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Seller Tips Information

Are you interested in selling your home?

The sales associates at South County Realty are experts in assisting you every step of the way. Below are six basic steps to get you started. For a more detailed custom tailored plan please contact us.


The Six Basic Steps for Selling Your Home:

  1. Select a Realtor

  2. Plan/Prepare for the Sale

  3. Set the Sale Price for Your Location

  4. Market Your Home

  5. Accept an Offer from a Buyer

  6. Close Escrow and Move


1. Select a Realtor

While each home and transaction is different, every owner wants the same things - the best possible deal and a smooth, quick transaction.

The home selling process has become a complex transaction where the seller has the responsibility for extensive disclosure duties, environmental concerns and many legal issues all wrapped up in a multitude of forms. Making sure that the transaction goes smoothly and without undue stress or financial burden on the seller is the job of a local Realtor. They are trained in real estate marketing, financing and negotiation and have experience with all aspects of the transaction. Over the last 30 years Agents of South County Realty have represented hundreds of buyers and seller in the Bay Area always with the interest of their clients as their primary priority. 

Why use a Realtor? There are more than 2 million people nationwide who have licenses to sell real estate, of which about 750,000 belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Only NAR members are entitled to use the term "Realtor." NAR members must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. In essence, local Realtors are community experts. They track real estate trends, share neighborhood concerns and participate in local matters. They're good neighbors who are in the business of helping others buy and sell homes.


2. Plan/Prepare for the Sale

There are many reasons to sell a home. Some include: more space, job change or the need for a change can all have an impact on how you price the home and the negotiating process. Making this decision is never an easy one.

The first step in the selling process is to get your home ready for sale. Take a look at your home and attempt to view it from the eyes of a prospective buyer. Determine if repairs need to be made, what needs to be cleaned or painted and what needs to be improved in order to make the best impression. Not everything you can do just before the sale will return a higher sale price, the goal is to gain a return on the time and money you invest in this fix-up phase. Working with your local Realtor will help you to make the right investments in this phase that will provide a maximum return in the sale.

The next step is to stage the home for potential buyers. The outside of the home makes the first impression, this is known as curb-appeal. Landscaping and exterior paint are the primary improvements that can be made to create curb appeal. You want potential buyers to be interested in seeing what is inside the home.

Inside, clear out any clutter so that potential buyers walking through your home will be able to easily see most of it. It should look spacious and neat. This offers a chance to clean out all of the things that you do not want to move to your new residence well before moving day.

Smells can be everything to some people. Cleaning along with fresh flowers and other odor enhancing is a common tactic to improve the nose appeal of your home.

Any repair that needs to be made for visual appeal should be done. These are things like leaky faucets, burned-out light bulbs, broken windows and screens and so forth. The idea is to attempt to give the potential buyer the impression that you are and have been the model of home maintenance and have taken great care of your home.

Make your house feel like a model home. Get out the best linen for the guest bedroom. Put out nice guest towels in all the bathrooms. Your Realtor should be able to assist you in defining the special touches that make your house appealing. Have a few friends and neighbors over, have them walk through the house looking for items that could be improved upon.


3. Set the Sale Price for Your Location

The asking price for your home should be close to what the market place has defined for other home sales in your area. Every individual selling their home wants the maximum price in a short amount of time with the least hassle. Local market conditions, interest rates and supply and demand all influence the price of your home. By looking at past home sales for prices of similar properties and trends in the market conditions, a close approximation of the sale price can be made. Factoring in how fast you wish the transaction to occur may influence your asking price as well. The price is important to raise interest in your home and if priced right, induce a potential buyer to make an offer.

The actual offer may include many conditions included in the price so these need to be evaluated when determining what the actual cash out other sellers have received for their homes. Your pricing should reflect any credits and conditions you expect the buyer to include. Because experienced Realtors have handled many transactions, they're familiar with the terms and conditions that went into individual sales, not just the published sales prices which may not reflect various premiums, discounts and adjustments. 

4. Market Your Home

Each home and location is unique and thus no two homes are usually sold in the same manner. The marketplace is always changing, interest rates will vary, there are new buyers entering the market every day, cities are changing as new roads are built, new businesses start up and new areas are developed or redeveloped. With such fluidity, it requires individuals with experience in the local area to best market your home to prospective buyers.

Typical marketing options include: entering your home in the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service), advertise on various web sites, networking with other realtors in the office and local area, possibly advertise in newspapers or other periodicals and place a lock box so other Realtors may bring their clients for a tour. Open Houses may be scheduled, signs posting that the home is for sale will be set up on the property and the home will be listed on our web site. Flyers will be made available to those who drive by providing the details of the home.


5. Accept an Offer From a Buyer

Typically, a prospective Byer will present an offer on the home through their Realtor to the Seller's Realtor. Every offer received by the Seller's Realtor will be presented to you. How do you know if this is a good offer or not? Is it at or near the asking price? Are there discounts or conditional clauses that may cost you, the Seller, money? Is this the best offer of many or the only one received after months of marketing the home? How strong is the Buyer's financial position? Is there a chance that the Buyer will not be able to obtain financing or are they already pre-approved? Should you accept the offer as is, reject it or make a counter offer? Properly negotiating a counter offer can increase your bottom line while still preserving the sale. This is an area that most Sellers are not experienced in dealing with. Realtors can offer a lot of help in making sure that you get the maximum price from your home while protecting you from expenses that a Buyer may hide in an offer.

6. Close Escrow and Move

Once an offer is accepted by both the Buyer and Seller, the sales transaction is just starting. Your Realtor is there to assist you through all the inspections and paperwork. They will work with a local escrow company to handle the financial details and ensure that all of the contractual obligations are completed before the house closes.

Your preparation for the move should begin while the paperwork is being completed. The actual date of move out can be defined in the contract negotiations and the keys are transferred at close of escrow. If there is a requirement to stay in the house after escrow this can be negotiated with the Buyer however, you should be prepared to move out before or near the date of escrow.

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