The biggest pricing mistake most sellers and agents make when selling a home

While the quantity of sales of a pack of gum in the grocery store checkout line might be greater if priced at 99¢ versus $1.00, it doesn’t work in the housing market. And now that home buyers are doing so much of their searching on their own, you cannot afford for your home to be missing from their view.

Underpricing or overpricing your home by just $1.00 could literally make the difference between selling and sitting, which is why I scratch my head when I come across new listings with dumb prices.

Now, I’m not calling anyone dumb so please don’t be offended.  I’m talking about dumb prices.  Prices that defy logic in the real estate world of today.

Let me explain:

Buyers and agents use the MLS,, Trulia and Zillow to locate homes for sale that meet their criteria. They search by area, bedroom count, school district and more.

And of course, everyone searches by price.

Typically their searches are in price ranges, like $250,000-$350,000.

Which is why you should never, ever price a home at $249,900 or $355,000.


Because the typical search happens in nice, whole rounded numbers like the example above. Pricing your home just above or just below a round number means that up to half of the potential market for your home may never even know it’s for sale.

Let’s say a buyer is qualified to spend $300,000 on a home in your area. If they’re like most buyers (or their agents), they regularly look for homes priced from $250,000-$300,000.  Maybe they even search up to $350,000 because they may hope that a home will eventually drop in price or expect that they can negotiate the price down to $300,000.

But if your home is on the market with a foolish price like $249,900 they’ll never see it in their search…only shoppers searching for less expensive properties will find it. And at $249,900 you’re at the top end of their price range.

Pricing it at $250,000 keeps you in front of the buyers searching up to that number, but also puts you in front of an entirely different market: those searching $250,000 and above.  To those buyers your home is on the low end of their search and may be a more attractive opportunity.

For instance, as of today in Novi, Michigan there are 92 homes on the market priced between $250,000-$350,000.  But there are currently 14 properties in Novi on the market priced from $240,000-$249,999 which don’t show up at all in my original search. And two more priced just above $350,000.  That means there are 16 sellers with homes on the market that are at risk of not being found by a potential buyer searching for homes in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range.

Those 16 homes on the fringe of the price range represent 17% of the inventory.

Bottom line: The old-time retail pricing tricks of yesterday are downright harmful in real estate.

You should run away fast from any agent who suggests the correct price for your home is something like $199,888, $299,999 or $349,900 or $410,000.  It’s an outdated way of thinking, and could cost you time and money.

My advice: always try to price your home at the nice, round number:  $300,000.  $325,000. $350,000.

In most cases you’ll get twice as many buyers seeing your listing and many more buyers through the front door.