Realty? or Reality?

Two evenings this week we spent hours at our dining room table with capable real estate agents who came for a preliminary meeting about the possibility of listing our home for sale.

Realtor #1 was extremely professional, way prepared, gave us reams of paper and tons of information, and even homework.

Realtor #2 was extremely laidback, prepared enough, and gave us some very good info but no homework except to consider replacing the furnace. (more expensive homework than the first guy!)

Here’s the thing. They both came armed with printouts of “comparable” houses that are our “competition.” I got the impression from the first guy, let’s call him PaperMan, that the key to selling your house is see what’s out there that’s comparable, then make sure you price your house a little lower than them and prepare your house to be as perfect as possible to show. Guy #2, ConverseMan, agreed but had slightly different formulas for figuring out what is actually comparable.

Our street connects to a neighborhood that has much smaller houses, all on a slab, with postage-stamp yards. Our street is NOT part of that neighborhood, but I think there is probably a perception that it is. So, PaperMan says our competition is that neighborhood. I don’t get that. And I don’t agree. I don’t want to price our house to be competitive with the houses in that neighborhood because our house is bigger and nicer, if I do say so myself.

Also, as I have been letting this percolate, I’ve realized that realtors can maybe only go by what they see on paper. And if a house has three bedrooms, then it is a comparable house to another that has three, even if there are huge differences in the condition, quality, and care of the home.

So, it’s just got me to wondering if PaperMan’s approach is really the best one. I would imagine if you have your house priced in the bottom three of similar houses, you will be more likely to sell it. But does that mean it’s a good thing to sell it for that price? I suppose the answer to that question depends on how badly you want/need to sell your house.

ConverseMan had a different idea of what might be considered comparable and I liked his ideas better. Seemed like he was being more specific about how to decide something is comparable.

In the meantime, I will continue to beautify the old place to put its best foot forward when we finally decide to start showing it to prospective buyers.

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