How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home

by seacoast_ashley 11. August 2010 08:35

Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.

How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.


Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision-and it closed escrow last week. If you can't find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don't just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it's finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won't fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.

Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.


Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors'. Evaluating those differences-like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office-is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.


If you're still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?


If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can't pay their mortgage can't afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they're divorcing, or their employer is moving them to Kansas.How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets. The average short-sale home in Omaha in recent years was discounted by 8.5%, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha study. In suburban Washington, D.C., sellers typically discount short-sale homes by 3% to 5% to get them quickly sold, real estate agents report. In other markets, sellers price short sales the same as other homes in the neighborhood.

So you have to rely on your REALTOR's knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.


What You Must Know About Home Appraisals

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price


New York State: "How Estimates of Market Value are Determined for Residential Properties"

What's the Value of a View? Research from Texas Christian University

Carl Vogel, a freelance writer and former editor of The Neighborhood Works magazine, lives in a home in Chicago that is not typical of those nearby, so he appreciates a savvy comp.

Article From

By: Carl Vogel

Published: August 05, 2010

Reprinted from HouseLogic ( with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (R).Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.


Realtor | Selling

Realtors’ Favorite Tricks for Creating Scent Appeal

by seacoast_ashley 2. August 2010 09:19

Real estate professionals share with us their favorite home scents that are sure to please buyers.

"I recommend using lemon or citrus scented candles for showings and running a few lemon wedges through the garbage disposal." -Christine Spitale, Sunflower Staging, Highland Mills, N.Y.

"Covering up the smell is not the answer. Sometimes it takes a thorough cleaning of carpets, drapes, and upholstery. It also helps to open windows to get air flowing and to clean out the air ducts." -Barbara Linick, ERA Troy, REALTORS®, San Antonio

"I think that cinnamon and vanilla are the best smells when trying to sell a home. I love to walk into a home and breathe in the fresh scent of cinnamon sticks on the stove or smell a burning vanilla candle." -Fran Hughes, Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Perimeter, Atlanta

"I always use an electric ceramic crock that can hold small or large glass candles, like from Yankee Candle Co. There's no risk of fire because there's no flame; the ceramic crock warms the candle to melt the wax. I've used several of these in different places throughout the house, so as you walk through you get different fragrances." -Linda C. Hardt, Homelynx Home Loans, Fort Myers, Fla.

"I use an odor eliminator called PureAyre that smells like mint. The product can be 'injected' into furniture or carpets. It can also be sprayed into the air. When buyers come into a home, many are turned off by the smell of air fresheners or candles. Smart buyers know these are old tricks used to cover up smells, not eliminate them." -Carol Smith, Creative Home Stagers, Charlotte, N.C.

"Put a beer in the oven on low and it will smell like you're baking fresh bread." -Elizabeth Lord, Carolina Farms & Estates, York, S.C.

"When you introduce any pleasant smelling items to a home, try to stick to basic scents such as vanilla, apple, cinnamon, and lemon. In small doses, these often appeal to the most buyers. A small reed diffuser in a bathroom can keep a clean smell, while not overwhelming the space." -Kellie Frooninckx, Virtual Enriching Homes, Phoenix

"Heat up some water and throw fresh cinnamon into it. Turn it off just before the buyers come. They'll think that you baked cookies for them." -April M. Newland, Newland Real Estate, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

"If the sellers have a basement they may need to get a dehumidifier. Basements are in the ground, a damp environment by nature. So many times we open the basement door and get smacked with a musty odor. Bye-bye good offer." -Colette O'Mara, Weichert, REALTORS®, North Syracuse, N.Y.

Published: April 2010 REALTOR magazine

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


Realtor | Selling

Edward Wood Graduates from REALTOR® Institute

by seacoast_ashley 2. August 2010 09:05
Edward Wood of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty recently earned the professional designation, "Graduate, REALTOR® Institute" (GRI), signifying mastery of an intense training program of classroom instruction.
Wood earned the GRI designation by attending a specific, intensive series of a minimum of 90 hours of classroom instruction, covering a variety of subjects including: contract law, professional standards, sales and marketing, finance, and risk reduction.

He joins other top producers in the residential real estate industry who hold the designation. Only 19% of REALTORS® in the United States hold this prestigious designation.

In addition, Wood learned the fundamentals of brokerage and other areas of real estate specialization. With this designation and through increased awareness of current topics important to the real estate professional, such as legal issues, Wood is able to better serve prospective clients and customers.

For 25 years, the REALTOR® Institute is designed to educate practitioners about local, state and national real estate practices that affect them, their clients and customers. The Institute is taught by leading real estate professionals from around the country.

For more information about our company, please visit or connect with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty on Facebook.


News | Realtor

Good Smells, Bad Smells

by seacoast_ashley 17. July 2010 11:34

How does your home smell? It might be worth an extra sniff because buyers certainly will take notice.

Sensory research shows that the smell of a home can affect a person's mood, according to Terry Molnar, executive director of The Sense of Smell Institute, a New York-based organization that focuses on the importance of smell to human psychology, behavior, and quality of life.

A light floral fragrance can put people in a more pleasant mood, while citrus scents, such as lemon and grapefruit, tend to have an energizing effect, he says. "Vanilla is one scent that's universal around the globe," Molnar says. "People find it comforting and relaxing."

But be careful: When you add smells to a home, it can be viewed as an attempt to cover up a bad odor. And if that's the intent, it can make the problem worse.

So what if you do need to get rid of a bad smell? Here are some ideas from staging professionals:

Take the trash out.
It's simple, but it can make a big difference. When your home is being shown, empty the garbage often.

Snuff out the smoke.
Eliminate all smoking inside and even outside, particularly when the doors or windows are open. An ionizer can help remove smoke smells.

Watch the cooking.
The smell of lamb, broccoli, garlic, fish, and eggs can stick around long after the food has been eaten.

Wash Fido.
Pets can be a big source of smells. Limit the pet to an outdoor area or a certain room in the house that can be regularly cleaned, says staging professional Kellie Frooninckx, owner of Virtual Enriching Homes in Phoenix. Also, clean the pet's bedding regularly.

Published: April 2010 REALTOR magazine

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


Realtor | Selling

Real Estate Professionals Earn NC Workforce Housing Specialist Certification

by seacoast_ashley 14. June 2010 09:09

Many hardworking North Carolina families don’t earn enough to afford an average-priced home in their community. Real estate professionals with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty recently earned the North Carolina Workforce Housing Specialist certification and learned about programs that can help teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other service workers in our community achieve the dream of home ownership.

Brett Adams, Cathi Anderson, Carolyn Dunwell, Paul Dunwell, Tom Gale, and Amy Whetsel from Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty’s Wilmington office earned the certification. Homes4NC, a housing foundation created by the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, offers the certification to REALTORS® who take extra steps to learn about the federal, state and local housing programs specifically designed to help buyers that earn less than the area median income. They also work within the community to increase housing affordability for all citizens.

“My wife is a teacher, so I hear from her colleagues all the time about how hard it is to find affordable housing,” said Tom Gale. “With the training we received, I know about more lending programs that can help them.”

According to Homes4NC, wages in North Carolina are not expected to keep pace with the cost of housing. Half of the state’s future jobs are expected to pay 60% of the state’s current average earnings.

To earn the certification, REALTORS® must complete sixteen hours of educational courses that focus on national, state, and local affordable housing resources. For more information about the North Carolina Workforce Housing Specialist certification, visit


News | Realtor

Cathi Anderson Becomes a CDRS Member

by seacoast_ashley 24. May 2010 14:48
With foreclosures on the rise, it is imperative that homeowners who may have fallen behind on their payments know who to turn to find out more about what options might be available for them to consider.
America’s Home Rescue announces that Cathi Anderson of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty has earned the distinction of being an exclusive member of the Certified Default Resolution Specialist (CDRS) Program, a powerful national network of licensed real estate professionals equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to better educate homeowners about their options and be a resource in helping them avoid the devastation of foreclosure.

“I truly feel both confident and competent enough to be a resource to homeowners through what may be a difficult season in their lives. My advanced training with America’s Home Rescue and CDRS designation have given me a solid foundation and tool set to help my clients best achieve their goals in avoiding foreclosure,” said Anderson.

Anderson is a licensed REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty, a member of the Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS®, as well as both the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Anderson is also a distinguished member of the National CDRS Agent Network, offered through America’s Home Rescue, a company whose sole focus is helping homeowners in pre-foreclosure situations by providing education and training to the real estate professionals in their community.

Anderson provides a free consultation to homeowners who want to find out more about their options if facing foreclosure.


News | Realtor

First Home Seller Signs Up for Coldwell Banker Buyer Bonus Program

by seacoast_ashley 5. May 2010 07:43
Meet Susy King of Wilmington. Susy was the first Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty home seller to sign up to participate in our Coldwell Banker Buyer Bonus program.
By participating the the Buyer Bonus program, King is offering buyers a refund of 3 percent (up to $8,000) of the purchase price at closing. That's great news for home buyers, because it means less cash that they'll need when they close on their home.

For more information about 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath condominium in The Village at Mayfaire that Susy is selling, please visit

To search for homes participating in the Coldwell Banker Buyer Bonus program or to read program details, please visit


Buying | Realtor | Selling

Local TV News Features Sea Coast Agent Shannon Lee

by seacoast_ashley 3. May 2010 07:48
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty's own Shannon Lee was featured on WWAY News Friday as she helped her client, Lisa, search for a home just hours before the expiration of the federal home buyer tax credit.
This morning Shannon tells us that she and Lisa did get a home under contract before midnight Friday, so Lisa will get the $6,500 tax credit for repeat home buyers!

If you missed the Friday deadline for the tax credit, it's still not too late to save. Now, home buyers can save up to $8,000 when they buy homes participating in the Coldwell Banker Buyer Bonus sales event. The program has fewer restrictions than the federal tax credit, but it only lasts until July 31, 2010.

Click here for details or call 1-800-522-3624.



Home Sales Boosted by Homebuyer Tax Credit

by seacoast_ashley 26. April 2010 08:00

Buyers responding to the homebuyer tax credit and favorable affordability conditions boosted existing-home sales in March, marking the beginning of an expected spring surge, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, rose 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million units in March from 5.01 million in February, and are 16.1% above the 4.61 million-unit level in March 2009.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said it is encouraging to see a broad home sales recovery in nearly every part of the country, with two important underlying trends.

“Sales have been above year-ago levels for nine straight months, and inventory has trended down from year-ago levels for 20 months running,” he said. “The home buyer tax credit has been a resounding success as these underlying trends point to a broad stabilization in home prices. This is preserving perhaps $1 trillion in largely middle class housing wealth that may have been wiped out without the housing stimulus measure.”

Total housing inventory at the end of March rose 1.5% to 3.58 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.0-month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 8.5-month supply in February. Raw unsold inventory is 1.8% below a year ago, and is 21.7% below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.

“Foreclosures have been feeding into the inventory pipeline at a fairly steady pace and are being absorbed manageably,” Yun said. “In fact, foreclosures are selling quickly, especially in the lower price ranges that are attractive to first-time home buyers.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 44% of homes in March, up from 42% in February. Investors accounted for 19% of transactions in March, unchanged from February; the remaining sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales remain elevated at 27% in March, the same as in February.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,700 in March, up 0.4% from March 2009. Distressed homes, typically sold at a 15% discount, accounted for 35% of sales last month—unchanged from February.

“With home values stabilizing, a revival in home buying confidence will likely help the housing market get back on its feet even as the tax credit impact disappears,” Yun said.

Single-family sales up 7.3%Single-family home sales rose 7.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in March from a level of 4.36 million in February, and are 13.3% above the 4.13 million level a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $170,700 in March, up 0.6% from March 2009.

Single-family median prices rose in 14 out of 20 metropolitan statistical areas reported in March in comparison with a year earlier. Five metro areas experienced double-digit increases, including San Diego, St. Louis and Boston.

Condo sales up 3.1%Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 3.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 in March from 650,000 in February, and are 39.3% higher than the 481,000-unit level in March 2009. The median existing condo price was $170,600 in March, which is 0.7% below a year ago.

Regional home salesRegionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast increased 6.0% to an annual level of 890,000 in March and are 25.4% higher than a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $249,800, up 8.9% from March 2009.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 7.2% in March to a pace of 1.19 million and are 15.5% above March 2009. The median price in the Midwest was $139,300, up 0.2% from a year ago.
In the South, existing-home sales increased 7.1% to an annual level of 1.97 million in March and are 13.9% higher than a year ago. The median price in the South was $154,800, up 5.2% from March 2009.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 6.6% to an annual rate of 1.30 million in March and are 14.0% above March 2009. The median price in the West was $209,400, down 7.9% from a year ago.

Source: NAR &

Published: April 22, 2010

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (R).
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.


News | Realtor

The dance begins: Negotiation to buy a home

by seacoast_ashley 21. April 2010 08:18

Provided by Coldwell Banker®

You've found the home of your dreams. So how do you snatch it for the price you're willing to pay? Making an offer is an art.

You could offend a seller with an unreasonably low price or reference out-of-date market information, says Bob Irwin, author of the book "Tips and Traps When Negotiating Real Estate."

Of course there is no one, surefire tactic, but here are some common tips for gaining the upper hand:

Learn about the seller's situation.
Having a clear understanding of the seller's big picture will help you determine how badly or quickly he or she needs to sell the home. That may indicate how much room exists to adjust your bid price, says Julie Reynolds, spokeswoman for

Does the seller have a contingent offer on another home that depends on this deal? Are they selling to relocate for a job? Are they trying to avoid foreclosure? Is the family emotionally attached to the house?

A seller who owns the house without a mortgage may be able to accept a slightly lower price than an owner who has to pay off a hefty loan upon a sale.

Research nearby sales prices.
It's important to do your homework to find out how much comparable houses in the area are selling for and how many days they're on the market. The more recent the sale, the better the benchmark. There are a variety of websites that offer this information, including,, and

Survey the house.
Sure, it may look like the home you've always imagined you would grow old in, but be on the lookout for red flags that can lead to big problems down the road, such as black mold, cracked foundations or roof decay. You can ask the seller to price the cost of the repairs into the deal.

"At the end of the day, the house may not be worth it when you realize its true condition," Irwin said. "Know what you're buying."

Don't low-ball.
Don't insult the seller with a price that is far too low, especially if the house has just been listed for sale. You don't want to short-circuit negotiations from the get-go. Be realistic and offer a price below what they're asking but above what they would balk at.

Don't be desperate.
No matter how small the selection, you shouldn't decide that a particular house is the only one for you. By remaining detached you will be less likely to pay top dollar and will be in a better negotiating position.

Get pre-qualified.
Know what you can afford, and remember that you may have to put down a large percentage of the purchase price. A preapproval letter from a lender shows you are serious and able to come through on the deal.

Negotiate closing and escrow costs.
Closing costs include things like city and county property taxes, attorney fees, title and insurance. This is an area open to negotiation that can save you a lot of money, but can also feel like an endgame in chess. If the seller doesn't have an obligation to pay off their mortgage once the deal closes, they may be more likely to budge on this.

Request contingencies.
Ask for a reasonable period of time for a home inspection and title approval, as well as geological and pest reports. You may be able to use information from those reports to justify a lower price.
Meanwhile, find out if you are allowed a loan contingency in the contract that will protect you until the deal is closed.

"Buyers are often going into negotiations assuming that they'll be able to renegotiate based on what inspections will show," Irwin said. "It's a buying strategy that many people use, and the seller may even expect that."

Strike while the iron's hot.
Real estate is often highly competitive. Act quickly if the deal is good, or else someone else will. Visit many homes so that you'll recognize what you want when you see it. Even in a slow market, it's a bad idea to procrastinate.

Consider a fixer-upper.
If you find you're priced out of the market, you may be able to find a home in a good neighborhood that's in poor condition. If you're willing to put the sweat and a little more money into it, it could be worth your while.


Buying | Realtor


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