For Sale by owner in West Columbia South Carolina   Leave a comment

For Sale by owner in West Columbia South Carolina

Understanding how to value your home so that a buyer has bragging rights!

Simply stated if the buyer doesn’t have a quick and logical answer as to why your house is a “great deal” for them they don’t have bragging rights.  Bragging rights are what allows them to feel good about buying your home when someone tells them “it’s a horrible time to buy”; or that “prices are still dropping”; or “this is a bad decision.”  They need to be able to counter with – it was too good of a deal to pass up because “the sellers paid closing costs”; or “we bought for $XX less than the last sale”; or “it was bought for under appraisal.”  Pricing the home correctly is the first component to creating bragging rights.

All the marketing in the world can’t sell a nickel for a dime.

nickle n dime baayybeee


I don’t know who said it originally but nothing could be truer in this West Columbia SC Real Estate market.  You can have the best marketing, every buyer can see the home, it can look terrific and no one will buy your home if you are overpriced.   All the preparation we just completed getting your home looking great won’t matter if no one comes to see it. So pricing it correctly and marketing it properly is very important after it’s ready for showings.

It’s easy to see why many FSBO’s over price their homes. You’re attached to them, you’ve poured your sweat and money into your property, and “you need to get X$ out of it.”   Overpricing a home is a fatal mistake.  Many good real estate agents will show your home and then “sell” another one using yours as a comparison to show why the next home is such a good value.

While all this is important some for sale by owners will occasionally “leave money one the table” by underpricing a home.   This is why pricing a home correctly is so critical.

Now, undoubtedly you have an idea what your home is valued at; you’ve researched the websites (Zillow, Trulia, local company sites); you’ve visited other homes for sale, and you may have even talked to a real estate professional.

Remember that you should look for homes with a similar number of bathrooms, square footage, condition, lot size, number of bedrooms, garage spaces, amenities and location if possible. It won’t take you to too long to determine what ballpark your asking price should be in.

Call the ads and talk to the owner or real estate agent about the details of the home. Better yet go visit them. This will help you to narrow down the range even further to a realistic price. Ask lots of questions about the condition, how they arrived at their price, amenities, and their motivation for moving.

Another opinion you should get is from a real estate professional or two that sells full-time and consistently works in your area (in this market many real estate agents have a “real” job in addition to trying to sell a home or two a year.)  A real estate agent should also be able to tell you more about the current conditions of the marketplace… such as where buyers are coming from (internet, newspaper, relocation or other).  They should provide you with statistics and charts to help you justify your pricing to a buyer that is interested.

There’s no obligation to a real estate agent to conduct a “Market Analysis” for you… but it is a good policy to be direct and honest with him or her about your situation and that you are planning on trying to sell your home yourself.

Most real estate agents will be glad to conduct a FREE “Market Analysis” for you even if you tell them that you plan to go “For Sale By Owner”. This is because the odds that you will eventually list are still in their favor… but they don’t know you have this manual.

Make sure you use homes that have actually sold in your area, not ones that are actively on the market. Sold versus Active is an important distinction.  The difference between asking prices and selling prices can be substantial, which means, you want a “Market Analysis” from homes like yours that have actually sold… not from homes that are still currently on the market and unable to sell.

Remember also that some real estate agents tend to overestimate homes value as an enticement for you to list your home with them.  This is called “buying the listing” in the business. Agents do this knowing that once you are under a contract you have to work with them and they’ll beat you down week after week after week to get you to lower your price.

Remember what your ultimate goal is:  to save the real estate commission. So don’t get over excited or have unrealistic expectations based on a “Market Analysis” from an overly optimistic real estate agent who’s trying to “buy” your business.

If you take a more conservative approach to pricing your home (especially because you are a “For Sale By Owner”) you’ll have a much better chance to sell your home inside of 30 to 90 days. Remember also that all the buyers and the agent who bring their buyers to see your home know that you are selling “by owner.”  They expect the home to be priced more than fairly.

Pricing is not an exact science; even appraisers give themselves a margin of error of 3% to 4% (this can be up to $8000 on a $200,000 sale) so don’t be discouraged if some of the information you get from the paper, the agents and the title companies contradict each other a bit.  Each home is different and unique. You may have to “weed” through the piles of information you get to determine the most probable asking and sales price.

If you really want to be sure about the fair market value of your home before you try to sell it may want to consider having it professionally appraised. Appraisers are estimators of the official value of properties around the country. They are used by lenders to determine the terms of real estate loans.

Appraisers will use objective business-like techniques to derive a reliable estimate a price.

Since most buyers are going to need to obtain a mortgage to buy your house it’s wise to know what an appraiser is going to say about the value of your home.If you do hire an appraiser you can expect to spend somewhere between $300-$600 per professional appraisal.

After all your research there are a few other factors to consider before setting your asking price:

Do you have time constraints to sell? (Are you being transferred, getting divorce, etc.)

Do you have immediate financial needs?

What is the employment rate in your area?

How are the interest rates?

What will it cost to own your home?

Is there seasonality in the rates of sales in your marketplace?

Do you owe more than the house is worth? (If so call me immediately – the bank will require you to work with an agent to sell it short.)

Factor in your answers and arrive at your price.  If you find yourself saying “it’s worth $150,000 but I need $175,000” or “I’m not going to give it away.” Do some more research and you may find you are overpriced.  You cannot ignore the bank owned properties or other distressed properties for sale because the buyers won’t ignore them.  Determine what bragging rights you can offer potential buyers and then it’s time to go to the next step.

The next step in the process is going to be on marketing your home effectively to the buyers out there… and how to grab their attention with the right type of marketing approach.

Chip Jefferson, Realtor ©
Exit Real Estate Consultants 
Mobile 803-360-0491


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