Kathy Henne: Analyze This

When you’re ready to sell your home, will you gaze into a crystal ball for mysterious guidance to determine the magical price that the buyers will accept? Oh, if only it were that easy! There are a number of factors to consider when formulating your listing price, but one of the most important tools is the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) prepared by your real estate agent.

The CMA takes the characteristics of your home — the number of bedrooms, square footage, age, location, etc. — and compares it to similar sold listings in the area. You’ll see the asking prices and final sale prices of homes similar to yours. Current listing prices are interesting, but pay attention to the prices at which properties sold, because that’s what buyers were willing to pay.

Throw out the highest and lowest prices in the range, and compare the sales prices for the remaining homes. Your agent will help you determine how those homes compare to the one you are trying to sell so you can adjust your price accordingly.

Be sure to note how recently those sales took place, too, because sales from over a year ago may no longer be relevant or useful for your decision. Your agent will help interpret the information so you can set a fair market value for your home — one that the buyers will be excited about.