Currently I am preparing one of my Oakland listings for the market. Here is a snapshot of what I need to do to position this home to receive the most interest.
- If a seller can afford it, it is best to performinspectionsahead of time. By discovering all of the serviceable and non-serviceable areas of a property, a seller has an option to fix a problem or disclose it to a buyer prior to a buyer writing an offer. Many sellers want to sell a house, "as-is". How can a buyer, buy a house "as-is" if they do not know the true condition? (Sorry sellers, true condition does not mean what you experienced while you lived in your house, rather what a licensed professional determined after careful examination.) Currently, I suggest a home inspection if possible, a termite inspection, (a termite inspector searches for damage from wood destroying bugs, water damage, fungus and mold.), I highly recommend a sewer lateral inspection, (a homeowner is responsible for their sewer line until it reaches the city main. Having your sewer in compliance is a city ordinance, (your sewer must be in working order to close escrow) in Berkeley, Alameda, El Cerrito, Richmond, Albany, but not Oakland. However, many Oakland Realtors suggest that a buyer obtain a sewer lateral inspection.)
When buyers discover needed repairs, deficiencies or other problems during an inspection period of an escrow, they tend to ask for a credit for the needed work, ask for a price reduction or they will simply walk away from the transaction. By showcasing a home and disclosing all of the material facts up front, (and asking all buyers to sign off on the inspection reports prior to writing an offer) you set yourself up for a smoother transaction. When representing a seller, I still encourage a buyer to perform their own inspections, so they can be comfortable in their purchase, but I know that the likelihood of new discovery is slim. I just represented a buyer for a home in the Oakland Hills, I had my buyers hire a sewer professional to examine the sewer line and found that the sewer was constructed of terra-cotta that had many open joints, was full of roots, and needed $7700 worth of repairs. Since this was newly discovered information, I negotiated a full credit from the sellers.
- Staging can make your house look like a designer showcase, the stager that I recommend is Bonnie Pearson , she does amazing work that really showcases houses. In today's economy it is difficult for many sellers to afford a professional stager so I work with clients, their belongings, add what I can, and am still able to have successful results! Check out my latest listing, 60Edgemont.com. This property is set to close next week with 7 offers and my seller and I staged it together!
- Elbow grease makes a difference! Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, clean walls, fresh paint, scrubbed bathrooms and clean windows aid in the sell of your home. In today's market, buyers need a house to make them feel good. When a house is clean, a buyer will stay in the house longer, and this is what a seller wants.
- Price! Yes, the dreaded conversation! I know your house is special and I will showcase it as the best house in the neighborhood, but you have to price a house to bring in buyers. Buyers have access to Zillow.com, Redfin, Trulia, and many other real estate websites. Buyers know exactly what houses are selling for, (there is no fooling a buyer or their agent) and they know when a house is priced too high. It is a National Association of Realtor statistic:
If you under price a house by 5%, 80% of qualified buyers will show up to your house to consider buying it.
If you over price a house by 5%, 30% of qualified buyers will show up to consider buying it. If you over price, you loose 50% of interest!
Every property is different, every client is different, gone is the day where all sellers can afford to move out of their properties, hire help to scour and primp a home. It is important to strategize with a real estate professional who will guide you through the selling process within your budget.