The Price Is Right... Or Is It? Tips for Putting Your Home on the Market

Paul LaMastra has been a real estate agent in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood area for more than three decades. He and his brother, Donald, are the owners of ERA Suburb Realty (1773 East 2nd St., Scotch Plains).

Your home is your biggest investment, and naturally everyone wants to maximize their return when they sell.  Pricing realistically is key.  Even if you have pumped thousands of dollars into improvements, such as a new kitchen, don't overprice your home at a price significantly above comparable homes in your surrounding area.   

1) Know the marketplace

Look at comparable homes currently on the market.  Be careful not to overestimate the value of your home.  Be objective in your assessment of your house versus the other ones that are available.  For example, if your Colonial has three bedrooms and one bath while others within a five block radius have four bedrooms and 2 baths,  it is unlikely that you will be able to charge more than they are asking (providing everything else is relatively equal). 

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Naturally, lots of factors impact pricing: kitchen, furnished basement, lot size, landscaping, etc.  It is important to be honest with yourself about how your home rates against the others in your area.

2) Don't focus on what you paid

If you purchased your home in Fanwood or Scotch Plains before the real estate boom of the early 2000s, you will likely make a tidy profit on your sale.  However, if you bought at the top of the market in 2007, it is possible that you paid more than your home will sell for at this very moment.  A buyer does not care that you paid $550,000 seven years ago if the top home price in the area is selling for $499,000 or less.

3) If your home has sat on the market for a few months without an offer, drop it

The housing market has rebounded rather nicely from the recession.  In fact, many home prices are nearing pre-recession levels.  But if you price it too high, it won't move.  And if it sits on the market too long, buyers will wonder what's wrong with it.

Fall is a very active time in the housing market.  People are back from vacation mode, the kids are back to school, and once the weather gets cold, home buyers tend to hibernate until next spring.  Interest rates are still very attractive. Now is a good time to list your home if you have been contemplating doing so.  Pricing it appropriately is very important.  ERA Suburb Realty can help.  Call us at (908) 322-4434or visit

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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