My fellow real estate agents will hate me for this post, more the reason you, my non-agent friend, must read it.
Are you looking to buy a home? What’s your price range?
Whatever your price range, look at homes priced up to 10% higher! You can find a home you love at a great price. This strategy works if you have time, patience, persistence and an agent who is not shy about negotiating.
This is not a suggestion simply based on a few anecdotal stories, but statistics. Looking at the ratio of sale price to list price (SP:LP), you learn the final sale price of a house compared to the asking price. This ratio was 95% in Brookline and 96% in Newton in 2011. But there is a ratio I like even better: sale price to the original asking price (SP:OP) . From this number you learn the final sale price as a percent of the asking price before it was reduced. This number is obviously lower, at 91% in Brookline, 93% in Newton.
On average, a houses in Brookline in 2011 sold for 9% LESS than their original asking price, and 5% LESS than the final asking price. For example, a house went on market for $1,650,000. Over time, the price was reduced to $1,580,500, and finally sold for $1,501,500. A buyer who can pay up to $1.5 could have seen this house, waited 125 days (average market time in Brookline in 2011), and bought it.
This means the house was overpriced. Not all the houses will be overpriced when put on the market at $1,650,000. These days, they may even sell for over asking. But on average, if the house prices in Brookline in 2011 sold for 9% less than the original asking, you should be looking at homes priced higher than you can afford.
Please have your agent check the SP:LP and SP:OP ratios for your area and neighborhood. We can search it by zip codes, price ranges, types of homes, etc. Adjust your search criteria accordingly. Note that usually the higher the price range, the lower the ratio (larger price differential).