Once you’ve decided to sell your home, please take a look at my comprehensive guide to selling residential real estate. Although it’s a complicated process, I’m here to guide you through all steps and make the experience as smooth as possible. Let’s get started! As always, I’m available to answer any and all questions.
I know how to sell homes. Successful sales balance four components: the market, price, condition of the house and exposure. Because I know about market trends and the other houses in your neighborhood, I’m well equipped to play up your home’s advantages and downplay disadvantages. Plus, I:
Good training and experience make the best agents, but not every agent is right for every seller. I suggest using this simple formula to help decide if we will work well together:
COMPETENCE + COMFORT = CONFIDENCE
WHEN TO CONTACT ME
You should connect me as soon as you decide to sell your home.
While the number of buyers remains relatively constant, there are peak selling seasons driven by school schedules and holiday/vacation times. But keep in mind that there are also more houses on the market during peak seasons, which means you'll have more competition. While there is seasonality in the real estate market, it shouldn’t completely dictate your decision of when to sell. Even if you're under no pressure to sell, waiting for particular market conditions is not likely to increase your profit potential. While you’re waiting for conditions to improve, you are continuing to make mortgage payments, insurance payments, HOA payments if applicable and home repairs.
Buyers tend to act when a new property with high value comes up for sale. Timing is key, and we should act quickly.
Unless your house is nearly new, chances are you'll want to do some work to get it ready to sell. What type and how much work depends largely on the price you're asking, the time you have to sell, and of course, the present condition of your home.
When a buyer looks at a house, he or she is trying to imagine living there. Create as clean a canvas as possible. I will help you identify a scope of work and have a number of vendors to assist you, including options that allow you to defer payments until the close of escrow.
As a general rule, stick to light, neutral colors. Keep your yard and all rooms free of clutter. Here are a few low-cost ways to present your home in the best light:
Certain higher-cost home improvements have proved to add value and/or speed the sale of houses. These include:
Improvements that return less than what they cost are generally items that appeal to personal tastes, like adding fireplaces, wet bars, swimming pools or converting the garage into an extra room.
You're unlikely to sell for more than 15% above the median price of other houses in the neighborhood, whether you do $1,000 worth of work or $50,000. That's why we should discuss the viability of recouping the cost of any major renovations before you start the work.
When deciding who to hire to update your home, especially for larger jobs involving mechanical systems (heating, electrical, plumbing) or local building codes, contact a licensed home improvement company.
This is particularly important for two reasons. First, if the buyer's inspection reveals major problems with your home's structure or mechanical systems, they will negotiate either to have them fixed or to receive a large credit. When work has been done by unlicensed contractors, this negotiation becomes more difficult and expensive for the seller.
You may have also heard about lawsuits involving sellers who failed to disclose problems before the sale, such as an addition to the house that wasn't built to code. California has very specific disclosure laws and requirements that sellers and agents must provide buyers in limited periods of time. Early in the process, we will review these requirements and prepare necessary disclosures to meet your obligations in escrow.
A Home Warranty (or Protection Plan) covers repair or replacement costs for breakdowns to most major systems and built-in appliances. These protect you during the listing period and your buyer up to a year or more after the date of closing.
I will list your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a system that reaches millions of buyers around the world. The system enables brokers to share commission on the sale of houses. For example, if you list your home with me and Coldwell Banker, and another broker actually sells it, he or she shares the commission. The advantage to you is clear: More brokers have an interest in selling your home.
MLS listing also allows me to automatically place your listing on all the major real estate websites, such as Zillow and realtor.com, in the U.S. as well as websites around the globe.
Fewer than 5% of buyers actually purchase the first house they call an agent about. So Coldwell Banker and I will design advertising to "find the buyer" with appealing layouts, eye-catching photos and professionally written descriptions. We use multiple channels—online, print, TV and direct mail.
Open houses are another valuable part of the marketing process. It gives prospective buyers a low-pressure, "browsing" atmosphere. If you have an open house, you shouldn't expect it to generate a sale, at least not directly. What you can expect is increased showings of your home after the event.
An open house for other agents shortly after a house is listed is also very important. “Brokers Caravan” is usually on Tuesday. The more professionals who see your home, the more prospects you're likely to reach.
You and your pets should definitely plan to be out of the house during any open house. The same goes for showings to prospective buyers. People often feel uncomfortable speaking candidly and asking questions in front of current owners. You want them to feel as free as possible to picture your home as their own.
When we have an interested in buyer, we will receive an offer called the Residential Purchase Agreement.
Typically, the offer will contain the following information:
There is far more to negotiate than the purchase price. The strongest offers are not the highest price offered. Often I have found the strongest offers use other terms that will help you either solve a problem or have confidence that the deal will close. For example, how quickly can the buyer complete inspections or remove the contingencies, can make one offer more appealing than one offering a higher purchase price. If you don’t have a new home ready to go, an offer with a seller lease-back may be valuable to you.
If the offer is not acceptable to you, you can make a Seller Counter Offer and further negotiations may continue to reach terms that are agreeable to both parties. Counter-offers are common, so it is important that we remain in close contact during the negotiation process to quickly review and respond to proposed changes.
Timing is critical!
The day after the Residential Purchase Agreement is signed and delivered to all parties, is the first day of your escrow. The Buyer’s side has the first move. They have three (3) business days to wire the Earnest Money ( typically 3% in this market) into the escrow account. I will ensure that all the necessary paperwork gets to the escrow company, so the process of escrow can begin immediately.
Equally important is making the home easily available for a series of inspections. The time of the inspection contingency is not just to complete the inspections. It also includes completing negotiations to either repair and/or give a credit and receive the contingency removal in writing.
Between Contract and Closing:
Escrow can feel overwhelming at times. There is a tremendous amount of paperwork involved in even the simplest of escrows. In fact, all the paperwork is completed prior to the closing, including the signing of the deed.
I am here to help, with a team of professionals, not the least of which is the Transaction Coordinator (TC).
You also have several contractual and statutory deadlines to meet. While everyone’s goal is to stay on time, most escrows experience a small delay and usually beyond anyone’s control.
Within the five (5) days prior to closing, the Buyer will have an opportunity to inspect the home. The purpose is to check on any work agreed to in the Request for Repair negotiations. The Buyer will also also check the condition of the property. The requirement is that the home’s condition remains the same as the day you wrote your offer. If any problems are identified, the Buyer should immediately notify us and they will need to be corrected before the closing.
What to Expect on Closing Day:
Closing is the formal, neutral process necessary to transfer and record the property’s title from you to the Buyer.
As you near the closing day, escrow will contact you to schedule a closing or signing appointment. (The Buyer will also have a signing appointment) At the signing appointment, you will be able to review the estimated closing statement and supporting documentation. This is your opportunity to ask questions and clarify terms. You should review the estimated closing statement carefully and report any discrepancies to the escrow officer.
When all signatures are complete and conditions of the escrow have been met, including receipt of all necessary and cleared funds, escrow then notifies the title company to release the documents for recording. Upon confirmation of recording, escrow completes the prorations and costs in order to reconcile/balance all funds to be disbursed. The final settlement statements and seller’s Closing Disclosure are prepared by escrow.
Once Escrow receives confirmation of the recording, I will be notified. I will then notify you and make arrangements to get the keys to your Buyer. Your home is sold!
I will help make the experience of selling your home as smooth and easy as possible. Even if you're not ready to list your home and simply have questions about the local market, price or mortgage trends, you are welcome to contact me.
When hiring a moving company, it is well worth the time and energy to make sure the company is reputable. The level of professionalism and integrity among movers can vary significantly. I can make recommendations and you should ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations. Then get estimates from several companies. Coldwell Banker can also coordinate a free moving estimate. I am more than willing to offer assistance; all you have to do is ask.
Moving requires extensive planning, particularly if you are relocating, but the experience does not have to be overly stressful. Here are my suggestions to help you organize:
And If It’s A Long Distance Move:
One Week Before Moving:
On Your Moving Day:
Here are items you may need immediately upon arriving at your new home.
Snacks and basic food items: