Standing out in any market market can be a challenge regardless of the competition. If you are you thinking about selling your house in Sacramento, Stockton or Modesto, then you need to decide what you are going to do to position your house to compete. No one, including real estate agents can forecast what type of market you will be entering, but in today’s sellers market the best way to approach selling a house is to pretend its a buyers market and be prepared for anything to happen.
That said, no matter what the market is like, with a buyers market strategy in place, you will always be able to sell quickly and for the price you want.
People Say Sell My House Fast in Sacramento
Isn’t that what everyone wants? A three to five day listing, an offer at full asking price, in escrow 10 days max and cash in the bank with no inspections, no appraisals and no repairs? Unrealistic? For the most part, but if you are serious about selling your house fast in Stockton, there is more to the story and the strategy above will always work because it always focuses on the buyer as the central driver to buying your house. Speak to the people that have the power and you will sell your house fast in any city.
Be Realistic about the Condition of Your House
Remember, markets dont create value. They create inventory and different levels of scarcity, and scarcity is is only one factor in determining price. What determines value for any buyer is the product that they receive for that price that they pay. Price it too high and they walk. Price it too low and we’ll call it sold. Price it at market value and wait for the right buyer to come along. As the seller, you need to find that pricing sweet spot to sell your house.
There is nothing worse for a seller than an unrealistic view of the value of their house. Remember that not all houses are created equal and just because the house across the street and next door sold at a higher price does not mean that yours will as well. Real estate is a fickle product and it requires the right buyer to see only what you want them to see. Remember that they are going to have a lot of help to pour cold water on their desires to buy once an offer is accepted. They come in the form of lender conditions, mortgage payments, interest rates, inspections, repairs, appraisals, finally closing cost and finally, perceived value.
If it’s one thing that I have learned over the past 10 years its that it really doesn’t matter what you want as the seller. The buyer has the final say. If you make it too complicated for them they are just going to walk away. The unrealized potential of your house that comes with an oversized backyard is a great selling point, but only for the buyer that can see the possibilities of utilizing that space. If there is a grove of trees occupying that space today another buyer may see that its going to cost a fortune to remove the trees. You may want to remove the trees in advance of the sale.
Finally, at some point your houses age, location and condition are going to all become a part of the conversation. You need to allocate a value to each and understand that even the most beautiful house in the neighborhood on that larger corner lot will have a problem selling if it is right next door to a 7/11 and all of the night time traffic.
Accommodate the Buyers in Advance, Fix Everything
Anticipation come with experience and when I say accommodate the buyer in advance, that is the real estate investor in me speaking. I know that No house is perfect. In 2009 to 2014 I looked at roughly 50 to 75 houses every week. I saw the good the bad and the ugly. As a cash home buyer in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto I have seen it all and I know that what I didn’t see someone else did. I passed over a lot of houses. Not because they were ugly. We buy Houses that are ugly. I passed them up because dollar for dollar, they were not ugly enough. I knew that for every dollar that I spent on the front end, back then, I could save two dollars on the back end, if I bought the ugliest house and fixed it.
That experience has led me to today and I can tell you that it is easier to fix something than to apologize to a buyer and watch them walk away. But I also know that with 98% accuracy no matter what the condition of the house that I am selling, 98% of the buyers will order at least one inspection. Having said that, I also know that if I were to have 3 home inspections on the same house (regardless of its condition), one right after the other, at the end of the day, I would have three different inspection reports, and none of them would be exactly the same. Sure they might all call out the same problems with dry rot, single paned windows, broken light fixtures and a taped together thermostat. But you would be surprised about the other things that they would find or miss. Deal killer, buyer bad faith perception things with roofs, foundations, plumbing, sewer and electrical. I see it every day and that is why I fix everything in sight.
If I were a homeowner and I had house that I wanted to sell, I would call a home inspector for a detailed report. I would then take that report and I would fix everything in it.
As a buyer, I never have anything inspected anymore. Today, I generally know what I am going to run into and if I am already peeling back the walls and tearing up the floors, I will see first hand what is in store for me. It is what lets me sleep at least a half a night when my houses finally hit the market for resale. My advice to anyone selling a house is always the same … if you can afford it fix it. Chase the market… be patient and recoup your cost the best you can.
You can Offer Incentives
I read about incentives all of the time and unless I have a house that is a real challenge, I find incentives difficult to deal with unless it is something that can be dealt with immediately. There are all sorts of things that sellers can do. You can offer to pay the buyers half of the closing cost or offer closing credits that can be issued at the time of escrow. I have heard of sellers offering buyers a credit to remodel and fix up the house as they wish. You can also include furniture, or recreational vehicles such as personal watercraft or ATV’s etc… we have even seen someone throw in tickets to an upcoming concert or sporting event.
Sometimes you just need to think outside the box. I prefer to put most of my energy into fixing and updating the house in advance. In doing so we always are looking to create a new market price and so I expect some holding cost. I like my houses to be the best and I consistently ask the highest price. But then again, we recreate them the way that we would like to live in them. That may be why I enjoy so much of what I do. I feel like I am productive everyday by providing opportunities to both buyers and sellers.
Pay for the Repairs
It is your house and you get to price it and sell it for what you want. For the most part, you know what is wrong with it and if you want to list it as is that is up to you. You are under no obligation to fix anything. You do however, have an obligation to tell any and all buyers what you know about the condition of the house that could affect its value. You have an obligation to disclose anything that you are aware of in advance of closing that needs to be fixed. I know I have seen all of the disclosure statements that have made their way onto the real estate scene over the past 15 years.
This is important because when you do put the house on the market and receive an offer, 98% of all buyers will order at least one inspection and possibly three. With that said you can let it be known that you are receptive to making repairs. If a buyer wants to negotiate repairs, I always make the grand gesture of paying for all repairs. While it is not always a sure way to win over buyers, it does alleviate some of the concerns they had about buying the property. Of course, you might want to plan for this going in and price your home accordingly to begin with. Buyers dont like surprises and they will eventually find out what is wrong anyway.
Price it Right
When selling a house, the pricing is always the major debate. Some real estate agents want to price it below top of market and chase the top by hoping to get multiple buyers involved… I understand the theory, but in practice it is anything but perfect. Even in sellers markets it is usually a non starter because most buyers dont like engaging in bidding wars.
With that said, the pricing of your house is the centerpiece and it is the first thing that buyers see. If you are going to chase the top of the market, you better have value on the back end. There is nothing worse for a house than to have a high price and be an empty shell. So the pricing has to be the conversation that looks at all sides of your houses potential. It should be, as the pricing sets the tone and the baseline for what conversations come next. Unfortunately, Real estate agents are notorious for not having the right conversation regarding the proper pricing of most houses. I see too often overpriced and under represented houses. If they were not, the real estate agents would be guaranteeing a sale. Unfortunately, real estate agents dont buy houses and that is the problem with nearly 40%b of the houses that are on the market today.
Here is my advice. List your house to sell. You as the seller get to accept any offer that you like with the terms and conditions that are agreeable to you. It is ok if you start high and come down. While its true that on the MLS there is a recorded history of price changes in both directions most buyers never get to see that as most real estate agents aren’t looking.
Most Real estate agents are passively looking for houses for their clients. They have systems in place that send out alerts when a new house hits the radar in the price range of the buyer. While houses can get a reputation, it is usually the sellers that get that stigma for being unreasonable. Regardless of price changes, I can assure you that it is a fallacy that price changes give buyers a message about a house. Dropping the price is a way to attract interest and making changes every couple of weeks accomplishes that goal. Don’t worry that others will think that if you drop your house a few thousand dollars every couple of weeks it can make you look desperate or like there is something wrong with the house. You will not appear as if you don’t know the actual value of the house, because until you get an offer and you close… you are just fishing for someone to come along and buy. That is the truth.
I dont subscribe to the alternative pricing scheme that says that you need to drop your price in one bold move. Instead of dropping the price by say $2000, drop it instead by $15,000. While itr will catch everyone’s attention and will tell people you are ready to sell now, such a large drop may cut out a large part of your equity before it is even necessary.
Use the Right Agent
Good luck determining this if you are like 78% of sellers that just sign a listing agreement with the first real estate agent that they meet with. I interview real estate agents all of the time and some of them are very capable and others… well, not so much. If you are serious about selling your house then you must put in your time on the front end and do your part and that means hiring someone that is capable of positioning your house so it stands a chance in a buyers market. You need to interview at least three if not more to really find a good agent.
This is paramount advice. Did you know that nearly 90% of all real estate agents fail within the first five years? That is a big number. In 2014 National Association of Realtors reported 87% of all new agents fail after five years in the industry and only 13% make it. Agents don’t leave the industry because they made too much money, no, they leave the industry because they didn’t make any. So I am going to ask you, is your real estate agent in their first month or last month? As a real estate investor, I see first hand every day the representation that my houses get from a buyers agent. They are more like personal shoppers that bird dog properties, put together shopping day itineraries and discuss the likes and dislikes. They are not master negotiators and they are not generally any better than you at negotiating price or anything else for that matter.
Here is another little factoid. Of all of the listings on the Multiple listing Service, nearly 40% expire without an accepted offer. That is huge. A large part of that is because real estate agents dont even sell houses any more. They are marketing managers and unless your house has all of the right stuff at the right price range it will just sit.
So here is my advice… don’t choose the agent the best website. Don’t fall for the salesman or showmanship so many agents employ. Instead, work with the agent who immediately provides you with information when you call. Hire a worker. Dig into their marketing background. Ask them questions that reveal their ability to explain market reports. You need an agent that you can work with that can also crunch numbers with you until you reach your goals. The agent who tries to “wow” you with the highest price, will likely be be no-existent after you sign the listing agreement.
Create some Curb Appeal
First impressions matter. Studies show that people decide within the first few seconds of seeing a home, whether they like it or not. A bad first impression will stick with them as they view the house, and will likely not lead to an offer. However, with a little weeding, and planting, your curb appeal can change overnight. You don’t have to spend a fortune. Simply clean up any debris, add some mulch and pull the weeds. Prune everything that has become overgrown, and plant a few new flowers to add a little color. Having a cheerful front yard will immediately make people feel like they could be home.
Now is Not The Time To Go Cheap
Remember in a buyers market there is a lot of competition. If you are serious about selling, spend the money getting professional photographs and make sure that they are uploaded to the MLS. Consider having a professional stager come in and decorate the house. Truthfully I have never used one and yet my houses have always sold for top of market.
Remember mediocrity will encourage people to pass on your house, without giving it a second thought. Pictures are like a 1,000 words and you will want to work with a professional photographer who can highlight your home in the best way possible. Look at pricing for videos and 3d renderings. The new technology is wonderful and even night shots can be simulated.