Sellers need to look at their home through the eyes of today's buyers when they select a list price or price reduction. Today's buyers are critical and, with rare exception, are in no hurry to buy. Interest rates and home prices are both low, but they don't appear to be moving significantly higher soon.
Sellers often wait too long to lower their price, even though they are getting zero or minimal showing activity and other homes in the area are selling. In areas where prices are declining, sellers who wait too long to reduce their price may have to reduce it again because the market has changed.
Try to avoid chasing the market by reducing the price on your home after your competitors have dropped their price. Be ahead of the pack and reduce your list price before the competition does to avoid further price reductions.
It can be difficult to price right for a market that is continually changing. Sellers may list at a price that seems reasonable. But, after a month or two of preparing the home for sale, they could find that their price is out of date by the time they are ready to submit the listing to the MLS.
Don't let the sales prices of past listings keep you from making the right decision about where to price your home today. If you discover you are priced too high for the market, it's usually wise to lower the price by 5 to 10 percent. Most sellers opt for a modest price reduction and are disappointed when the showing activity doesn't pick up.
It's better to make a bigger, impressive price reduction and complete the sale more quickly, particularly if prices are still declining.
THE CLOSING: Sellers who play hard ball and stick firm at a price that's too high for the market are likely to find themselves playing alone.
Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years' experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of "House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers" and "Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer's Guide."