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  • Writer's pictureMischel Siapco

Avoid These Common Pricing Mistakes When Selling Your San Francisco Home

By Clay Gjevre

In San Francisco, homes traditionally don’t stay on the market for long, often selling in less than a month. But even in a seller's market like ours, getting the price right from the get-go is more crucial than you might think. In this blog, we’ll explore common pricing mistakes that even seasoned sellers make and how you can avoid them to sell your home quickly and at the best possible price.


When listing your home, it might be tempting to set a high price tag right out of the gate, especially in a hot market like San Francisco. However, overpricing your property can carry significant risks that could end up costing you more in the long run. The most obvious consequence? A longer time on the market. Homes priced too high often sit unsold as potential buyers pass them by for more competitively priced options. And the longer your home sits, the more likely buyers might wonder if there’s something wrong with it, even when there isn’t.

In a city like San Francisco, where listings are often deliberately underpriced to generate buzz and multiple offers, setting your price too high can actually deter potential buyers who are accustomed to this strategy. They're savvy, well-informed, and can easily spot when a home is overvalued compared to others in the neighborhood. This approach can lead to fewer showings and offers, extending the time your home spends on the market and potentially lowering the final sale price.

How do you strike the right balance and set a realistic price? The key is in the market data. By analyzing recent sales of comparable homes in your area—what we call 'comps'—you can get a clear picture of what buyers are willing to pay for a property like yours. This includes looking at the final sale prices, how long homes were on the market, and the price adjustments they underwent. Armed with this information, you can price your home competitively, making it attractive to buyers and increasing your chances of a quick, profitable sale. Remember, the goal is to make your home irresistible at first glance, and the right price is a big part of that appeal.


While overpricing can be a barrier to selling your home, setting the price too low also comes with its own set of risks. In San Francisco's dynamic market, it’s not uncommon for sellers to underprice their homes deliberately to spark a bidding war. This tactic can be effective, drawing in multiple offers that may drive the price above the initial listing. However, this strategy can backfire if the market doesn’t respond as expected, potentially leading to a final sale price that’s below your home’s true value.

Underpricing can also affect how your property is perceived. Potential buyers might wonder if there are underlying issues with the home that aren’t immediately apparent. To avoid these pitfalls, it's essential to have a thorough understanding of the market. This means not just looking at what other homes are listed for, but also what they are actually selling for. Knowing the sale prices of comparable properties gives you a clearer picture of what buyers are willing to pay and helps ensure you're not leaving money on the table.

Furthermore, understanding the true value of your property is crucial. This isn't just about the numbers—it's about recognizing the unique qualities of your home and how they align with buyer demands in your area. Whether it's the layout, the location, or specific upgrades you've made, each element can significantly influence how you should price your home. Working with a knowledgeable realtor who understands these nuances can make all the difference in setting a price that reflects your home's actual worth and attracts the right buyers.

Ignoring Market Trends

In real estate, staying informed about the current market trends is not just helpful—it’s essential. In a market as dynamic as San Francisco, trends can dictate everything from buyer behavior to the optimal listing price. For example, if there's a surge in demand for homes in a particular neighborhood due to new local amenities or improved infrastructure, not adjusting your price to reflect this could mean missing out on higher offers.

Market trends can also indicate shifts in buyer preferences, such as a growing interest in sustainable living features or flexible spaces that can serve as home offices. Ignoring these trends and pricing your property based solely on traditional valuation methods without considering these shifts can lead to your home being overlooked by potential buyers who prioritize these modern features.

Furthermore, economic factors like changes in mortgage rates or shifts in the job market can dramatically influence buyer purchasing power. If you’re not aligned with these economic conditions, you might price your home too optimistically or pessimistically, leading to prolonged sale times or lost revenue. By keeping your finger on the pulse of both local and broader economic trends, you ensure that your pricing strategy remains realistic and competitive, attracting the right buyers quickly and efficiently.

Failing to Adjust

One of the most critical aspects of selling your home is the ability to adapt your pricing strategy to the market's changing dynamics. The real estate market is inherently fluid, and what worked even a few months ago may not be effective today. Failing to adjust your price in response to market feedback and conditions is a common pitfall that can lead to your property languishing on the market.

For instance, let’s consider a real-life example from here in San Francisco. A homeowner initially listed their property at a price point that, at the time, seemed competitive. However, after several weeks without serious offers, instead of stubbornly sticking to their original asking price, they consulted market data and feedback from showings. Realizing the market had shifted slightly since their listing, they adjusted their price closer to the market expectations. This adjustment reinvigorated interest in the property, leading to multiple offers and a successful sale shortly after.

Another example involves a property that was initially overpriced in a rapidly cooling market segment. The sellers quickly recognized the shift through ongoing evaluations and made several small price adjustments downward over the first month. These adjustments kept the listing competitive and visible in search results, ultimately attracting a buyer who might have overlooked the property had the price remained static.

These examples highlight the importance of responsiveness and flexibility in real estate pricing. By regularly reviewing your pricing strategy and being willing to make adjustments based on current market conditions, you can significantly enhance your chances of a swift and profitable sale. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive, ensuring your listing remains appealing and relevant in a constantly evolving marketplace.

Emotional Pricing

Setting the right price for your home is as much a science as it is an art, and one of the biggest challenges sellers face is separating their emotional attachment from the home's actual market value. Emotional pricing can be a significant hurdle because, as a seller, your personal memories and the sweat equity you’ve invested into your home can lead to an inflated sense of its worth. However, buyers will not have the same emotional connection and will evaluate the price based on market conditions and comparable properties.

To avoid the pitfalls of emotional pricing, here are a few tips to help you stay objective:

  • Consult with Professionals: Leverage the expertise of realtors and appraisers who understand the market dynamics and can provide an impartial perspective on your home’s value.

  • Review Comparable Listings: Actively look at similar properties in your area that are currently on the market or have recently sold. This helps set a benchmark against which you can more realistically compare your own home.

  • Consider Feedback Seriously: During showings, open houses, or online listings, gather feedback from potential buyers and real estate professionals about how your home compares to others in the price range. Use this feedback to adjust your expectations and pricing strategy.

  • Decouple Emotions from Selling: Try to view the sale of your home as a business transaction. This mindset shift can be challenging, but it’s crucial for making decisions that align with your financial and practical goals rather than emotional ties.

By following these tips, you can more effectively navigate the complexities of pricing your home in a way that reflects its true market value, devoid of personal bias. This not only helps in selling your property more swiftly but also ensures that you are making the most financially sound decisions during the sale process.


Pricing your home correctly is paramount to a successful sale, especially in a dynamic market like San Francisco. From avoiding the pitfalls of overpricing and underpricing to staying attuned to market trends and remaining objective in your pricing decisions, each step plays a crucial role in maximizing your property's value and attracting the right buyers.

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