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  • Writer's pictureColin Davies

7 Things Every Seller Must Do to Sell Their Home in the East Bay

There is a lot of competition in the East Bay housing market and Real Estate agents everywhere who want to "help" you sell your home. You get postcards, letters, emails, phone calls, Instagram ads in your feed, and possibly even an awkward conversation in the grocery store. All of these point of contacts have the same goal, to get you to sell your home with them. But what things should your Realtor know and already be doing with current clients to get the home the most interest and ultimately the highest sale price. Here are the 7 Things you must do:

Happy Clients
Successfully Sold Home in Richmond Annex

1. Prepare your Home: Meet in person with your Realtor at the home and listen to their recommendations. Many articles and conventional wisdom will suggest to remodel the kitchen or bathroom to capture a return. This is not necessarily true. The best Realtors in our neighborhoods already know that the home prepared correctly can capture extremely high values with diligently presented kitchens and bathrooms. Old tile counter tops and laminate flooring in a kitchen or bathroom can create a great emotional connection to prospective buyers throwing back to the homes that they grew up in. But the value is in the details, the cabinets should be extremely clean, the hardware should be replaced to match the home, the walls, trim, and ceiling should be painted. Each room should be addressed individually and recommendations should be given.

2. Do Inspections Upfront: Ask your Realtor for the most respectable local vendors in the area that the industry relies on. Yes, they are expensive, but the information they will provide to a prospective buyer allows the transaction to be that much smoother when it goes into contract and most likely will procure cleaner offers. Not to mention, these upfront reports give you options of items to address now pre-market and in many cases at a much more affordable cost. Ask your Realtor for the recommended inspections needed specific to your home. Different cities in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties have different point of sale ordinances and will require different professional inspections.

3. Spend Time on Your Disclosures: After the home has been prepared and the inspection reports are in, meet with your Realtor and do a walk through of the home. Take notes during the walk through. This will remind you of little details that you might not otherwise remember and include. Some examples of doing a walk through that you might not think of otherwise could be: the barking dog next door, BART noise, a crack in the bedroom window, or that you remember that you had the electrician install GFCI's for the bathroom and kitchen last year. This gives you the chance to highlight improvements that you have made to the home. Overall this helps the prospective buyer have a much better idea of the condition and history of the home. The more information you can provide not only helps buyers, but helps other Realtors that are representing those buyers know compare the home to the rest of the market. You would be surprised at some of the disclosure packets out there with little insight or thought.

4. Don't skimp on Staging: Another upfront expensive cost, but the quality of the staging makes a huge difference in prospective buyers connecting with the home. If the lifestyle presented in the home doesn't match the home buyer they will go elsewhere to find their home. It goes back to the details, staging allows them to imagine their life if they lived in the home. If you go into the Kitchen and they have the generic cookbook with the Marshals sticker on it, a buyer is going to notice. If it is instead Alice Waters "The Art of Simple Food" in the kitchen in a home in North Berkeley... guess what, it will create an emotional connection to the home and to the history and significance of "Chez Panisse". Pretty powerful stuff. There are a few staging companies I work with that I am happy recommend.

5. Hire a Professional Photographer: This is one of the most important part of the marketing of the home that is astonishingly overlooked. While staging does the job for the prospective buyer when they are physically viewing the home, the photography is the determinant factor to bring them into the home Look at the photos below, do you want to come look at the home?

6. Set the List Price: Before you would see list prices well below what a home would sell for. A home in Rockridge in 2017 might be listed for $629,000 and sell for $1.1 million. We were intentionally listing homes for way under what we knew they would sell for. It plays on "scarcity" and worked to get multiple offers and push up the sale price. In this current market the listing price is though of differently. Have a conversation with your Realtor on the current market and the best strategy in setting the list price.

7. Create a Marketing Plan and Strategy Relative to Current Market Conditions: Relating to "scarcity" referenced above a planned marketing strategy can have a huge impact on the level of interest and ultimately the sale price. One of the strategies I implemented was to only hold an open house on Sunday with shorter hours. While the other Realtors were holding open houses as many days as they could with long hours (Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm), I would hold an open house only on Sunday from 2:30-4:00 PM. Why, because it created scarcity. All the prospective buyers that were interested in my listing had a short window of time to view the home. This translates to a more packed open house and means that the first prospective buyer would get there and you could literally see their emotion towards the home. They would look at the floor and give a slight expression of their disapproval. They would walk into the kitchen and an emotion would give on their face. But then all of a sudden a family of four walk in, then a young couple, then another... and all of a sudden the first prospective buyer's attitude changes and they revisit the floor and kitchen and and have an attitude change. It is now something like "I was here first, this is my house". If no one showed up to the open house while they were there, their first impression would of remained and most likely leave the open house disinterested. Listing with the correct Realtor will present marketing strategies to help set the listing price, plan of action, and ultimately a higher sale price.

If you would like to contact me on how I can help you sell your home call now 510-435-3624 or click here.

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