In this area, Montgomery County and Washington, DC, pricing, packaging and presentation are the three most important things you must get right to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. Of those three, correct pricing is the second most important decision you're going to make when you sell your home. Picking the right realtor is the most important decision. Just like every other profession, some are better than others. We are not all interchangable. Picking the wrong one can be an expensive mistake. If you think that the result will be the same, regardless of the realtor you pick to market your home, you couldn't be more wrong.
Correctly priced properties will sell in less than 30 days, often in a week. And there is no better chance of getting top dollar than the first 29 days on the market. It never gets better with time. That's especially true if your home is under $1mm in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Rockville, Kensington or Silver Spring. Top dollar comes fast, not after 30, 60 or 90+ days.
If you talk to a realtor who suggests pricing above market value first, then cutting the price after 30 days if nothing happens, and you hire that realtor and go along with that strategy (usually because that big number sounds nice) you just killed your best chance of a quick, top dollar sale. Quick and top dollar go together. It's not one or the other. If you hire that realtor, you just made a really stupid mistake. Those are harsh words but look at any home under $1mm in this area, that has been on the market for 40+ days and, without any doubt, the reason it hasn't sold is because the asking price is too high. How did that happen?? Either the realtor suggested a price that was too high as part of a strategy to get the listing (known as buying the listing) or they just don't know what they are doing or the seller was insistent on pricing it too and the realtor went along with it to get the listing hoping they could talk the buyer down to the right price eventually and still get the sale.
The value in pricing it right, along with packaging and presentation was proven true again with my most recent listing at 8728 Sleepy Hollow Ln in Potomac. This house is in the Fox Hills neighborhood and was built by Pulte in 1968. The seller is the original owner. There are several different home models in this neighborhood, some bigger, some smaller and, of course, some are in better condition than others. The Winston Churchill High School cluster is a huge draw and it's a very family friendly neighborhood. This house is one of the larger models.
I brought in my friends at DB&C Home Restorations to put some lipstick on it. They painted the interior (including the no longer in style wood paneling in the family room), using Sherman Williams Agreeable Gray, fixed some bad planks in the back deck, ripped out the carpet in two bedrooms (because it had really nice hardwood underneath), cleaned some soot off the brick just above the fireplace and gave it a thorough cleaning. I also hired Brightview Cleaning, a roof cleaning specialist, to wash the roof, which was covered with mold, lichens and roof algae stains. The stained roof was very noticable from the street. That was all we did. Total cost for everything, less than $10K. The seller agreed to the suggested work my suggested asking price of $739K, which was about 1.5% less than what I expected it to sell for.
A properly marketed house will not sell for less than it's worth in this area. It's just not possible. And it's also not possible to sell a house for more than it's worth.
What happened?? The very day it hit the market I had at least ten potential buyers and realtors visit and got my first offer early in the afternoon. Their interest was price driven. The next day, I had another dozen visitors, got my second offer, and had the first buyer come back with an improved offer (they really wanted it). Both were great offers from financially qualified buyers and both were well over the asking price. While the seller was pondering these offers a third offer came in.
All three offers were serious, respectable offers. All three knew about the other two. It was a fierce and fair competition but one of the offers was easily better than the other two and that's who the seller signed the contract with.
If I had priced it for what the best offer turned out to be, in the end, we would not have received that offer. We would not have had 20+ potential buyers and realtors show up in two days and it would still be an active listing instead of an under contract listing. What would have happened is what always happens when houses are priced too high. Nothing. After about three painful weeks I would be talking to the seller about a price cut.
There is no doubt in the seller's mind, or mine, that with all the traffic and the three buyers we had competing with one another for the house, that we got top dollar. There is just no way pursuing any other marketing strategy would have generated more interest or a better offer. It's just not possible. If your house is on the market now and 30-60-90+ days have gone by without an offer, the price is too high. There is no other reason.
Sound good?? I can do the same thing for you at your house. If you're thinking about selling in the next year and you'd like to have multiple buyers competing for your house, call me. I'll make it happen for you just like I did for the seller on Sleepy Hollow and you will get the absolute top dollar price your house can possibly bring.