Many agents prepare a "Comparative Market Analysis" which is known in the industry as a CMA, to help establish a realistic price range for a home. Although the format varies somewhat with each company and from agent to agent, a CMA is basically a written report that includes:
A review of 2 to 4 comparable properties in the immediate area that are currently on the market. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size, architectural style, tax assessment, number of days on the market, starting price and current asking price are all indicated. A review of comparables that have closed in the past 6 to 9 months, with final selling price.
The key to remember about a CMA is that, if properly researched, it will give you the hard numbers necessary to reach a realistic pricing decision. The price range you get from an agent using CMA may well be lower than what you get from agents who don't use one, but the odds are strong that your house will actually sell in the CMA suggested range, rather than at the higher price. And it will sell quicker because the CMA emphasizes market reality, not the upper limit price many of us prefer to hear.
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