Pitfalls of House Pride
We are coming to that time of year where people see what their neighbors have gotten for their recent house sale and think, “If so-and-so got X, then I should be able to get more because my house is so much better!”
That is a common phenomenon called “house pride” and it can hold sellers back from a pricing strategy that will garner them more money. When you list a home above the market value, the seller undoubtedly leaves money on the table. In fact, it has been said that for every price reduction, you may leave 3 percent or more on the table. Getting it right the first time when you have all the momentum of being a new listing is monumental. It’s true that in this strong seller’s market price reductions are rare but that doesn’t mean you can’t go sideways with the strategy.
What is house pride? According to the dictionary, pride is “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” House pride is a strong attachment to one’s abode usually also with pride in home maintenance. We can have strong feelings of self-worth associated from the appearance of our home and it’s not a bad thing, just something to think about when selling your home. Our identities are strongly attached to where we live.
Post-Covid, I see people become even more attached to their homes (after all, we spent a long time staring at the walls!) and as they improve their homes, the pride in them grows stronger. I think that the attachment to our homes creates a sense of "our house is better than my neighbors”, almost like how we are biologically prone to think our babies are cuter. It’s a rationalization of our decisions and it must be a great place to live because we have chosen to call it home. When faced with the prospect of selling, we see the good points and the features that elevate the home, and not the downsides or things that might diminish its value in someone else's eyes.
As humans, we like things that are more familiar and you simply stop seeing it clearly the longer you have lived in the house. I know this because sometimes I come home and look at my house through eyes of a real estate professional. (Then, out comes the Magic Eraser - Eek!) When you hire a realtor, you are hiring someone who can look at your home objectively, compare the features of the home to recent sales and assess how to price in order to attract more buyers.
Don’t let house pride come before the fall!