In this market where buyers are very discretionary in making the decision of what house to buy, it is imperative that sellers pay close attention to what their agent is telling them about the price they set on their home. It is unfortunate that some agents will tell sellers what they think they want to hear with a total disregard to what the house is really worth, just to get the listing. This is not only unprofessional, but does a tremendous disservice to the seller because they will net less than if the house were priced right to begin with. A home is worth the most when it first hits the market and if it is overpriced from the start, the seller just gets into the discount business and chases the market down.
An experienced agent should know what price will attract an offer and if necessary, get pricing opinions from other top agents. They should also explain to the seller that they have to be willing to react to what the market tells them within the first three weeks of being on the market. There are agents, especially in the upper end, that will put a home on the market for unrealistic prices with the hope of attracting buyers which they can put into other homes, and they will start beating up the seller on price month after month, until it sells or the frustrated seller takes it off the market. There are agents that have a history of this behavior. If a home is worth $2 million and is first offered at $3 million but finally sells six months later at $2.01 mill, that's 67% of original list price. If priced right to begin with and sold quickly, the seller would have come out way ahead of what they end up with, not to mention the emotional aspect of having your home on the market for months on end. We recently saw a home where the consensus of viewing agents was that the home was several million dollars overpriced!
There has never been a time when the experience, knowledge and track record of an agent has been more important. A good question for sellers is to ask an agent before listing with them is what their list to sales ratio has been, and if it is under 80% they should interview other agents with a better track record.