,000 and watch multiple offers come in sending the price up, up, up (no one does that, though)
  2. Keep your home in pristine condition. Get it staged. Keep everything picked up.
  3. Allow people to come by your home with their Realtor when they ask to come by. If it’s really a bad time, OK. But, if they want to come by around the time you normally sit down for dinner, put off dinner a little. People will not buy your house without taking a peek at it first.  If they can’t get an appointment to see it, they’ll strike it off their list and look at whatever other homes are for sale.  If (and this is a BIG if) you’ve priced your home well, they may come back. If you’re the least bit over priced, you’ll never get a second chance.

The Longer It Sits, The Lower The Price

I went into length about this in a previous post about Days on Market. I don’t need to go into it here except to say that the longer your home is on the market the smaller the price it will get. People will think something is wrong with it. People will think your eager to sell and lowball the price.

That’s why you need to know whether you want to list your home or sell your home. It could make a big difference in the price you get for your home.


Are you interested in what your home will actually sell for?
I can let you know and help you get your house sold!
Call me at 240-417-9100 or e-mail me.

About Ken Montville

Ken Montville is a Realtor® and Associate Broker with RE/MAX United Real Estate in the beautiful Maryland Suburbs of Washington, DC. He has been selling nice homes since 1999. Way back in the 20th Century.

When Ken Is not doing the real estate thing he can be found all over social media in places too numerous to mention and he listens to jazz, reads a little (mostly non-fiction), hangs out with the Rotary Club of College Park, MD and can be found blogging at MDSuburbanHomes.com