Silicon City Realty Home Seller’s Guide
Selling your home can be scary. You have to pick the right price, let the world know that it’s up for sale, pick from several offers, and then hope that everything happens according to plan. Each step can seem like a minefield if you don’t have a professional real estate agent to guide you through the process.
1. Pick the Right Agent
Selecting a real estate agent means interviewing many licensed agents until you can find one who has the experience and expertise to handle every phase of the selling process for you. Your goal should be to minimize the time and effort you have to put into the process, while maximizing the sales price for your home. When searching for a good agent, consider these four factors:
- Experience: Has the agent represented many sellers and successfully sold their homes? How long did it take before their homes were sold? How much did the home seller receive relative to the housing market?
- Strategy: What is the agent’s plan to market your property? Is it a general one-size-fits-all approach, or a property-specific approach? Does the agent have the right experts on call? Can she recommend and supervise the work of contractors, handymen, professional home stagers, cleaners, inspectors, etc?
- Network: Does the agent have a spotless reputation? Does she have a solid network of connections that will allow her to market your home even before it appears online?
- Professionalism: Does the agent deliver on her commitments and perform her fiduciary duties? Does she display professional conduct in her interactions with you? Do you want her representing your financial interest?
2. Sign the Listing Agreement
After choosing an agent, you need to sign a listing agreement with her. The listing agreement is a document that commits you to an exclusive arrangement with your agent for a specific amount of time. It’s not unusual for listing agreements to last for up to 12 months, but with Leanna Scott your listing agreement lasts only 30 days starting on the day that the property is first listed with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). When you sign the listing agreement with Leanna, she will assist you in fulfilling the disclosure obligations mandated by state and federal laws and regulations, guiding you through completing the legally required disclosures forms, strengthening your legal protection by arranging critically important inspections for your home.
- General Property Inspection Report: A written report provided by a licensed property inspector, which details your home’s functionality and code compliance, including the inspector’s recommendations for repair or maintenance that needs to be done in order to make it safe and comply with local building code requirements.
- Termite Inspection Report: A written report provided by a licensed termite inspector who inspects your home for wood damage from termite infestation, water intrusion, and fungus. Recommendations and cost estimates are then provided in the report.
Note that while these reports are part of a buyer’s due diligence and even if these inspections could be performed and paid for by the buyer, it is recommended that you have inspections done before listing and marketing your home. This allows you to anticipate and repair any problems, thereby minimizing possible issues that could cause a buyer to back out of purchasing your property.
3. Price Your Home
Pricing your home strategically is the single most important part of selling your home fast and for the highest possible price.
This is why it’s crucial to have an experienced agent like Leanna Scott to guide you, as it’s more than simply looking at comparable homes around yours and copying their pricing. It involves balancing a variety of tangible and intangible factors, like knowing what kinds of loans buyers can currently get, how difficult it is for people to get a loan, whether the economy is expanding or shrinking in the area, and whether there are too many homes like yours on the market.
Tip #1: If your home is priced at market value (or below it), your home will get the most showings. People will want to see it at the right price. Conversely, if your price is too high, you frighten away potential buyers and may have to lower the price later on – perhaps even sell it below market value.
Tip #2: The first few weeks after listing your home are critical, and the price will determine how many potential buyers want to look at it. However, choosing when to list your home can be just as important as price. This is especially true in Silicon Valley, where schools – and school years – are a major factors in where/when homes are bought and sold. The peak seasons for the Silicon Valley real estate market are Spring and Summer (March thru August), with the Fall months not far behind. Winter is the real estate off-season, although there are still plenty of people looking for that special deal on their dream home.
4. Prepare Your Home
To attract the most buyers, you need to highlight its best features and present it in the best possible light. This means de-cluttering, having repairs and touch-ups done, removing personalized decor, cleaning it thoroughly, and having the home staged by a professional stager so that both design and decor look fabulous for the listing photos and brochures as well as for all walk-in visitors who see it up close. Leanna’s will make sure that preparing your home for visitors is as smooth as possible, from initial consultations to flawless execution.
5. List Your Home
The first step to selling your home is getting it listed so buyers can find it. But even before that happens, you must first figure out how much your property is worth. The price you get for your home will depend on three main factors:
- The list price
- The condition of your house
- The listing agent
While you have no direct control over the housing market, you do have control over the last two factors. Most importantly, if you choose the right listing agent — someone like Leanna Scott — you will have all the assistance you need to tackle and manage the other factor. Leanna will recommend home improvements and upgrades that give you the highest return on your investment, netting you the most money possible.
6. Market Your Home
After the home is spruced up and touched up, it’s time for professional photographers to come in and capture the property in its staged splendor. Leanna will then use those fabulous photos for all online listings, for the full-color printed brochures, for all printed flyers and print ads. Showings of the property are made during open house events and by appointment only — our way of assuring you that we try to minimize the disturbance on your home life as we market your property.
7. Negotiate the Contract
When a buyer is seriously interested in your home, their agent will put together a purchase offer. In only very few cases is the offer accepted outright. More often, there is a counteroffer process where each party asks to revise terms and address issues until both parties are satisfied. If there are multiple buyers interested in the property, a multiple offer situation occurs where a deadline is set for all the offer presentations and each presentation is scheduled. Sometimes in this bidding situation a buyer exceeds the other offers in amount and terms and you may immediately accept it. In other cases, you have the option of counter offering the highest offers or all of the offers if you wish. As your agent, Leanna will present the strengths and weaknesses of each offer and recommend the best course of action, to give create the best possible result for you – not just the sales price but also taking into account any other factors in selecting the offer that best meets your needs.
8. Go Through Escrow
Once an offer is accepted and the purchase contract is ratified, the escrow process begins. The escrow company is a neutral third party intermediary between the buyer and you, the seller, that involves taking the buyer’s money and exchanging it with your property when all provisions have been complied with. In Northern California, title companies handle both title and escrow responsibilities. Escrow periods typically last for 30 days, though it’s not unusual to see periods lasting as few as 14 days, or as long as 45 days in total.
Once all buyer’s contingencies are removed, if any, the escrow company requests a pay-off amount from your mortgage holder and any other lien holder. The escrow company will then prepare the settlement statement which holds all the financial details regarding the pay-off and other closing-related expenses for your review. At a set time, you then meet the escrow officer to sign the deed transfer and other closing documents.