Guide to Selling a Home in the Bay Area
The Bay Area’s housing market has undoubtedly been heating up, with many sellers quickly receiving numerous offers and many sales closing at well over asking price. If you’re a homeowner looking to take advantage of the Bay Area’s hot seller’s market, look no further! This guide is designed for any prospective home seller and outlines the current 2015 market, the process of selling a home, and how to get started.
Typically, monthly home sales decrease slightly in the Fall and Winter due to holidays and other factors, then rally to yearly heights in the Spring and Summer. However, a limited supply of new listings has sent prices on an upward trend. But what’s behind this restricted supply? A combination of factors including new jobs and population growth play a role compounded by a stark decrease in post-foreclosure sales putting a dent in the available inventory of homes. Currently, sellers are experiencing a fantastic boon. It is not uncommon for a new seller to receive up to 12 offers within 2 weeks of listing- with many of those offers posted above the asking price.
So you’re beginning to consider selling your home. Where to start? For many the first obvious step is to talk to a reputable Realtor. A respectable listing agent has plenty of experience in all facets of the successful sale including listing, preparation, marketing, staging, and fielding offers. There’s a lot that goes into a timely sale from minor repairs to appraisals and inspections. The biggest advantage of utilizing a Realtor is their fiduciary responsibility to you as a client- they are bound to engage others in your best interest and in cooperation.
Here’s a brief outline of the process of selling a home:
Choose a listing agent. Be careful when considering who to sign on to list your property. There are many unscrupulous real estate agents out there, so look for one with experience working in your neighborhood that comes highly recommended. Be sure to ask them about how they plan on marketing your property, how long their average transaction takes and if they are connected to service providers to assist in obtaining a mortgage, making home repairs, or other related tasks. You are about to embark on a long journey with many opportunities for delays. Choose a well-connected agent with a clear plan. Ask potential agents about which certifications and specializations they carry, and lean towards those with credentials that fit your needs.
Prepare your home for sale by cleaning, decluttering, and taking care of any small repairs. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for a residence that is move-in-ready. Discuss staging your home with your listing agent, but be wary of offers for ‘free staging’ as this arrangement almost always results in high commissions and hidden fees. If you live with pets, remember to make alternate plans for them during open house and tour dates.
Determine your home’s worth. Price the residence according to the limits identified in a comparative market analysis report. Work with your agent to analyze amenities, square footage, any remodeling, and all other related factors to determine a fair market price. Remember: overpricing is the worst mistake you can make. Buyers are more discerning when prices are high, so if you’re looking to attract bids higher than your asking price be sure to start with a reasonable ask. Consider local, market, and national factors such as interest rates as well.
Market your home. Identify the selling points and advertising verbiage to attract buyers. Review and approve the agent’s marketing campaign. Consider utilizing a 360-degree virtual tour to market your house’s unique features to people over the internet who may not be able to attend your open house. A good agent will have numerous sites and social media outlets to get the word out about what makes your residence unique and desirable.
Evaluate offers and negotiate. Assure that potential buyers are using the proper purchase offer forms. Do not ignore any offer. If you receive a lowball, be sure to negotiate using a counter offer. Don’t be afraid to issue counter offers for your best price. You will receive many offers if you are priced competitively and fairly. If the buyer’s offer is contingent on the sale of another property, include a first right of refusal or kick-out clause to protect yourself. Include your own contingency if you will need to purchase a home simultaneously.
Prepare for a multitude tasks from of home inspections to opening escrow and ordering title. Many contracts will include pest reports and roof certifications. In unusual cases, sewer inspections or other delays may pop up so be sure to work with your agent to assure everything is coordinated.
You may receive requests from potential buyers to perform minor repairs. You are not required by law to comply but refusing outright may cause willing buyers to back out. If you are not interested in performing these repairs, some buyers may accept a credit to their closing costs of similar value. Deliver the proper disclosures and title documents, close escrow, and congratulations! You’ve successfully sold your home!
Selling your home may appear to be a daunting task. However, in a seller’s market like the one we are experiencing, great homes demand greater prices. Make sure to get the most out of your listing agent- it will undoubtedly raise your bottom line.
Written by Gregory Lyons in Association with Harris Team Real Estate