Ask McEnearney Jean Beatty 1.21.21

There is a delicate balance in the real estate industry when it comes to pricing a home. If a home is underpriced, you might feel you were cheated of your home’s true value. But in actuality, overpricing would be much worse. 

We are currently in a seller’s market, and when a home is overpriced, it tends to sit on the market. This makes potential buyers wonder what is wrong with it. As soon as they walk through the door (if they even walk through the door at all), they start to pick apart every little thing that they see. When the time comes to make an offer, they will ask for a lower price and more concessions and contingencies than you bargained for.

That is why choosing an experienced Realtor who knows the market as your listing agent is key to getting top dollar for your home. A good agent can use the tools in her arsenal to study the market and give you a good estimate of your home’s value. Through CMAs or Comparable Market Analysis, she will give you a potential range of your house’s worth, and together, you can find the best list price.

The other way to ensure that you receive top dollar for your property is to make a great first impression. The three keys for a great first impression are clean, uncluttered, and depersonalized. 

You might not always be able to afford to remodel your house prior to selling. So, if it can’t be brand new, it should be brand new clean, especially in those areas that tend to be forgotten in routine housework. The difference in light in a room with freshly washed windows would amaze you!

As for decluttering, unless you live an austere lifestyle, half of the things in your home need to be removed prior to selling. This means half the clothes in your closet, half of the appliances in your kitchen, and half of the furniture in your rooms. In this case, less really is more. Hiring a storage unit for a couple of months will yield a much greater return on your investment.

Finally, your house needs to be depersonalized. Unfortunately, this means that all family photographs and religious artwork should be removed. Those items have a very personal meaning to you, but they don’t mean as much to the people who enter your house. You want potential buyers to be able to see themselves living in that space, and taste-specific items make that difficult. 

It is important to remember though that your house can be as pristine and magazine-like as it has ever been, but if it is overpriced, it will not sell. This is where you need to take a leap of faith, and trust in your agent’s advice about the list price. You hired them for their expertise, so you should listen to it.

In the current market if your home is listed in the sweet spot, a multiple-offer bidding war is sure to follow. This puts you in a much better position to get the price you want for your home without any concessions or contingencies.

Jean Beatty is a licensed real estate agent in VA, MD, and DC with McEnearney Associates Realtors® in McLean, VA. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today's complex market, contact Jean at 301-641-4149 or visit her website

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: or call 703.549.9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreMcEnearney

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