Real estate tip: Know thy market

Midtown Kansas City real estate marketsponsored post by Lauren Hruby and Scott DeVouton

It’s time to list your home.  As you do, it’s important to understand what goes into market value.  You have control over some factors, but others are out of your hands.  Knowing your market will help determine your financial position.  It will also help you manage logistics such as move-out date and necessary repairs.

 You Can Control…

In this column, we’ve talked about regular maintenance and repairs, but you also have control over improvements made and not made.  A home in great condition will put you in the top tier of market value in your neighborhood.  Sometimes improvements can bump value up even more, but understand that other improvements, especially taste-specific improvements, won’t move home value up much, if any.

You also control asking price.  This is crucial.  Your realtor has access to a wealth of information regarding comparable sales in your area, which drive market value.  Take advantage of this.  If you set your asking price too high, the market will let you know right away.  You risk becoming a stagnant listing.  Too low, and you will leave money on the table.

Finally, you control marketing strategy.  A smartly priced home in great condition will mean nothing if buyers and other realtors do not know about it.  You and your realtor have complete control over your communication strategy.  Make sure your home is pushed into the market, through as many channels as is practical, right as you list.

You Can’t Control…

Unfortunately, there are factors you cannot control.  Understand these factors, in order to have a realistic, unemotional vision of what price you can expect for your home.

Buyer power and the location of your home are huge.  According to the National Association of Realtors, location is the top buyer factor in deciding what home to purchase, followed by length of commute to work and school.  This is why comparable sales create market value. You and your realtor will assess these “comps” for your area, then determine a reasonable listing price. Understand that your home, sometimes despite wonderful improvements, may not fetch much more than other homes of similar size in your area.

Desired home size is another factor you cannot control.  If someone needs an extra bedroom to accommodate an elderly relative, and you have a beautiful one-bedroom bungalow, the math doesn’t add up.  Flipping this around, you should assess your space and then determine what market segments might need what you have.  Your one-bedroom home may be desirable to a large number of empty-nesters or first-time home-buyers.  Speak to people for whom your home would be the perfect fit.

Finally, there are always trendy amenities, such as granite counter-tops over the last decade, that markets find desirable.  You can’t control trends.  If your home happens to have a functioning raised garden, for example, you could luck out if urban farming is popular in your area.  Sometimes it even makes sense to invest in a trendy amenity, to bump your home into a particular price range or to compete with other homes listed in your neighborhood.  However, it’s important to think carefully about the cost vs. benefit of any improvement made in preparation for listing.  Your realtor can be a great resource.

Be Real, Sell Faster…

Listing your home is a big deal, a major life event.  As a homeowner, you can and should take steps to ensure you sell for the highest price possible.  However, you can’t control everything.  Some market factors are out of your hands.  Know what’s in and out of your domain, assess the facts, and work with what you have.  If you approach listing your home from this perspective, you will likely sell faster at a price that doesn’t surprise you.

Lauren and Scott are with Lauren Hruby Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC.  They work with people looking to sell or buy a home in the Kansas City area.  For more information, visit or call 816-529-6174.

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