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What's My House Worth?

Of all the questions I field on a weekly basis, perhaps the most frequent one - and the most difficult to answer concretely - is the question about market value. What's my house worth?

The off-the-cuff, easy answer is that a property is only worth what a ready, willing and able Buyer will pay in cash on any given day.

But the more complicated answer is... it depends. (Isn't that what every first-year law student learns is the answer to nearly every question?!?)

What I know for certain and can tell you is this: There's nothing I or anyone can do to sell an overpriced house. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

There are simply too many competing forces at work to keep a property's value in check with reality. Between buyers being highly educated about the market and appraisers who'll not permit a Buyer to overpay even if they're willing to, I cannot sell a property unless it's priced properly.

How do we find that price? We start with looking at recently sold properties which most closely match your home in terms of age, size, amenities, quality, location and so on. From there, we decide on a price that meets your needs and is supported by market data.

Then we wait. Showing feedback is the real source of information related to pricing. A simple formula I learned early on based on the years and years of experience of my mentors is this: 10 showings or 45 days, whichever comes first, should generate at least one offer. If we don't hit 10 showings in 45 days, then it's time to move the price down by 5% at a minimum. If we have 10 showings in the first week on the market and don't get an offer, the same rule applies.

The only caveat to that formula is this: if there are specific condition issues that haven't been addressed that are coming up in the feedback on a consistent basis then address those issues immediately. If you're not in a position to make those fixes, then get firm quotes from reputable contractors for those items and make them available to potential Buyers for review. Now when a Buyer raises the concern about worn carpeting, you're able to provide an estimate for installation of carpet of their choice.Problem solved.

If your house is on the market and you're wondering why it's not selling, plug yourself into the formula. Lots of showings and no offers? Reduce your price. No showings after 45 days? Reduce your price. No matter the price point. No matter the style. No matter the age.

If I can provide any help to you or someone you know with issues related to real estate, I'd appreciate a call. 317.413.8501. Or drop me an email at I look forward to being of service.

Joe Shoemaker
Principal Broker, REALTOR®
MacDuff Realty Group