San Francisco is generally a seller’s market, but in order for a home to sell quickly, it must be priced accurately and showcased beautifully. Selling can be a complex process, so click here for a helpful graphic representation of the steps involved:
Managing the Sale of Your Home
- Choosing a listing agent
- Developing a timeline for selling your home
- Pricing your home
- Preparing your home for the market
- Closing with the right buyer
Choosing a listing agent
Much like choosing an agent to help you buy a home, it is crucial that you find a listing agent that you can really trust. You have an emotional investment in your home, so you need someone that you can rely on to guide you through the sales process. As you interview agents, listen to what they say about your home and review their sales records. Then pick someone that is professional, experienced and with whom you feel the right connection.
Developing a timeline for selling your home
The timeline for selling your home depends on several factors. Do you know where you are going to live next? How quickly do you need to close on your home? Do you need to negotiate a “rent back” from your buyers? How much work does your home need before it can be shown? You’ll need to discuss all of these issues with your listing agent to determine the timeline for selling your home. Properties in San Francisco tend to sell quickly if they are priced and prepared properly, but there are no guarantees, so be sure to think through contingency scenarios if things take longer than you expect.
Pricing your home
Your listing agent will go over the comparable market analysis or CMA for your home, which consists of reviewing the sold prices for properties that are similar to yours in your neighborhood. I also encourage clients to visit comparably priced homes that are currently on the market to get a sense of the competition at their price point. These visits will also give you important ideas how to prepare your home for open houses and showings. From this discussion and property visits, you will determine the listing price for your home, which is an exciting step!
Getting ready to sell your home
a) Put together a disclosure package: Your agent will coordinate inspections and put together the paperwork for your home’s disclosure package.
b) Prepare your home for the market: It is impossible to overstate the importance of presentation in getting the highest price for your home! Buyers in San Francisco expect properties to look both clean and beautiful, so all the effort you put into preparing your home will pay off in the final price you get for your property.
Your listing agent may suggest bringing in a professional stager to make sure your property is showcased to its maximum potential. While this may sound excessive, the benefits in terms of price and speed of sale can be quite dramatic. A 2005 survey of Bay Area realtors revealed that, on average, staging a home is associated with an increased sales price of about $54,000, which means that every dollar spent on staging your home could mean a $16 return on investment in the final closing price.
To begin, here are a few things to consider as you get ready to put your home on the market:
a. De-clutter! Start going through rooms and throwing stuff away to give your home a clean and spacious look.
b. Look at your floors, walls, windows, and doors. Do you need to replace any window panes, repair flooring, or touch up paint?
c. Consider your kitchen: It might be worth buying a new appliance or two to give your kitchen an updated look (a $1000 investment here could mean $5000 more in an offer price).
d. Clean out the garage and any storage spaces. Space is valuable in San Francisco, so make yours look roomy, not overstuffed.
e. Don’t forget all the “little” areas- linen closets, under sinks, and backs of closets. Replace old bottles of cleaner with a selection of new, colorful products.
f. Check the roof and gutters, clearing things out if needed and making sure the roof is in good repair. g. Clean out chimneys and make sure fireplaces are working.
h. Review your outdoor space and plant new, flowering plants if necessary.
c) Prep for showings and open houses: Your agent will take the lead in prepping your home before open houses and showings, including bringing in fresh flowers, printing out listing sheets, and making sure all disclosures are complete. Your listing agent will be present at all showings and open houses to answer questions and sell your home to prospective buyers.
Closing with the right buyer
Here’s the fun part: reviewing offers and choosing the right buyer. Your agent will be very important in this process, as she will help you sort through offers and think about the issues of price, contingencies, etc. Remember to plan for the costs associated with closing on your home sale, notably San Francisco’s property transfer tax, which ranges from $5.00 per $1,000 in sales price for properties under $250,000, to $6.80 per $1,000 of sales price for properties sold from $251,000 to $999,000, and $7.50 per $1,000 of sales price for properties over $1,000,000.