Mike Explains: Listing Price Strategies

Imagine, if you will: you list your home in a hot seller’s market, and you expect a bidding war. But when it goes on the market, all you hear is crickets. Or worse, you get one offer at full asking price, yet you were counting on getting more.

You were advised to “list low and watch frantic buyers bid it up,” but now all you have is an offer at the asking price that is lower than you are willing to accept. That is a problem. What do you do now? 

To better understand sales pricing strategies, choosing a listing price is more than just picking the value. It is strategic.  

The three most common listing price strategies include: 

The list low to create activity strategy to use when the property is listed below the anticipated sales price with the expectation of generating a bidding war, thus driving up the sales price.


May have a quicker sale and keep the sense of urgency.

Buyers may get excited from the competition and bid higher than otherwise.

Generate better terms under the competition of multiple buyers.

Creates a buyer vs. buyer dynamic, instead of a buyer vs. seller.


It may be possible for the property to not get bid up.

Many frustrated buyers don’t want to get involved in a bidding war.

Buyers who feel they overbid will often try to renegotiate during the contingency period.

The list high and negotiate down strategy is where the property is listed above the anticipated sales price with the expectation of negotiating down.


You may have a chance to “test the market”.

The buyer may feel like a winner.


May cause the property to be compared to superior properties. 

May accrue excessive Days on Market – reduces the sense of urgency and may cause some buyers to wonder what is wrong with it.

May cause agents to ask for lower offers compromising sellers in negotiations. 

Creates a buyer vs. seller dynamic instead of a buyer vs. buyer.

Too large a gap between asking and sold price may mean that a buyer who would have paid more missed out.

May have a less predictable time on the market. 

The just right or Goldilocks strategy, and is where the property is listed as close to the anticipated sales price as possible.


Is it straightforward and less complicated?

May allow more confidence in negotiations.


Tough if you are unsure of the property value. 

Some people may feel the need to negotiate everything.

There is not a single best strategy for every situation. There are many variables like the particular property, the people involved, and the specific market. Sometimes, you may start with one strategy and must adjust to another. How you pivot and adjust may have more to do with your success than the strategy you start with.

In the end, you can do the same thing twice and get different results or you can take to different approaches and end up in the same place.   

It helps to understand the different approaches and your specific situation to come up with what is best for you. This is where you should seek the advice and wisdom of an experienced agent. They will be best suited to advise you through this ever-changing real estate game.

Dunfee Real Estate Services

DRE # 02026232

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