Pricing Your New York Home Right

“I’ll tell you how to sell a house fast: lower the price,” so says Andy Rooney of CBS 60 minutes. While Andy Rooney’s quick answer observations are often amusing and enlightening, this one is sure not to please people who need to sell a home fast.

“Pricing a home needs to be done correctly,” states investor Patrick Koltz in upstate New York. “Real estate agents get paid a percentage of the sale price so they would prefer it to sell as high as possible. They would rather leave it on the market for a long time at a higher price in the hopes that they can drive market prices upward and eventually make out better than if they had priced it accurately and moved it quickly.”

One tool sellers can rely upon is a certified appraisal. In New York State, home prices can be researched by a licensed appraiser who has access to a number of resources. They get paid to place a dollar value on a home. Furthermore, they are independent and don’t care what you think or how you feel about the number. They do their research and use a state approved formula and method to arrive at a predictable value of your home.

Do you really need to invest $300-$500 in an appraisal? “Not if you know your neighborhood pretty well and can do your own research,” says Ray Mannion, co-owner of New York Comparables. His website reports sales data for New York Real Estate transactions including residential, commercial, agricultural or any real property sales period. “If you’ve seen 4 or 5 houses in your neighborhood sell in the past year, you can simply find out how much they sold for and then do a comparison to your own home.” Mannion’s website charges a measly $4.99 for a one day pass to research property sales in New York State. This means you can do your own appraising for a fraction of the cost of an appraisal. Searching by tax map, street name, city, municipality, and date range or price range allows the user to get a good sense of “what actually sold.” Investors, real estate agents, and mortgage professionals also use the site for discounted monthly or annual subscriptions.

“Often times, people see their neighbor’s house come on the market for $298,000 and they say – gee my house must be worth that too,” says Mannion. “What they don’t see is that it sat for 3 months and then was lowered to $274,000 and eventually sold for $260,000.” That’s why accurate information reported to the county clerk is the only true reliable source of information for assessing the value of your New York home.

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