Fluctuating market affects accurate home pricing

Guidelines for settling on price tag for your house

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The inventories of homes for sale in many areas of the country have increased, in some cases, dramatically. For example, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of homes for sale in the Chicago metropolitan area increased 133 percent from the third quarter 2004 to the third quarter 2005. A year ago, when inventories were extremely low, accurate pricing was less critical. As long as you received broad marketing exposure, you were virtually assured of a sale even if your list price wasn't precisely in sync with the market. Now, because of rising inventories, there's no margin. Although the trend nationally seems to be toward an increase in the number of homes for sale, this isn't universally the case. According to NAR, listing inventories in Austin, Texas, dropped 33 percent between the third quarters of 2004 and 2005. They went down 27 percent in Colorado Springs, Colo., during the same period. Although the media broadly proclaims a drop in the housing ma...