The best advice we can give for how to tell if a listing has a fair price: get into the market. Whether with your agent or on your own, visit open houses and get a general feel—just a sense—of overall pricing. That will give you a baseline.
Then you need to find a good real estate agent. By “good,” we mean an agent who has enough experience and knowledge to be able to walk through a listing’s front door and get a very good sense for what the price should be, based on the home’s condition and elements.
In a heated market like what we have right now, it’s VERY easy to overpay. But it’s not worth getting a house if you have to give up five years of future equity. If you want to use a house as a financial building block—to know that in five years, you’ve actually made money and built on what you have—we always recommend a realtor. An experienced real estate agent who will help you keep your home’s investment potential at the forefront of your mind throughout the buying process.