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Category Archive: ‘Thinking of Selling?’

When to Sell Your Home

when to sellThinking of selling your home?

These items will have a direct impact on your ability to sell for top dollar, and make the sale more predictable too:

1. Sell When You Have Good Comps – There’s nothing wrong with letting a neighbor (or two) be the guinea pig, and sell their house first.  Once there are a couple of strong sales nearby, it is much easier to justify your top-dollar price.

Similarly, if there have been a couple of bad sales recently, wait at least six months after they have closed before selling.  Appraisers can’t use them if they are more than six months old, but buyers are known to have longer memories.

2. Sell When There Are Good Active Listings Nearby – Ideally you’d like to have recently-closed sales to help justify your case, but if you don’t have those, the next best thing is to undercut the unsold listings nearby. You will look like the ‘best buy’ only if you drastically undercut the competition….by at least 5%.  Buyers probably know the others are over-priced, so just under-cutting them by a few bucks isn’t enough.

3.  Sell Right After Home Improvements – Retail buyers (the ones who pay top dollar) don’t want the fixers, they prefer the cream puffs.  Shiny new improvements lose their luster quickly; so if you need to fix things, spend the money and then list your home the next day.

4.  Sell When New Tenants Move Out Nearby – Are you among the unfortunate owner-occupiers who have to endure tenants next door?  Did the renters with five kids and 14 yapping dogs just move out?  It’s a good time to sell!  Or conversely, if a great couple with no noise-makers just moved in, sell before they move out!

5.  Sell When You Go On Vacation – If it all goes right, dozens of strangers will be pouring through your house with little or no notice the first few days on the market.  If that idea bugs you, go on vacation the day your house goes on the market – especially if you have a lot of kids and pets.

6.  Sell Before You Get Old – You might chuckle, but it’s true.  For most sellers, moving means: a) having to sift through all the old junk that has been stored away for years and decide what is worth keeping, b) packing and unpacking, c) dealing with a lot of unknowns – strangers, moving, new home, getting settled again, etc., and d) making life-changing decisions.  Don’t underestimate how exhausting the transition can be.

7.  Sell Once You Know Where You Are Going – You have to be 100% committed to moving.  Why?  Because once a seller signs the purchase contract, you cannot cancel (only the buyer can).  In addition, if you don’t know where you are moving, you will price your home too high, and it won’t sell.

Many sellers need to leave town to make it worth it.  If you are thinking that you’ll just rent for a year or two and find a smaller place later for half-off, recent history has shown that it is very difficult to score a big discount in the great neighborhoods.  If you opt for that program, be prepared for the other option which is perfectly acceptable – you may rent the rest of your life.

8.  Sell in March or July – We are fortunate to enjoy a 12-month selling season in San Diego.  Everyone thinks that hitting the market during the Spring Selling Season is the most productive, but there is usually more competition too.

If you wanted to time your own move around spring or summer, then focus on March or July.  If you list in March, hopefully there were already 1-2 of your neighbors who were successful in Jan/Feb, and you can ride their coattails.  March is the safest bet, because April’s market has a lull due to taxes, May/June is graduation season, and summer is full of vacations.  Or wait until the last minute and list in July once all the good buys have been taken (and hopefully several of them sold for astronomical prices) and school is bearing down on the family buyers.

9. Get Good Help!  It was easy in 2013, but homebuyers are more particular now that we have much-higher pricing.  Spend a little more on sprucing up your home, be sharper on price, and don’t just hire any realtor off the street – get good help!

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 2 comments

Selling Early

In the previous video, Brandi mentioned that sellers enjoy a real urgency early in their listing period.  Today’s market is a good example – because every decent buy gets snapped up right away, all new listings get immediate attention.

The North SD County coastal region has been hot up to around $1,400,000 - homes priced above that have a much different supply-and-demand curve.

Here are the current active and pending listings of NSDCC detached homes:

Price Range
# of ACT
# of PEND
A/P Ratio
OVER $1.4M

On the lower end, literally half of the pendings found a buyer in the first 15 days on the market.

This dynamic can be used by both sellers and buyers.  Sellers who price sharply from the beginning can help create a fever pitch, and have a bidding war push the sales price higher.  Buyers who see homes on the market for more than 15 days know that something might be missing.

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Actives/Pendings, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

More Move-Ups Wanted

I removed the ‘Foreclosure’ and ‘Short Sale’ buttons at the top of this website.

The distressed market around NSDCC appears to be over, and while there will be some stragglers, there won’t be any distressed sellers unless, and until, the banks start up the foreclosure machine again.

Literally, there has been zero NSDCC detached homes listed as short sales this year, and only one bank-owned house (which we saw).

move up buyersWith distressed properties off the list, we are back to the Big Three list of serious sellers; death, divorce, and job transfer.  These groups are a constant source of homes coming to market, and we know they aren’t just testing the waters.

Are there other serious sellers in play?

Others have said that the move-up market should be lively, and I poo-poo’d the idea just due to the difficulty of selling one to buy another.

But should the move-up-or-downers be considered as the new #4 on the list of motivated sellers?  Here are four groups with reasons:

Committed to Long-Term – The primary driving force in today’s market seems to be families looking for a house raise a growing family, and stay forever.  Even though I recommend that you should move every 6-12 months, nobody is taking me up on it any more! :)

Squeeze to Improve Quality – Anyone who finds themselves in an inferior situation – location, schools, etc. – will endure the inconveniences in order to upgrade.  Anyone motivated enough will find a way – and all you need is money.

Inheritance – Those who receive a windfall amount of money will consider upgrading their lifesytle by purchasing a new residence.  I’m convinced this has to be a segment of the demand, based on considerably-higher prices paid.

Combining Generations – With the folks getting older, it’s natural for them to consider sharing a residence with the kids to get extra support.

These four groups of potential buyers who need to sell theirs to buy the next house have the necessary motivation to endure the financing hurdles.  They would add to both supply and demand, and help build some sales momentum (which could be off to a sticky start here in 2014).

If you are thinking of moving up or down, and want some advice on how to handle the particulars, get a hold of me!

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Jim's Take on the Market, Sellers Waiting For Comeback, Spring Kick, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Preparing Your Home For Sale

Are you getting ready to sell your home?

CarlsbadCurb appeal is what getts buyers out of the car, and it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to improve.  Let’s start with what you can do out front to improve your chances of selling for top dollar.

Curb Appeal Tips

  • Take a photo of your house and show it to other people for suggestions.  When you are driving around and see a great-looking front yard, you can whip it out your photo and visualize how your home would look.
  • Add medium-to-large pots with colorful plants near the front door.
  • Paint the front door and install new handle.
  • New light fixtures, especially outside the front door.
  • Fertilize your lawn 2-3 weeks prior to listing.
  • Repair or replace any brown spots in your lawn.
  • Trim the trees.
  • Power-wash the driveway and sidewalks.
  • Don’t over-water the lawns.

Once buyers are out of the car and up the steps, the excitement, and expectations, begin rising.  Buyers have usually seen so many average-looking houses that they’re hoping it will be different this time!  Capitalize on other sellers’ failure to prepare their home properly!

To sell for top dollar, the interior needs to impress a buyer, but you don’t have to spend crazy money.  Here is my list accumulatated over the years – do as many as you can!

  1. Rent a storage locker and remove everything not in use.
  2. Paint the main rooms with neutral color (light gray or crisp khaki).
  3. Install new high-grade neutral carpet – it smells ‘clean’.
  4. Paint wood surfaces with glossy paint (baseboards and doors).
  5. Clean all glass – windows inside and out, plus shower doors.
  6. Remove pets (get sitter for a couple of weeks) and all pet odors.
  7. Clutter patrol – remove distracting smaller items in particular.
  8. Replace burned-out light bulbs.
  9. If you have an older kiychen, at least install a new sink faucet.
  10. Add new towels and pillows, flowers, plus fruit in the kitchen.
  11. Tune up your mailbox.
  12. Improve storage capacity in garage.
  13. Make closets look large and inviting – mostly by removing stuff.
  14. Create computer stations.
  15. Plant trees to block neighboring homes.
  16. De-personalize.  Buyers can get nosy about sellers.
  17. Secure the office – don’t leave out any bills or real estate contracts.
  18. The master bath will make or break a deal – go all out.
  19. Hire the professional cleaners the week of hitting the open market.
  20. Hire a great realtor!

Most good realtors are willing to stop by and give free advice on what they think you need specifically.  Get good help!

Posted by on Jan 18, 2014 in Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Get Your Home Sold

The political circus got kicked down the road a couple of months, and weather will be great for another week – it’s a perfect time to sell your house!

But you’ve already been on the market for a few months, and no luck.  You experienced a big rush in the beginning, but now it’s down to a trickle.  You think – if someone would just make an offer…..

What can sellers do to get their home sold in the next 30 days?

Start with putting yourself in the buyers’ shoes, and examine your online presence – is it compelling?  Are there quality photos and video?  Does the listing make you want to go see the house?

Then look at how your price compares with others for sale in the neighborhood. If there are two or more competing homes for sale, and nobody is selling, then a breakout is needed.  Lower your price to be the cheapest of the bunch, or the cheapest $/sf – and make the gap big enough that it is obvious to buyers that you are the best deal.

Nothing works as well as lowering your price.  But there are other things you can do to help the cause - complete as many of these items as possible:

Jim’s A La Carte List:

  1. Lower the price by at least 5%
  2. Add/improve photos.
  3. Produce a new video tour.
  4. Pay Buyer’s closing costs – specify the amount.
  5. Offer to Buydown  the mortgage rate (1% or 1.5% sounds good).
  6. Rent back your home after closing for a premium rate.
  7. Offer a quick or flexible close date.
  8. Vacate home to make it look better and increase showings.
  9. Re-examine the usefulness of range pricing (drop it).
  10. Install lockbox and make it obvious on listing.
  11. No restrictions on showings – show anytime.
  12. Paint and carpet – and spend some real money!
  13. Clean the carpet.
  14. Improve the curb appeal.
  15. Get neighbor’s dog to stop barking.
  16. Get rid of the smell.
  17. Include recent sales in your listing to prove your price.
  18. Mention the specific schools.
  19. Pay a Full Commission to Buyer’s Agent (3% or more)
  20. Pay a Bonus to the Agents.
  21. Hire a professional salesperson.

Whatever you can do to provide more ease and transparency will help.  Buyers are moving quickly, and your first impression needs to grab them!

Posted by on Oct 18, 2013 in Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 4 comments

Selling Now Vs. Next Spring

Yesterday I spoke with a seller who was wondering whether to sell now, or wait until next spring to catch the more traditional selling season.

I suggested the following thoughts and strategy:

  • The velocity of rising prices should slow down, so let’s consider next year’s value to be at most +5% of what it is today, but if everything else is even, you might as well wait to sell.
  • Other potential sellers are thinking the same thing, which could crowd the field – which is a vote for selling now, when everyone else isn’t.
  • Mortgage rates should reflect the health of the economy, so we’ll call that even.
  • Certainty vs. uncertainty is a vote for selling today. Any economic surprise or natural disaster might make you regret not selling – especially if it was a local earthquake that prevented you from selling at any reasonable price.
  • Distressed sales have been a non-factor, though if when checking you find multiple defaulters in your immediate vicinity, sell now instead of later in case lenders seize the moment.
  • If there are more than two high comps nearby to support your price, then you should sell now.  You need recent solid sales to sell for top dollar.
  • If there are three or more active listing nearby, then wait ’til next year, and hope they hold out for top dollar. You don’t want to crowd the field.

If the move to the next home is flexible, then timing the sale of your existing home should really be determined by the recent sales activity nearby.  In the tight-inventory era, we have seen how sales can dry up and leave the next seller gasping for evidence to support their optimistic price.  It makes it harder to sell, and even tougher to get top dollar.

Older areas are prone to have lower-priced sales, so that should weigh in too – estate sales typically don’t care what time of year they sell, the heirs just want to get their hands on the money.  If two or more of those hit the market, they could take a few percentage points out of your wallet next spring.

If you are in a great school district (CV), wait until next year.  Buyers with kids don’t want to disrupt the on-going school year, especially if they are moving from a different district.

Consider all the factors, and do what is best for you – and get good help!

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 7 comments