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'Just-below' pricing tactic a boon for house sellers

Washington

WE'VE all seen items advertised for just a tad less than the nearest round number - US$9.99 instead of US$10. Many of us would like to think we're too savvy to let that one-cent difference influence our buying decision. But research shows, over and over, that it does. This "just below" strategy (also known as "charm pricing") dates back at least 100 years, and its use is widespread.

Surprisingly, houses - the biggest purchase any of us makes - are no exception. A study published in August in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics found that sellers who use the "just below" pricing strategy get more money for their homes than those who don't.

In fact, they get, on average, almost...

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