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Pricing Your Home To sell

homes0426-1By Heather Arias

Pricing a home today is as much an art as it is a science. With tight inventory, overall prices tend to climb — giving sellers the opportunity to set higher asking prices. And climbing they are! In the first quarter of this year the median sales prices for single-family homes and condos on Oahu have reached record highs of $690,000 and $370,000, respectively.

But prices vary from neighborhood to neighborhood so the challenge lies in finding the right listing price — one that will entice the largest number of potential buyers to consider the property and secure the best price or terms for the seller. This is where an experienced real estate agent can help you.

Knowing the market and neighborhood

“To evaluate market value, we begin by analyzing recent comparable sales,” said Marcel Bekers, executive vice president of sales at Locations. “It’s called the Comparative Market Analysis, or CMA.

“A CMA analyzes the actual selling prices of other homes, not just the asking prices. These show the current market activity. If a neighborhood has a significant number of sales over the asking prices, this indicates growing value and may open the door to higher pricing.”

Sherrie Kuroda, a REALTOR and partner with Locations, has been in real estate since 2005 and focuses on properties on the west side and in town.

“One of the biggest values I bring my clients is helping them understand how their property compares with what’s sold and what’s on the market. We work together as partners to get the most money for their property, in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of stress. It’s a real partnership that I encourage — a win-win for everyone.

“I look at comps and current listings, and look for unique aspects of the home that can differentiate it or command a higher price. It’s really important to know both the competition and the current market. For example, Ewa is a desirable area on the west side, but single-family detached homes ranging from $450,000 to $600,000 are in short supply. Low inventory with high demand equals higher prices.”

Kuroda also warned of the dangers of overpricing: “Time and again I see homes that are priced too high. In the end the sellers got less for their home because buyers shied away. Statistics show that it’s better to price right from the beginning.”

Bekers agrees. “If a property is priced too high during this key period, it won’t attract the right buyers. Once the momentum is lost, it’s difficult to recover.”

Attracting the Most Buyers

A recent study shows how homeowners found their home. The results revealed that the Internet played a key role, with 52 percent of buyers finding their new home via information on the Internet.

With the Internet playing such a significant part in the home finding process, it’s important to get properties directly in front of buyers searching online during the first few weeks a home is on the market. Tom Presler, REALTOR and partner at Locations, said it’s absolutely critical to market his listings online and he works with his firm’s online marketing manager to ensure the best Internet exposure for his homes, taking into account search engine optimization (SEO) and placement on other real estate websites.

“We make sure our listings are syndicated on every real estate search site, and we do paid promotions of our listings that pushes them to the top of, Zillow. com,, Yahoo Real Estate and,” explained Presler. “We also pay to drive traffic to our corporate website from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.”˝˝˝

Kuroda agrees that online technology is critical for today’s sellers: “With the level of competition out there to get into a good property, technology and good relationships with outside brokers, and a solid reputation are tools we provide that give our buyers and sellers the advantage. We also have our Hawaii-specific mobile app and exclusive software that can email clients updated property information that matches their specific needs up to six times a day.”

Please visit to receive a free Comparative Market Analysis.

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