Information for Sellers
The Selling Process, From Beginning To End
The following is a generalized look at the process of selling a property. While the information on this page doesn't cover all the possible aspects of selling a property, it highlights some of the major issues and milestones along the path to doing so. At times, the path may seem long, complex and complicated, and it is. However, we are here to guide you along every step of the way, backed by our time-refined experience, first-hand knowledge, and constant dedication to our clients.
What To Look For In A Real Estate Professional
Choosing a real estate professional can be scary. We know -- we work with them every day! While there are many out there that are knowledgable and can represent your best interest, there are times that it can be just the opposite. As you can see in the About Us section of this website, all our qualifications (and a few fun facts) are laid out in plain text. We don't overreach and embellish in order to try to snap up your business. We believe in earning it, through referrals and our actions.
What to look for in a real estate professional is simple: choose someone who is experienced in selling property. Not only negotiating a good price, but also aware of the many potential pitfalls facing sellers throughout the entire process, including removing a beehive so large, it filled the entire side of a house, in between the walls (you'll have to personally ask us about that experience). Bob has personally owned property since 1968, and Marc purchased his first property in 1988. Since then, they have gathered vital information and experience in the way homes are built, maintained, and sold, and have worked with countless sellers to successfully sell properties throughout San Diego County.
Pricing, Pricing, Pricing
Other than selecting a highly qualified and experienced real estate professional, the most important step in selling your property is proper pricing. Buyers are more educated and knowledgable than ever about neighborhoods and pricing. Price your property too high, and the average buyer won't even bother looking at your house if the price isn't comparable to other similar homes for sale in the neighborhood. They'll just wait until the price comes down. Furthermore, if a price is too high, many computerized buyer searches won't even find your property because it's out of their preset search range. We attempt to price our listings at prices that will attract the attention of many buyers, not just a few, in order to get a lot more activity from qualified buyers, and increase the potential for you to receive multiple offers on your property. The old adage "location, location, location" may still be true, but so is "pricing, pricing, pricing".
Preparing And Showing Your Home
Another important part of the selling process is properly preparing your home for sale. First impressions count a lot. With a little bit of cleanup and a couple of "tricks of the trade", your home will be ready to go. We take many pictures of the inside and outside of our listings, so a properly prepared home shows better and bigger in pictures as well as in person. Your home will be competing with many others, about to be viewed by buyers used to seeing "perfect" homes on HGTV. You and your family will need to make a conscious plan to have your house enticing when buyers come looking, and have it look as close to the way it did in the pictures as possible.
There are also a few things required for all sales transactions in California, including properly securing your water heater with earthquake straps, and installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We can assist in the installation of these devices if your home currently doesn't have them.
We also have a few suggestions on how to show your home to prospective buyers, once the property is on the market. Plan for you and the family (and your dog(s) if you have one or two, or especially 20) to be away from the house when buyers come over with their agent for a viewing. It gives the buyers time to think for themselves without the feeling of being stalked or listened to while they're walking around.
We have prepared a complimentary one-page reference sheet in PDF format that has a list of suggestions for preparing and showing your home for sale. You can download and view it by clicking here.
How We (Don't) Advertise Our Listings
"Back before there were computers..." We've been working with real estate before some of the current real estate agents were even born. New listings were released weekly, in books with just one black and white photo, and only to just a couple thousand locally active real estate agents. Today's technology makes those days seem like the stone age. A long time ago, all listings were advertised in the local newspaper in classified ads. In San Diego, it was the Union Tribune. One of the main reasons for the fall of the printed newspaper (and the UT) is the abrupt drop in the number of paid classified listings. No one buys them anymore, because everything is available on the internet.
We no longer advertise our listings. We syndicate them. Syndication is the vast, immediate sharing of a listing throughout the entire world, literally. When we list a property, that information is sent out to hundreds of major real estate websites, for everyone to see. Our listings become immediately accessible to over two billion people around the world. For the first time in history, in a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, more buyers are finding properties on their own via the internet rather than from a real estate professional. Once they do, they contact their agent for a showing. We make sure our listings get out to the world quickly, for all who are searching to find and see.
The Truth About Open Houses
Open houses rarely sell homes. That's why we don't do them. Actually, we often have agents contact us to see if we will allow them to hold an open house for our listings. Why? Open houses are a way for real estate agents to capture new leads of potential buyers, and are the primary reason some agents still do them. If you read the paragraph above, you're aware that most home searching today is done on the internet. In the old days "back before there were computers", open houses were a way to showcase properties for buyers to see. Now they are primarily a means to generate new business for the person holding the open house, not to sell the home itself. Next time you have a little time to kill, take a walk on through an open house, and pay close attention to what happens next. You could find the people holding the open house more interested in capturing you as a buyer, than being there just to help the seller sell the house.
We Have Multiple Offers! Now What Happens?
We are very good at generating multiple offers for our clients. As a matter of fact, 92% of our listings in 2012 received multiple offers. Multiple offers allows us the opportunity to generate an auction effect, most times driving up the purchase price that is ultimately paid by a buyer. It also gives us substantial negotiating power when it comes to a buyer asking for repairs or other concessions after their offer has been accepted. If they ask for too much, we just go on to the next buyer who has been patiently waiting (and whom we have been in constant contact with to ensure they are still interested in the property). We've been doing this for a long time, and have fine tuned our methods to make sure you receive an exceptionally high level of service and support.
Choosing Additional Service Providers
Sales transaction in California use escrow and title companies to facilitate the sale of the property. An escrow company is a neutral third-party whose purpose is to make sure all conditions of the real estate transaction have ben met. A title insurance company insures against losses from defects in title to the property, generally speaking, it makes sure the property can be sold by the person selling it. We have several companies we can refer to you, including Affinity Escrow Services and Lawyer's Title Insurance Company, both of which we have worked with for many years, including for our own personal transactions. Another service provider typically used in transactions nowadays is a home warranty company. Again, we have several we can refer, and many of our clients choose American Home Shield.
A typical California sales transaction has over 40 disclosures for the seller to provide the buyer. Disclosures we have worked with for years and have become very familiar with their terms and (sometimes confusing) language. We take as much time as our clients like to go over each and every disclosure, assisting in their completion. We also take care of ordering other required reports, such as a Natural Hazard Disclosure report from Disclosure Source, and a Preliminary Title Report. We also work with escrow to order Home Owner's Association documents if your property is located in a HOA. Our goal is to make the mountain of paperwork as simple and unobtrusive a process as possible. It's what we do.
Time To Be Appraised
If a buyer is obtaining a loan in order to purchase the property, the lender will require an appraisal be completed, which includes a visit to your home by a licensed appraiser. Their inspection of the property includes taking measurements of the outside and inside of the property, as well as photographs. Usually this takes less than an hour.
The Property Inspection Process
Most buyers will hire a professional property inspector to do a thorough inspection of the property. Several disclosures and the purchase contract recommend it. If they do, it's typically best to not be around when it's time for your home to be inspected. That way the inspector can get in and out while staying focused on the task at hand. Once the inspection has been completed, the buyers may send over a Request for Repair. Depending on what is requested, you can have the repairs done, provide the buyer with a credit in lieu of repairs, or do nothing at all. We assist our clients to decide which type of response is best for their particular situation.
Just A Few More Signatures
Towards the end of the transaction, there will be other documents for you to sign, including escrow documents and the grant deed, the most important piece of paper of the entire transaction. It is the document that, when recorded, will officially transfer title to the property to the new buyer. Sometimes, the buyer's lender will have a page or two for you to sign. All of these loose pieces of paper are gathered and managed by the escrow company. Consequently, these documents are typically signed at the escrow company's offices.
It's Time To Close Escrow
Once everything is in order and all documents have been signed by all parties and gathered by the escrow company and the buyer's funds are delivered to escrow, then the transaction will be ready to close. The signed grant deed is delivered to the County Recorder's office to be recorded into the permanent public record. Once we receive confirmation that this has occurred, the property officially transfers possession to the buyer and the transaction is then complete.
Keep in mind that this is a general description of the sales process. There are literally hundreds of variables that can occur, and we've experienced most of them. You can rest assured that as our client, we will be constantly looking out for you and your interests. Since the majority of our new business is referrals from existing clients, it is a high priority of ours to keep you happy and sane. We're here to guide you, every step of the way, down the long, complex and complicated path of selling property, backed by our refined experience, first-hand knowledge, and steady dedication to our family of satisfied clients.
" Marc sold a home for us and it was absolutely painless! From day one when we met with him to discuss a possible listing he struck us as honest, concerned and detail oriented. The following Monday we had 8 offers and by Wednesday we had 12 and the sales price kept going up. We sold within two weeks for more than the asking price and closed escrow within 30 days of the listing! Can't get any better than that. Marc kept us in the loop as often as necessary and it was just an enjoyable experience. We would use Marc again and we highly recommend his services."