It’s a common conundrum: Sellers believe their home is worth more than it is, and buyers think it’s worth less. So where is the “sweet spot” when it comes to the single most important aspect of marketing your home — setting its price?

Consider how many homes are for sale in your neighborhood. Is that number high? Then your listing price should be lower than the competition if you want to generate the most interest. Obvious, right?

But how many of those rival listings are foreclosed properties or short sale listings? The most critical factor in evaluating this type of competition is the condition in which they are offered.

Neglected homes aren’t likely to affect you, but if they are in good shape and are presented at prices 10 percent or more below market, you’ve got some hard thinking to do.

If buyers aren’t making appointments or showing up at open houses, you probably priced your home too high at the start. And if they aren’t even seeing your property, you’re obviously not going to get any offers.

Don’t hesitate to make a quick adjustment to what the market is telling you, because properties generate the most interest in the earliest stage of the listing.

Finally, give any offer strong consideration. You may counter, but these days, buyers aren’t as likely to engage in extended negotiations — they’ll just move on to the next property!

You can avoid these bitter pills by finding that “sweet spot” through competitive pricing right from the beginning.

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.