By Scott Gaertner, Associate Broker

One of the most common questions that I get lately is, “What is my home worth?” I love answering that question in this crazy market.

What I love about it is that I get to say to people, “I sell three times more homes in your area than anyone else, and I can tell you with conviction that I have no idea what your home is worth!”

But better than anyone else, I can tell you how to find out. Let me try and explain.

Real estate markets swing like the arc of a pendulum with extreme buyers’ markets on one side of the arc to extreme sellers’ markets on the other. We have seen both edges of the arc recently with the buyers’ side back around 2011, and the sellers’ side right now. I generally can tell you within dollars what your home is worth in the middle of the arc markets. In these “edge” markets, it gets much trickier to figure out
the value because all the home’s variables become exaggerated at the edges. We had a good example last month that might give you a real-world idea of how the pricing process can go.

In October, we met with a Canadian couple who wanted to sell their home because it has become too hard for them to travel back and forth to Canada. Their home was a popular floorplan with a three-car garage, in a popular community, but it did back to a road. (Road lots affect pricing dramatically in most markets.) These folks wanted to sell quickly so we established a “floor price” that I was comfortable we wouldn’t sell below. They said they would be very happy if we could sell for that price. The sellers had some things they wanted to do to prepare for sale, so we had a few weeks before we would get it on the market.

During the time the home was being prepped some interesting things happened:

• We sold a listing backing to a much busier road than the one their home backed to with very little discount penalty.

• We had a similar-sized listing sell much higher than we had expected, and I sensed pricing may be taking
another surge upward.

• I realized there had not been a three-car garage sale in that community for quite a while. I suspected that there had been more pent-up demand for a three-car garage than usual.

As a result of these events, I called the buyers and asked to raise their list price $50,000. They sounded a bit shell-shocked and a little skeptical but, in the end, they agreed. The week before we put the Canadian couple’s home on the market, another one of our listings in the same community—with the same floorplan—sold with four offers the first day. Since only one of the offers got the house, we now knew that there were at least three other buyers in the market who wanted this floorplan. Consequently, I called the sellers again and this time asked them to raise the list price by another $25,000. (Amazingly, this second request went much easier than the first!)

We had now raised the price $75,000 from my initial valuation. The result was that the Canadians’ home sold for $100,000 above the new list price, and it went to one of the three buyers who wanted the home listed the week before. So, to be clear, a couple who lived in another country called me because I am the expert in the area and should know the values. When I answered their initial question of “What is my home worth?” I missed by $175,000.

If you would like to hear a lot more about pricing, including a trick we did this summer that had a listing sell $250,000 higher than expected, go to

If you’d like to get a free, quick, automated home valuation on your home go to

If you need a more accurate estimation, give us a call at 480-634-5000. We would love to help!

Pro Tip: Don’t forget, despite what happened in this example, overpricing a home even in a strong sellers’ market like this, can be a disastrously expensive mistake.

Scott Gaertner is an Associate Broker with Keller Williams Northeast, who for the past 25+ years has helped more people to find their lifestyle niche in the Scottsdale North area than anyone else. He also contributes his thoughts on lifestyle interests in the area.