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Is price king?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis May 3, 2012 05:52 AM

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Certainly seems so based on Lauren's effort to unload her three-bedroom cape in South Weymouth for $309,000.

I recently blogged here about Lauren's struggles to find a buyer - she's been getting lots of traffic but no offers since she put her home on the market in February.

I suggested she replace the ugly mustard colored carpet and the advice flooded in on the comment board.

So much for that. While there were others in the cosmetic camp, the comment board was overwhelmed with suggestions that Lauren lower her price.

Instead of $310,000, she should be looking at $270,000 or $280,000, suggested fu1eye.

It was an eye opener for Lauren, who is ready to consider everything right now and has felt that her asking price was just a jumping off point for negotiations.

Instead, it may be deterring buyers who may be thinking of a significantly lower price point.

I thought this exchange on the comment board between Lauren and Jim-in-Littleton, one of the many urging a lower price, was interesting.

Lauren: I guess I always was under the impression that an asking price is just asking price. Buyers see the place and give an offer on what they think the house is worth...if they like the house, which is why the opinions on staging the house etc provided above are super helpful.

Jim-in-Littleton: The asking price *IS* just an asking price but, most buyers are going to use that as their starting point just as a seller might use what they paid for a house as their starting point.

I don't think the average buyer looks at a house listed at $310K and thinks "They'll take an offer of $240K!". They assume that there is a window around your asking point but most people see that window as +/-5% or so.

While cosmetics count, getting the price right is arguably even more important.

There seems to be little if any wiggle room on that count. Buyers are determined to protect themselves and price for many is a make-or-break factor, especially given how inflated real estate values still are here in Greater Boston, even after years of price declines and a tough market.

On a related note, I am going to start a regular feature on this blog for frustrated sellers looking for advice. You can stay anonymous, but the more details the better on your house and some of the challenges you have faced in finding a buyer.

Email me at

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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