Welcome to my first real estate blog of 2014!
I thought I would start the year by sharing my latest tips and best practices to successfully sell your home in 2014 in the current Silicon Valley Real estate market.
Think about selling your home as project management. Behind every successful listing, you will find a well-defined project plan with customized contractual, pricing and marketing strategies as well as a clear timeline. In other words, selling a home is not longer about putting a sign on a lawn and printing flyers.
1. Clean Lawn Strategy
Firstly, let’s state the obvious: curb appeal is key when selling a single family home or a townhouse. This is what will drive or push away potential buyers to your doorstep. My advice: even if you are on a tight budget, at least make sure that your lawn is clean and mowed.
If you intend to sell a property that needs lots of work, stick to the "clean lawn" plan as it will send a signal to all potential home buyers and realtors that the property has not been totally neglected.
2. How to Avoid being Homeless after the Sale
Buying a home when you currently own one is always challenging. But there are negotiation tactics than can be use to ease the process and protect you from being homeless. One that I like in particular is the rent-back which enables home sellers to continue to occupy the property for a certain amount of time after the close of escrow.
Selling an investment property present different challenges. You need to keep in mind that tenants have rights. For instance, deadlines must be respected to inform them before to host an open house on the weekends;
3. Renovate or not Renovate?
Whether or not the property needs work, it will be critical to get the pulse of the local real estate market, in particular what is available for sale and in which condition.
This will determine in particular if you need to renovate the place totally or partially before you put it on the market and what improvements will be the most attractive to potential buyers.
4. Is it a Good Time to Sell?
It is well known in the real estate business that during and right after the Holidays season there is less inventory available. Also remember that the peak season of the Real Estate Market is April-June.
If circumstances allow it, you may want to take advantage of the beginning of the year to test the market, which may bring you higher returns.
Remember though that in a sellers' market, inventory is typically low resulting in multiple offers from potential buyers. In a buyers ‘market on the contrary, potential buyers have a lot of properties to choose from.
5. The Right Price Trumps Everything Else
All above mentioned variables added to other considerations such as the API score of the nearby schools, the ability to commute easily, will influence the one and only criteria that will make the difference between a quick sale and a "stale property" on the market: The listing price.
Listing prices are determined by Comparative Market Analysis (also known as CMA). Great start, but not sufficient. You need to go deeper and study all features of properties currently on sale in the neighborhood.
The trick is not to convince potential buyers that your property looks or is actually "better" but that the listing price is right.
You probably now understand better why I was referring to project management with so many internal and external variables, stakeholders and timelines to watch out for. At the end of the day, just like Football, everything is about the game plan.