10 STEPS

"How to sell your home for the BEST PRICE possible"

 

1. DECIDE WHEN TO SELL

To ensure you sell your home quickly and at the best price, list your home between February and June or between September and October. Seasonal trends affect the supply and demand dynamics of the housing market.

season.jpg

During the rainy days of November and December, most buyers take a break and focus on upcoming holidays and winter vacations. Starting in late January, more people again consider purchasing a home. Between February and May, buyers often enter a frenzy of competition, as the warm weather makes it easy to shop for a home and parents want to finalize their new home purchase with plenty of time before the next school term. In June, July and August, as many take summer vacations, the number of buyers usually declines. September through October is the last period that favors sellers before the rainy winter holidays approach.

2. CHOOSE THE BEST REALTOR 

Interview two or three realtors; do not simply hire someone because he or she promises the highest price. Ask each realtor which homes he or she has sold in your area, what the realtor charges in fees, and how the realtor will market your home. Read customer reviews.

What qualities should you look for in a good realtor?

 

1) Their level of education and expertise.

 

Just as you demand that your doctor, attorney, and financial advisor be a well-educated and trained professional, you should also demand this of the person who will help sell your home. You should have confidence that your realtor understands all the legal, tax, and financial issues involved in the sale of your home. Only 34 hours and a high school degree are required to become a realtor. Seek out realtors with high levels of education and experience.

 

2) The level of marketing and staging services they provide you.

 

In return for you choosing to work with a particular realtor, that realtor should dedicate a large amount of time and advertising dollars to your listing to ensure maximum exposure. Ask the realtor how much he or she usually spends for marketing and staging a listing. Get their promises in writing, and ask for a written marketing plan to ensure your home receives the marketing it deserves.

 

2. CHOOSE THE BEST REALTOR 

Interview two or three realtors; do not simply hire someone because he or she promises the highest price. Ask each realtor which homes he or she has sold in your area, what the realtor charges in fees, and how the realtor will market your home. Read customer reviews.

What qualities should you look for in a good realtor?

 

1) Their level of education and expertise.

 

Just as you demand that your doctor, attorney, and financial advisor be a well-educated and trained professional, you should also demand this of the person who will help sell your home. You should have confidence that your realtor understands all the legal, tax, and financial issues involved in the sale of your home. Only 34 hours and a high school degree are required to become a realtor. Seek out realtors with high levels of education and experience.

 

2) The level of marketing and staging services they provide you.

 

In return for you choosing to work with a particular realtor, that realtor should dedicate a large amount of time and advertising dollars to your listing to ensure maximum exposure. Ask the realtor how much he or she usually spends for marketing and staging a listing. Get their promises in writing, and ask for a written marketing plan to ensure your home receives the marketing it deserves.

 

3) Someone you trust and have a good rapport with.

 

Pick the person you can envision spending time with and whose company you will enjoy over the next few months.

3.REPAIR AND IMPROVE THE RIGHT ITEMS

Repair and improve the items that will give you the highest return.

Improvements that will give you the highest return on investment include steam cleaning the carpets, painting the interior and exterior of the house, washing the windows, overhauling the lawn, hiring a home-cleaning service, pressure washing the deck, cleaning the gutters, and renovating a severely outdated kitchen or bathroom.

 

Major repairs, such as adding a new wood deck, adding a room, or remodeling an entire house, generally have under a 100% return on investment, and it would take years to recoup the expenses of these items. Therefore, these major projects are better left to the buyer. Some realtors have tested local contractors, cleaners, repair people, painters, electricians, etc. numerous times for their listings. Ask your realtor for good, cost-effective recommendations.

4. MAKE YOUR HOME'S INTERIOR SHINE

Your home will need to impress prospective buyers all on its own. Stage your home with high-end furniture. Fill each room with natural light. If it is difficult to stage the home with new furniture, because you are living inside the house, clear the clutter from a crowded space and consult with your realtor to make it look its best to all prospective buyers.

If you decide to stage your home, avoid using average stagers. Most realtors in Silicon Valley recycle a few staging companies, which is why the interiors of most open houses you attend always look similar with the same type of furniture.

 

Nice staging can very much affect the final price of the home. Well-staged homes sell for 5–10% more than those that were poorly staged, and they are sold within half the period required for a poorly staged home. I recently listed a home in Palo Alto, and my own interior design team staged and transformed the space into a jaw-dropping luxury home. Although there was a very similar unit in the same complex on the market, my listing attracted over 300 people to the open house and ended up selling for $165,000 more than the other unit did. My listing received five offers, while the other unit only received one offer.

 

Do what it takes to ensure your home photographs well and looks its best in person, grabbing the attention of every potential buyer who walks through the door.

 

For more information on staging, please visit staging page

5. GET PROFESSIONAL HOME PHOTOS

With 92% of homebuyers using the Internet as part of their home search, photography is a critical factor in the selling price of your home and in how quickly it sells.

Professional and beautiful photos are used in a variety of marketing materials and they serve to attract potential buyers to encourage them to attend open houses.

6. PRICE IT RIGHT

You really only have one chance to effectively price your property, and that is when it first goes on the market.

The level of interest of potential buyers and other realtors is highest right when your property enters the market. An underpriced property will attract a huge amount of attention and a flurry of interest will develop, generally resulting in multiple offers and a sale price above the original list price.

 

However, for a home over $3.5 million, I generally advise sellers to price at market value, because there may not be multiple buyers writing offers at that price. If there is only one buyer writing an offer, underpricing would be a bad idea, because that buyer will submit an offer at the list price, which is lower than the actual market value.

An overpriced property will be quickly reviewed by potential buyers and realtors, and it is likely that the property will stagnate on the market. Over-priced listings generally sell for below what the property would have gotten if initially priced properly.

7. MARKET YOUR HOME ONLINE

An overwhelming majority of recent homebuyers used the Internet as an information source to find a property.

Utilize comprehensive online marketing tools to showcase your home online. Videos are also remarkably effective at marketing homes. With many international buyers flooding into Silicon Valley, some buyers rely solely on videos before they make their offers.

8. MARKET YOUR HOME OFFLINE

By working with a realtor, you maximize your property’s exposure.

Through online and newspaper advertising, broker tours, open houses, and listing on the MLS, your property will be seen by thousands of people. 

For a comprehensive look at a marketing strategy for your home, please see what I offer my clients in the next article “Mi Young's Unique Marketing Strategy”

9. HOLD A MEMORABLE OPEN HOUSE PARTY

When a property is first listed, it generates a very high level of interest from potential buyers and other realtors. One of the best ways to start marketing your home is to hold an extensive and fun open house the first weekend it is on the market. When buyers enter and are greeted by friendly staff members, as well as enjoy good food and drinks, they are more likely to feel warm and comfortable and fall in love with the house.

Every realtor’s approach to open houses is different. Oftentimes, the listing agent sends junior agents or assistants to hold their open houses. However, I have noticed this can be very detrimental, as the listing agent is the person who can provide good answers to all questions that potential buyers ask at the open house. Ask your realtor if he or she attends his or her open houses personally.

I have noticed the following steps can be very helpful for open houses:

 

1) Hold open houses until 5pm. Most open houses end at 4pm or 4:30pm. Ending open houses at 5pm gives potential buyers more time to visit your home.

 

2) Listing agent should be present at the open house. Your home should be the listing agent’s number one priority, and he or she should attend the open house to answer questions potential buyers have.

 

3) Hire a catering service that serves delicious lunch, dessert, and drinks. Open houses usually start at 1pm, and people love to have good food at open houses.

 

4) Hire a professional coffee barista to serve lattes, mochas, and teas. Having something warm in your hand and drinking coffee make people feel more warm and welcome.

 

5) Hire a valet parking service, if necessary. Sometimes potential buyers can have a hard time finding a parking spot at a condo or a townhome listing. Having a valet service can help them tremendously.

 

6) Hire other fun, memorable events/activities, such as a jazz band, children party packages, models, etc., depending on the type and style of the home. This can create buzz in the media and attract more buyers to your home.

10. EVALUATE AN OFFER

If the home has been marketed well and priced well initially, it will have generated sufficient interest to garner at least one, and hopefully multiple offers.

Although price is important, price alone should not be the only factor in choosing an offer. You should also consider the terms of the contract, the contingencies, the financial strength of the buyers, and the number of days requested for escrow.

 

Terms of the Purchase Contract

 

The terms of the purchase contract affect the strength of the offer.

 

  • Down payment – the greater the amount in cash, the stronger the offer.

  • As-Is – most buyers submit their offers “as-is” these days. It relieves the seller of doing any future repairs or doing the work found in the termite report.

  • Pre-Approval – a buyer who is not pre-approved for a loan should generally not be seriously considered. The pre-approval letter is considered less risky if it is written by established banks such as Wells Fargo or First Republic Bank. Out-of-area lenders are risky and more difficult for the realtor to communicate with.

  • Close of Escrow Date – the longer the escrow, the more time for problems to occur.

  • Flexibility – a preferable buyer is one that can tailor their offer to meet the sellers’ needs, such as providing a rent-back to give time for the seller to purchase their next home.

 

Contingencies

 

Contingencies allow the buyer to get out of a contract without any liability. For sellers, an offer with no contingency is considered a good, clean offer.

 

  • Financing contingency – it allows the buyers to get out of contract if a) the property does not appraise, if 2) the buyer cannot get the loan, or if 3) interest rates change drastically during the contingency period.

  • Property contingency – it provides the buyer with the greatest escape clause. If the buyer can find any reason that the property does not suit their needs, they can withdraw from the contract.

  • Other contingencies – another common contingency includes a contingency to sell the buyers’ previous home.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope you sell your home for the highest price possible! If you have any questions, please call me at (650) 468–0607 or email me at miyoung@kw.com.

MI YOUNG LEE

Real Estate Broker | Attorney 

Stanford B.A. | UCLA Law J.D.

 

(650) 468 - 0607

miyoung@kw.com

 

 

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