Home Buying Tips in 2022: The List Price

This is not the price that the seller actually wants, it's the start of their auction.


The first hurdle that everyone encounters when buying a home in the East Bay is mentally preparing to make an offer over the list price. There are the very few situations where the list price is what the seller actually wants, but focusing on those rare occasions doesn't help you prepare properly for what you're likely to encounter.


If that's not the price the seller wants, then why put that number there?


The East Bay real estate market has been under pricing homes for about the last decade as demand grew after the Great Recession, so changing this would require an industry change as a whole. Otherwise, buyers currently in the market would continue to assume that sellers want more than what is listed.


Sellers that attempt to list their homes transparently, the price they actually want, usually see less interest initially and take longer to sell since every experienced buyer assumes that the seller's expectations are higher.


I wish transparent pricing was the norm as it would make the entire purchase process so much more efficient and less emotionally taxing for buyers, but that's not the reality of the market. A good agent will help you understand what to look for besides the easy to spot well marketed homes.


The best thing for new home buyers looking in the East Bay is to look at recently sold home prices. This is the actual price homes have closed for that people paid after any negotiations. It sounds simple, but too often buyers focus on the list price and not what the home is actually worth.


Looking at some sold prices can be misleading when you see a home that sold less than most. Those are usually fixers or come with tenants.


In essence plan mentally for a competitive auction and if you encounter something easier consider yourself lucky.