Is it best to use the overall housing statistics to determine the best asking price for a 3 bedroom townhome?

Asked by Denise, Franklin Park, NJ Fri Jan 9, 2009

Am I comparing apples to apples or apples and oranges? I've looked at the selling prices of the townhomes in my development; however, not sure if I should include all housing or only--LIKE housing--in my area to decide a fair asking price. Our unit is in great condition, 15 years old. Thanks again for your expertise. Denise

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Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Hi Denise,

As a Realtor and Appraiser, I can tell you that the only data that really matters is the sales from your complex. When a buyer is deciding on an offer for your unit, they will be looking at closed sales from your development to come up with a value. Other data is supplementary and interesting, but recent closed sales data from your specific complex is what really matters.

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
Service area: Northern NJ
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David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Fri Feb 6, 2009
why not just pay for an appraisal? Marc always gives good answers, see how much he charges. It might save you money in the long run.
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Jeffrey Halp…, Agent, Hopatcong, NJ
Fri Feb 6, 2009
Do you have to sell?
if so, your pricing strategy has to reflect the buying public. Pricing anything at the ...99's or 49's does not work. Todays buyers come from the internet using search criterias of 50k increments. (look online yourself) When you place your home at where you are, look at our competition on the market now and what has sold in the last 2 weeks, and price your home at the ..00 or ..50 below that. Placing your home price at either the 00's or 50's allows 2 markets to view it. Those looking above or below. Pricing at home at the 99's is for newspaper use only. Very limited exposure for a buying public (just 3%).
The buyer is looking for value (that is what they want - it really does not matter what you want or need). If it is priced too high, then you will know by the lack of showings and 0 offers, but if it is priced under your competition, you will get multiple bids which will bring the price up to where it is valued at and a sale. (Better to get multiple bids than none at all)
This will allow you to move on and take advantage of a buyers market on your end.
But I go back to my initial question: "Do you have to sell?" If your answer is no, then do not sell it..
Good luck! And call or email me if you would like some assistance.
Jeffrey David Halpern, CSP
Broker Associate
Prudential New Jersey Properties
64 Diamond Spring Road
Denville,NJ 07834
Phone: (973) 625-1250 x143
Fax: (973) 625-1672
Cell & Txt:: (201) 317-7527

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Carmelo Oliv…, , Oradell, NJ
Tue Feb 3, 2009
In todays depreciating market it is imperative to focus on the "sold" units in your complex and ones in the same town. The sold's will give in a clear indication of what buyers are willing to pay for your home, actives wouldnt be active if priced right. Find yourself a reputable realtor who knows and understands the market and interview a few of them. Hope this helps
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Christine Ma…, Agent, Reseda, CA
Fri Jan 23, 2009
As you can see, Denise, we each have our own way of evaluating the market. For instance, I typically we review all the active/under contract, expired and units sold within 3-6 months to get a picture of what's going on in a given area. Typically with townhomes, I look at the statisttics on all townhomes in an entire town first (due to my current/previous clients buying habits of looking at "any" townhome within a town - not just by development) from that I review recent sales within the development. I use the broad to narrow approach to get an idea of how a particular development compares with the town's statistics. That being said I suggest a price range that reflects what the market is willing to pay and where the unit should be priced.

Previewing the competition helps in deciding where your property fits - because of the emotional attachment to your unit, you may feel it's "better" than others. By visually seeing the competition, you will get a more realistic picture of how your property's condition compares from a buyers perspective. As always, this is typically the job of your Realtor, so you may want to consider just having them do all the work so you can focus on the other things in life.

Christine Markow
ERA Statewide Realty
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John Sacktig, Agent, New Jersey, NJ
Fri Jan 9, 2009

When I do a CMA for a client, I do the actual comparison that the development has for sold, expired, under contract and attorney review within 1 year. Yes, 1 year.. this way we can actually take a looka t all of it.. the ups and downs.. what each unit has and so on. Then we talk about your unit and your motivation in selling.

I am a "financial guy" and I feel that the comparables sit differently in my hands then others.. why? because I will be able to help make a sound financial descision given my background in finance. I am not going to tell you to list your house for 400k if the real value is 340k it is not worth my time and energy to market this property if it is priced incorrectly and will not sell.

Choose wisely weedhopper when interviewing you realtor.

John Sacktig
Broker / Manager
Orange Key Realty
Office: 732-863-6969
Cell: 732-213-1409

John Sacktig
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William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Fri Jan 9, 2009
No,No, No- Do not compare "over-all" statistics. Each unit is somewhat different, as are the motives of the seller. This can range from distressed, to estate sale, to the unfortunate "I know what my house is worth" guy who is 40% higher than anyone will pay.

What you need to do is sit down with a good Realtor, review the history of your area and your particular unit and come up with a marketing plan. The plan might include testing the market at the high end of what your place is worth and then adjusting to the market. While we have been in a pickle for some time now, as you probably know, a couple of years ago you could actually RAISE the price based on what was going on. The best answer is to get a Realtor who will team with you and be honest about what you've got and what people want, based on conditions that will be developing during your market effort.

Good Luck!
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Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Fri Jan 9, 2009
When Realtors prepare comparative market analyses we look at the closed sales that have happened most recently with properties that are most similar to the subject property.

The number of bedrooms/baths are important along with things like basements and garages. And, in single family homes, the size of the lot is also important. Finally, condition is taken into consideration.

We can then adjust for the lack of a bedroom, smaller lot size, etc with market statistics.

It is not something we can do quickly without a lot of research, or without knowing the market we service. That's why it is good to get an agent to prepare a CMA for you. You can look at the information on the internet yourself, but you could be comparing apples to oranges and not even realize it!

Call a few agents in your area and see what they recommend. Then, your motivation comes into play. How quickly do you want to sell? All these factors come into play when determining a sales price.

Good luck!
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Randy Schwei…, , Sarasota, FL
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Good morning Denise. At no obligation, I would engage a local, professional realtor to answer your questions and give you a realistic value. Not sure if you are just curious or really wish to sell your townhome. You mention LIKE housing; I assume you mean comparing your house to only townhomes. Although 'location,location, location' is important, in today's market with fewer and less motivated buyers, 'price, price, price' is foremost in many buyer's or investor's minds. In a slower & declining market one can only look at sales within a 1/2--1 mile radius in the past 2-3 months to arrive at a current value . Is your development stable with few turnovers of property; how many foreclosures or short sales (can greatly affect the appraisal) in the neighborhood; have your neighborhood values leveled off or are they still declining; what is the lowest, median, and highest priced recent sale for a comparable unit; how is the job market in your area and city; is the population increasing or decreasing; and the list goes on in providing a realistic price.

If you were wishing to sell at this time and need to sell soon, one should price their house at the very bottom of the comps or perhaps slightly lower to draw attention to potential buyers and get immediate exposure.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

Randy Schweitzer, Sarasota, FL
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Elizabeth And…, , Belle Mead, NJ
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Hi Denise,

You're likely comparing apples to apples if your using recent sale prices. But, since real estate is driven "locally", it's best to sit down with a licensed realtor and go over your particular area to come up with the best price.
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Fri Jan 9, 2009
GREAT QUESTION: however you need a realtor to comp the property, WHY appraisers and realtors use MLS past 6 months of sales without these stat's you could either over / under price your home. There are many other factors that come into play when working on correct list price.

Keep in mind if you are doing a FSBO you need to follow all state law requirements to sale a home if not you can be sued. Many seasoned buyers look for FSBO therefore they take advantage of these sellers, using a realtor you are covered under their e & o insurance .
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Karen Berg, Agent, Queen Creek, AZ
Fri Jan 9, 2009
Hi Denise,
That is definitely a great place to start! Most Realtors in your area will consult with you at no charge to help you determine what is best. If there are a lot of foreclosures in your development, the foreclosure prices will drive the values, even in units that may not be considered "like housing".
All the best to you in getting your home sold!
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