If you have a home to sell, you’re probably excited to get the process started. There are many things you need to consider when selling your property, and it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the task. The good news is we’ve done extensive research about what you need to know about selling your home – and we’ve answered the questions you’re probably wondering:
How will you determine my home’s value?
To determine your home’s value and set a listing price, I will complete a Comparative Market Analysis. The CMA uses recent sales of homes close in geography, age, size, and features to yours. (A CMA is not the same as an appraisal, which a licensed appraiser can perform.) Once we have a CMA, we can discuss pricing strategies to maximize value.
Is it a good idea to start high?
Many sellers like the idea of “starting high” to see if they get higher offers, but this strategy isn’t usually practical. First, buyers may not see your listing if they use a price filter set to what they expect prices in the area to run. Second, you run the risk of the appraisal coming in lower than your contract price, which will require your contract to be renegotiated or canceled. Third, if your listing price puts your home higher than your neighborhood value, your home will likely sit on the market longer as buyers wait for you to make a reduction. It’s best to set a realistic listing price that will bring you buyers quickly. My goal is always to get you the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.
What percentage of the listing price can I expect to get?
The list-to-sell ratio is determined by dividing the selling price by the listing price. The ratio is largely market-driven. In a sellers’ market, which is when inventory is low, sellers may get close to 100% or over 100% if the home sells above list price. In a market with a large inventory of homes, a buyers’ market, buyers have more negotiating power, so the list-to-sell ratio may be closer to 90%. My goal is to get you as close to a 100% list-to-sell ratio as the market will bear. There are a lot of variables to take into consideration, so we can give you a better idea once we see the property.
How soon can I get my home on MLS?
Once we agree to work together, I will begin entering your home information on the MLS system. I will also schedule a time for a professional photographer to take photos of the property. As soon as all the information and pictures are uploaded items, your listing can go live on MLS. It really depends on our client’s situation and how much prep work is required. It’s never too early to start the conversation.
What do I need to do to get ready to list?
For your part, it’s a good idea to begin cleaning out or organizing storage spaces, closets, and drawers and putting away some of your décor or belongings. You may also want to have the exterior pressure washed, and the landscaping cleaned up. We do an in depth ROI analysis during our consultation and can bring in painters, stagers, etc. as needed. Depending on location and price point, we will help to draw lines and make sure every $1 dollar you put in, you’ll get $2-$3 back. Don’t stress, we can handle ALL of the pre-listing prep work. Our partners at Revive have an option to cover all up front renovation costs, which would then be repaid at the close of escrow. We can talk further about specific things that will help your home show better.
How will showings be conducted?
You and I will agree on the terms you are comfortable with for showings. We want to make the home accessible to buyers without too much disruption to your personal life. We can use a showing schedule, and unless we agree otherwise, I will notify you in advance of showing requests. We typically use electronic lockboxes that only active members of our local Realtors association can access. We can set the lockbox on a schedule, if necessary. Any time the lockbox is accessed, I receive a notification. We ensure safe showing protocols that you are comfortable with.
How will you market my property?
Marketing your listing is of utmost importance. Most buyers find their properties online through MLS (via their agent,) Realtor, Zillow, or other search engines. Listings in our MLS system automatically show up on these sites within a day or two of becoming active. In addition, I share my listings with the agents in my network, on my website, and on my social media. We can discuss additional opportunities such as hosting open houses and marketing within your neighborhood. We have a standard of excellence when it comes to photography and videography, so rest assured, we will display your property in its best light.
How long will it take to find a buyer?
Several factors influence the time it takes to find a buyer. These include the market conditions, price range (higher-priced or luxury homes typically take longer to sell,) location (whether your home is in a desirable neighborhood or a unique location,) and the condition of the home (is move-in ready or in need of renovations?) In a balanced market, most houses, when priced accurately and without significant damage or extenuating circumstances, go under contract within thirty days. Homes sell faster in a seller’s market, while buyers take more time to look when inventory is high. Most of the Bay Area is still a strong Sellers market, so as long as it’s priced appropriately, it should sell within the first 2-3 weeks.
Will you qualify the buyer?
When an offer is received, I will work with the buyer’s agent to vet the buyer. All offers should be accompanied by either a pre-approval from a mortgage lender or, if paying cash, by verification of funds available to cover the purchase price. Once you accept an offer, the buyer must put down the agreed upon escrow deposit, schedule any inspections as stipulated in the contract, and, if financing is involved, their lender will initiate the loan approval process. I will stay in close contact with the buyer’s agent to make sure due process is followed. We know most of the local productive agents personally, which plays a factor as well.
What are the costs involved?
The seller usually pays for the real estate agent fees, which are divided between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. The seller also pays their share of the property taxes and HOA dues. If the full annual amount has been paid, the buyer will repay their portion back to the seller at closing. Often the seller elects to pay a portion of the buyer’s closing costs to help make the transaction work for the buyer.
Is your commission negotiable?
The commission is not negotiable. Keep in mind that the commission is split between the two sides, and both agents must abide by the structure their brokerage follows. If we were to reduce the commission upfront, buyers’ agents might be less likely to advocate for your property. I will work very hard to represent you honestly with full loyalty and integrity to earn the designated commission. This work is my livelihood, and I often go above and beyond the call of duty to earn my pay and close transactions for my clients.
Will you also represent the buyer?
If I happen to find the buyer for your home, be assured that I am trained and experienced in handling both sides of the transaction fairly. As a professional, I respect the confidentiality and loyalty required in dealing with both parties. On the plus side, communication is easy when I am representing both sides. Working on both sides of the transaction is hard work, but it would not be a problem. If there was a competing offer, I would hand over the buyer to a colleague and represent the seller exclusively. We only represent both sides when it is a true win-win and there are no conflicts of interest.
Can I cancel if I find my own buyer?
The listing agreement is a contract between you and me and/or my brokerage. It stipulates the terms for cancellation, which you are encouraged to review. Once we have signed the listing agreement, a prospective buyer that approaches you directly should be redirected to me.
How often will we communicate?
Communication is key to an easy and successful sale. I will keep you appraised of events every step of the way. You are welcome to reach out to me with questions or concerns. When we go over the listing information, we will discuss our preferred means of communication and schedules to make sure we know each other’s availability and boundaries.
Thinking of selling? I’m here to help! Shoot me a message or give me a call today.
The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. We saw a ton of people relocate from San Francisco to the suburbs of Marin and Sonoma Counties. If you’re wanting to stay in the same city, but your housing needs have changed, we can help guide you towards making an informed decision whether to stay and renovate or move. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:
- 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
- 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
- 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
- 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
- 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space
If you’re a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:
- A possible desire to relocate
- The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
- Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)
In either case, you’ll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.
Home Equity Is Skyrocketing
The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners’ equity. The graph below uses data from CoreLogic to show the average home equity gain in the first quarter of the last nine years:
Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:
“Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high.”
As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.
If you decide to renovate, you’ll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you’ll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.
Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you’ll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you’re one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you’re one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.
First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home
If you’re ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you’ll need two things:
- The current mortgage balance on your home
- The current value of your home
You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact one of our Journey Real Estate local real estate professionals who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report. We are all about empowering our clients to make well-informed decisions.
If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. Let’s start the conversation today.
Journey Real Estate ~ “The road best traveled!”