Correctly pricing your property is key to selling your property quickly and easily - and an experienced real estate agent will offer to prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) to help you determine the right price. 

But what is a CMA, and how should it be used?

The short answer is that a CMA is a report that will give you an estimated sale price for your home given the current market conditions. 

Thus, it offers value to both sellers and buyers - and even to home owners planning additions or alterations to their property. However, a CMA needs to be prepared by an agent that is knowledgeable about your area to be of any real use, as they will know what information to extract from it.

The first step in compiling an accurate CMA is for the agent to walk through your property. This is usually a quick process, and there is no need to prepare your home the same way you would as for a showing. Keep in mind that the overall condition will affect the estimated price, so you should let the agent know if you’re planning some repairs or improvements prior to selling.

The second step is for the agent to consult the Deeds Office, agency records, and property portals for information about similar properties in your area that have recently been sold; pending sales, as well as active and expired listings.

Sold records and pending sales will provide a reliable indication of the current sale price range in your, and what your asking price should be if you want to sell quickly. You also need to know the asking prices of other properties currently on the market - and in competition with yours - and those of expired listings, which will usually have failed to sell because they were overpriced for the market.

The third step usually taken by the agent is to consult with the seller and use the CMA to set an asking price that is as close as possible to the probable selling price.

Buyers can also request a CMA on a property they are thinking of purchasing - this is a good idea if they are unfamiliar with the area or have not had a chance to view many listings. 

Home owners thinking about major renovations can also make good use of a CMA to discover how much they can spend without over-capitalising their property.