The selling success of higher priced homes – Part 1

By Elizabeth Erickson | Apr 10, 2013

You might be surprised to find out what defines a ‘premier’ or ‘masterpiece’ or similarly labeled higher-priced property. It’s not simply price alone, because the same price in Puget Sound might equate to a starter home in San Francisco.

It’s price combined with quality, condition, and quality of views – those factors add up to create the ‘wow’ factor that earns special designations.

What everyone can agree on is that in nearly every region of the country, higher priced home values have been decimated over the last four years or so. With few such homes available, this could be the time to recoup some losses.

The following are a few keys to help homeowners reach that goal.

Setting the price

Setting the price is the first challenge with so few recent sales. Finding that ‘sweet spot’ on the bat of an appropriate range is more challenging.

Since no two custom homes are exact, there’s ‘addition’ for quality, ‘subtraction’ for less view, addition for location, addition for the school district, and addition for newer or remodeled.

Blending these factors provides a seasoned broker an instinctive range for a suggested fair market value. That may have little relationship to tax valuation, Zillow, or your neighbor’s recent (but dissimilar) sale.

Inflated tax valuations mirrored the market insanity, which reached a pinnacle in 2008-09 and have been adjusting downward. In the higher end, tax de-valuations are an extremely inaccurate measure.

In the actual real estate market place (where buyers and sellers negotiate) true values are quicker to respond; currently they’re increasing from their low tax valuations.

Focusing on tax values to establish ‘true market value’ is especially inaccurate for higher end homes with far fewer sales data in that one-of-a-kind niche.

Home presentation

Presentation of your home is, initially, the most important part your broker controls, such as through professional photography, quality brochure, video tour and advertising.

And what about presentation to selling brokers and their buyers? Expensive homes do not need nor should they have a key box, open houses nor brokers opens.

“But that will limit showings!” your agent may argue. Yes, to the unqualified. Every buyer’s broker with a qualified buyer will call your agent for an appointment, guaranteed.

Having lights on, fireplace lit and opened shades add an immeasurable value in marketing. “But I don’t have that time,” you say. Your response should be “And the commission for listing my house is again, how much?”

Sellers prepare their home for showings. The listing agent’s presence at every showing to point out finer points and answer boundary and local questions is a professional courtesy to both the owner and to buyers. No one will know the details of the home better than the listing agent.

The reality is that there are fewer qualified buyers equating to fewer, qualified showings. The goal is not the number of cards on the counter, but the measurable qualified buyers’ feedback.

To be continued: Part II is set to publish in the May 8 issue of The Beacon.

Elizabeth Erickson is owner and designated broker of Gallery Homes Real Estate. Contact her at or at the office: 425-212-4300 or direct: 425-508-1405, or go to

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