CHRISsadowski / Getty Images
You’ve found the house of your dreams, or maybe one that’s good enough for now. The next step is to make an offer. Do you go low to save money and risk being outbid? Or do you bid high to make sure you’re the one doing the outbidding? What factors determine the list price of a home in the first place?
Home buying can be a stressful and confusing process, especially with the prevalence of uninformed or outdated advice. Read on to put your mind at ease and learn how much to offer on a house.
What Affects a Home’s Value?
Hundreds of factors go into the online estimate of a home’s value, but what are the most significant factors that influence a seller’s list price?
Comps and Location
The biggest factors going into a realtor’s recommendation for a house’s listing price are comps, short for comparables, and location. Location is the more obvious of the two. What’s near the home that makes it attractive or not attractive? How are the schools in the area? Is there new construction nearby? What is the crime rate in the area? Even things like coffee shops and entertainment can affect a home’s value.
Comps are homes that are similar to the house you are looking at with the same number of bedrooms, lot size, and age — especially if these houses have had recent sales. Realtors will also show the seller price listing for their competition, other houses that you might consider when determining a list price.
Features aren’t only en suite bathrooms and updated kitchens; they can also be things you won’t notice right away, like a new HVAC system or roof. Even a low-priced and especially friendly homeowners association can be a feature that factors into the list price.
The “market” in this context is a classic Economics 101 definition. It’s all about supply and demand. If there are more people looking to buy houses than people selling houses, then it’s a seller’s market. If the situation is reversed, with more homes available than people buying, it’s a buyer’s market. Whichever side the market belongs to will have more negotiating leverage.
At the time of this article, the housing market in the U.S. has finally started to come down from the pandemic highs, but it’s not yet a buyer’s market, which will affect your offer.
Don’t Forget the Seller’s Strategy
Sometimes sellers intentionally give low listing prices to create a bidding war that drives …….