Inventory is low, which makes it a sellers' market in much of Silicon Valley; but there now is a twist. Buyers are getting pickier, which they usually do only in a buyers’ market.
So, if you are thinking about selling your home, buyers are looking. Interest rates are still very low. Properly priced, you can sell.
Before you put your house on the market, consider a few things:
- Is the property ready for buyers to look at?
- What should you do to get it ready?
- Who will market your property?
- Will you get the most exposure possible?
- How will you know that a buyer is really capable of getting a loan and won’t waste your time?
CLEAN AND INSPECT?
First of all, do you need to do some clean-up? That depends on the market. In a buyers’ market, people can afford to be picky about the property details. A wise seller will clean, paint, fluff, and stage a property for the best impression. An even wiser seller will have the basic inspections done before the property goes on the market. Your agent will help you find qualified inspectors: general home, roof, chimney, and pest companies. Other inspections depend on your property, such as pool, foundation, and septic tank inspections.
When you get these inspections, you will know if there is any major problem that needs to be handled ahead of the sale. The buyer will have access to the inspection reports and be much more knowledgeable about the property when he places his bid.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Here are a few small ways to make a big difference in the appearance of your home.
First, get the big picture
Go across the street and look at your house through fresh eyes. Chances are there are some things you’ve been living with that you don’t even notice anymore. Trim back trees and shrubs that hide your home. Clean the gutters. Replace missing shingles.
Clean things up
Scrub cobwebs and dirt from the entryway. Power-wash the walkway. Clean the windows. Shine up the doorknob.
Add a fresh coat of paint
If you don’t want to spend the money to paint the entire house, just painting the trim, shutters and front door gives your house a big facelift.
Make the entrance inviting
Put up some new, stylish house numbers. Invest in a new porch light. Buy several nice, big pots for the entryway and fill them with flowers or small shrubs. Get a new welcome mat.
Invest in landscaping
Trees, shrubs and flowers add great appeal to a home. Your local nursery or home store can recommend easy-care plants for your area. Landscaping nearly always pays for itself when you go to sell your home.
PAPERWORK AND MARKETING?
Who will you trust to handle the myriad of paperwork and marketing details? Finding a good agent by referral from a friend or colleague is a beginning. Use someone who is knowledgeable and up-to-date with real estate practices and law. Someone who is a good negotiator is worth his/her weight in gold as well. After-all, you want to hire someone who can complete the best transaction for you, which includes someone who can negotiate not only the money part of selling a house with a buyer, but the terms of your sales contract as well. Most importantly, there will be bumps and hiccups in your transaction. You need to select someone who sticks with you, even after the contract is signed, and smoothly handles the ups and downs. No transaction is perfect, but a good agent will see to it that your best interests are always top priority.
What will the agent do to see that your property gets enough exposure to the largest number of potential buyers? Get a marketing plan. How creative is the agent? How energetic? A house does not sell itself. A good agent is a good salesman and marketing guru.
How do you know if you should accept an offer on your house? What if you have multiple offers? How do you sort them out? Your agent will decipher the offers that come in, to help you make an intelligent decision. Money is not the only criteria when choosing a buyer. Other terms in the contract are important. Talk to your agent about the details that you should be concerned about. Again, no transaction is problem-free, but a good agent can help you select a buyer who is less likely to have problems.
INTERVIEW THE AGENT
Need to get an analysis of your property before selling? Call Erin for a free educational appointment. Talk to us about how we can help you. Call for the schedule and references. 408-644-5159.
You may want to talk with Jeffrey Benford as well, to see if you should be renting your house out instead of selling it.
HOW MUCH IS YOUR HOME REALLY WORTH?
For many people, their home is their most valuable asset. Home appreciation has been quite strong in most areas the past few years, so chances are that the value of your home has increased. Even if you don’t plan to sell in the immediate future, it makes good sense to know the worth of your home because it affects so many major financial decisions, including selling the home, refinancing, borrowing against the equity in your home and calculating how much homeowner’s insurance you need. Here are the most common ways the market value of your home is determined by the real estate industry, financial institutions, the government and others.
Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
One of the many services that an agent can provide clients is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA is a report that shows what properties similar to yours are selling for in the current market. Homes with approximately the same square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, acreage, age, amenities and condition are selected for comparison in the neighborhood. A CMA can include homes that have recently sold and those that are currently for sale. Since much of a home’s value is based on the emotional impact it has on buyers, subjective selling points such as street appeal, interior décor and the layout of the home may also be included.
A CMA gives you a quick overview of the market and helps you determine the correct price for your home if you plan to sell. Setting the right price before you list is critical to getting the most for your home and selling it quickly. A home that is overpriced may languish for months and require multiple reductions in price. An under-priced home may sell quickly, but for much less than it’s worth.
The Appraised Value of Your Home
While a CMA offers an informal market opinion of what a home would sell for, a professional appraisal provides a more detailed evaluation of a home’s value based on a certified appraiser’s knowledge, experience and analysis of the property. A professional appraisal is required by lenders as part of the loan application process, and the appraised value determines how much a lender is willing to lend you. Appraisers use a number of factors to estimate a home’s value, including the size and square footage, the condition of the home and neighborhood, construction quality and recent sales of comparable local properties. There is a fee charged for the appraisal. The appraiser’s report provides you with a detailed description of your home and the criteria used to formulate the valuation. Items commonly found in an appraisal report include:
- Side-by-side comparisons of similar properties
- An evaluation of the overall real estate market in the area.
- Notations on issues the appraiser feels negatively impact the property’s value, such as poor access.
- Identification of significant problems such as a crumbling foundation or fallen fence.
- An estimate of the projected sales time for the property.
All these factors are used to calculate the appraised value of your home.
Home Pricing Guide
The Assessed Value of Your Home
Some people confuse the terms “appraised value” and “assessed value.” Assessed value is the valuation placed on your property by a public tax assessor, which in turn determines how much you pay in property taxes. The way assessed value is calculated varies broadly by region. In some cases, the assessed value might be the same as the appraised value. However it typically is a percentage, called the assessment ratio, that is less than the appraised value. An increasing number of towns and counties are posting assessed values online. Type in “assessed value” and your individual city or county name to search in your area.
Home Inspections and Maintaining the Value of Your Home
Appraisers will note obvious problems they see in their report, but they do not do a detailed inspection of your roof, foundation, chimney, electrical system and other structural components. A professional home inspector will conduct a detailed investigation of your home to look for any health and safety problems, make recommendations and counsel you on repair options and maintenance. These health and safety issues are important whether you plan to sell your home or not. Regular inspections allow you to protect your investment by addressing minor issues before they become major problems.
What Factors Affect the Value of Your Home?
Many people will get an inspection when they are evaluating a purchase, but you might also want to consider the following factors:
- Location - If your house is in a desirable area, you’ll be able to get a higher price than you would for the same house in a less appealing neighborhood.
- Property - This includes the size, age and style of your home; number of rooms; size of the yard; topography and landscape of the lot; and the quality of construction.
- Condition - An attractive, well-maintained home will sell faster and at a higher price than a fixer-upper.
- Extra amenities - Updates and luxury extras all add to the value of a home. These include items such as a gourmet kitchen, extra bathrooms, finished basement or attic, walk-in closets, a spa, lavish landscaping, and a patio or deck.
- Market conditions - The price your home commands is influenced by local and national economic conditions, current residential real estate market demand, and available financing and mortgage rates.