Buying a new car is, for most people, a major purchase. First, you compare features, design, mileage and dependability. You identify several suitable makes and models, and then compare price. With all features and benefits being equal, would you choose the most expensive or look to the one offering the best value?

You wouldn’t pay more than you have to — and homebuyers are no different.

When selling your home, the asking price determines your success. Although you and only you make the pricing decision, it is wise to approach your Realtor for advice.

Your agent knows what buyers have been willing to pay for other homes similar to yours. Your price must be competitive against those, and no higher. Buyers often pay full price when they recognize a good value, yet rarely consider an overpriced home.

Really, it is the buyers who set the sale price. No matter what you ask, until a buyer is willing to pay your price, no sale will take place.

How do you determine the right price? Look closely at each sale that your Realtor has researched, comparing time on the market, features, financing offered and then the final sale price.

Your home’s ideal price can be found in the maze of statistics provided by your Realtor. Price your home to sell, and buyers will compete for it.

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at or 805.455.8055.