When selling your house, list at $299k instead of $301k

In a piece on selling your home in a hurry, Money Magazine staff reporter Beth Braverman offers some good tips -- but then there's this clunker: "And set your home at the lowest end of its price range; a $299,000 home will seem expensive to a buyer in the $250,000 to $300,000 range, but a $301,000 home is a deal to someone looking between $300,000 and $350,000."

I asked Alison Rogers, author of Diary of a Real Estate Rookie, about that bit of advice and her response was candid: "Well that's a bunch of crap. Everyone wants to live as well as possible, so buyers tend toward the very top of their range because that way they get the nicest home. Also, if you're taking a fixed-rate mortgage, your agent will encourage you to stretch because the assumption is that the majority of your housing costs are fixed while your income should hopefully rise over the period of the mortgage."

The other problem is this: When people look for homes online -- which is how most people look for homes -- they often will put in parameters for how much they're willing to spend. If you list your home at $301,000, you will lose all the buyers looking to spend under $300,000 -- even though you'd probably be able to sell the home for $295,000.

"The properties that we have been taking to contract this spring have been properties where we lowered the price just under an internet search break point," added Rogers, a New York City real estate agent.

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