Pricing Psychology & the “Too-Precise” Price

Quick, which home is priced more carefully: the one that’s $425,000, or the competitor down the street that’s $424,975?

You’d certainly guess the latter . . . and you’d be wrong.

It’s simply not possible to price real estate with the exactitude of a pound of hamburger, or a tank of gas; even when the “comp’s” (comparable sold properties) are what I like to call exceptionally “tight” (vs. loose), the allowed range is still 2% – 3%, give or take.

Going back to the hypothetical $425k property discussed above, that’s translates into a swing of $10k – $15k. Where in that range the ultimate selling price falls depends on a host of situation-specific factors: the Buyer’s subjective attachment to the home; how well the home is staged and marketed; the Seller’s patience (or lack thereof); micro-trends affecting nearby supply and demand, etc.

So why use an artificially precise number instead of a round number?

Two reasons: 1) it stands out; and 2) it suggests greater precision, which may make Buyers believe the price is more accurate — and firmer.

My take?

Experienced Realtors see the “too-precise price” for what it is — a gimmick — and tend to avoid it (thankfully, I’ve yet to see the $424,974.23 home!).

P.S.: as I’ve also previously blogged, sales gimmicks are like cockroaches: you seldom see just one.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
2 Responses
  1. Ross Kaplan

    No, not shady. Perhaps just a louder . . style.

    Certainly, as a Realtor, your job is to get attention for the properties you’re hired to sell.

    The problem is that when everyone starts to yell — witness all the overly flattering online photos now — you have to scream to get heard over the din.

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