Price your home right to sell this holiday season

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It's mid-December, the holiday season is in full swing, and we are thinking about selling our home.

We started out with what we originally paid, added home appreciation and factored in home improvement costs. We determined that our home should sell for $495,000.

It was late and as I went to sleep, the thought of what our home would sell for was very comforting.

Rattling by the window awakened me. The apparition said: "I'm your local real estate agent. I want to sell your home. How much do you want?"

"I want $495,000," I replied.

"You're right on the money!" it said. "Sign this listing agreement."

When I told him I have to run it by my wife, he said he would call me tomorrow, and disappeared.

I went back to sleep but was awakened again by a second spirit. "I want to sell your home. What's your price?"

"It's $495,000."

She replied, "With your waterfront location, you could get $50,000 more. Wake up your wife and we'll sign this listing agreement."

I told her, "No way; call me tomorrow." She said "OK," and then she was gone.

I fell asleep again. The music was soft and sweet. When I opened my eyes, two spirits (he and she) were looking at me. They said, "We would like to share some information about your home's market value."

I asked them if they wanted to know what we thought our home would sell for. "Oh no," they said. "Better to compare our information with the price you came up with."

With a wave of their hands, a Comparative Market Analysis appeared suspended in air. It compared homes for sale and homes sold (similar to ours), indicating that our home would sell somewhere between $450,000 and $475,000.

With another wave of the hand the three of us were visiting these homes (which were priced between $449,000 and $499,000).

I must say that they were just as nice and some nicer than our home. If I were a buyer, I would buy one of these before paying $495,000 for our home.

It was clear that we needed to make some adjustments.

I wish you all happy holidays - and, if you decide to sell your home, that it sells fast and for the highest possible price.

Larry Stoller is the broker-owner and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. Larry@RealEstateFive.com or RealEstate-Five.com

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