From the Wall Street Journal:
Pricing Your Home Gets Trickier
By RUTH SIMON
As the housing market cools, one of the hardest decisions facing home sellers is how to price their properties.
Traditionally, brokers have set listing prices by reviewing how much comparable homes sold for in a neighborhood. Now, with prices edging lower in many places and the number of homes on the market climbing, checking comparable sales is becoming less useful. At the same time, many would-be buyers are sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see how far prices will fall. Bigger inventories of unsold homes also are making it harder for sellers to figure out how to make their house stand out amid the competition.
Sellers are also being told to cut prices aggressively if their house isn’t moving — or risk chasing the market downward. If a home doesn’t get any showings in 21 days or gets 10 showings but no offers, Ned Redpath, president and owner of Coldwell Banker Redpath & Co. in Hanover, N.H., often advises the seller to slice the asking price by 10%. “We don’t like to see $2,000 or $5,000 price adjustments,” he says. “We want to see a real whack” that attracts attention.
Even in relatively strong markets, brokers are paying closer attention to price trends. Wallace Perry, president of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, Carolinas region, says he has begun checking multiple-listing service data every week or two instead of once a quarter to see how recent sales compare with deals that closed three and six months ago. “Things can change…very quickly,” he says.