The Palos Verdes area is home to some truly gorgeous real estate, with picturesque estates set amidst rolling hills and ocean viewpoints in the distance. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these stunning homes, you might be wondering how to make the most of your property when it comes time to sell it.
If you are trying to put your home on the Palos Verdes real estate market, then you know there's a lot of work ahead of you. Thankfully, trusted local realtor Holly Danna has some tips on how to sell a house properly to get those top-dollar offers.
Come up with a list price
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Coming up with an accurate, realistic picture of the price of your home is the first step to attracting buyers. After all, you want your home to be competitive against other Palos Verdes homes. Thankfully, your real estate agent has the tools to do this quickly by comparing your home with comparable sold properties in the same market.
The value of your house depends on a number of factors. These include:
Size and usable space, including basements and attics
Location, school quality, and accessibility
Age and condition. Needing major repairs will bring your home's value down.
Upgrades and updates
The local market and how much other similar homes are worth
The overall economy. The housing market goes up and down with effects such as unemployment rates, interest rates, and consumer confidence.
Your asking price should reflect these factors, and you should be realistic about your expectations. Sometimes the price can even be affected by the time of year, so if you are flexible about when you can move, you can sometimes get a better price.
Prepare your home for viewing
You need your home to be in its best possible condition for sale. It's a good idea to do minor or important upgrades such as a fresh coat of paint, refreshing the kitchen, and any repairs on the roof.
Professional home staging can make a huge difference. If you are moving out prior to the sale, then it's best to hire a professional stager to help your buyers envision themselves in your home. A stager will bring in appropriate furniture and decorations and set your house up in an attractive but neutral way. Your real estate agent can help you stage the space or find a stager.
Make sure to declutter before putting your house up for sale. Remove and store most personal items away, as they can interfere with a buyer's ability to see themselves in the space. Absolutely take out anything which is religious or political in nature. Don't forget your closets, either, because buyers will check for storage space.
Also, improve curb appeal by mulching your trees and beds, adding some spots of color (container plants or annuals), and mowing the lawn.
Set up showings
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There are pros and cons to private showings and open houses, and which is best depends in part on your market and other factors, such as HOA rules. Discuss with your Palos Verdes real estate agent what the best options are for your home.
Open houses get a lot of buyers in but also attract a lot of casual browsers and curious neighbors. Private showings tend to attract more committed prospective buyers.
Make sure the house is clean for each showing. If you have pets, get a friend to take them during showings or keep them confined in a less-trafficked part of the home. If you have already moved out, your real estate agent can take care of most showing-related stuff for you. If not, then you may want to be there to show things to buyers and answer their questions.
If all goes well, you will receive offers. Do not simply ignore an offer. It's always worth making a counteroffer, even if the price being offered is lower than you hoped. Don't be afraid to make a full-price counter offer.
If you get a large number of offers, your real estate agent will set up a bidding war for you. If this happens, it might feel as if you have a chance of getting over the asking price, but you need to manage your expectations. Perfect offers can fall through. Taking a cash deal can be a great way to get your money faster and reduces risk, but don't expect it to happen in all cases.
No matter what, don't burn bridges with the people making rejected offers, as you may end up needing them if the "best" offer falls through. A buyer can back out at any point.
Handle the closing paperwork
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Once you have chosen and accepted an offer, there are a lot of steps left to do. These administrative steps are vital.
Open an escrow account. The buyer's funds (or their lender's) will be put in escrow until the deal is completely finalized.
Order a title policy. This is a form of insurance that protects the buyer from any flawed records related to the house. It covers pricey administrative fees and is traditionally purchased by the seller. It shows your integrity.
The buyer's lender will typically require an appraisal and a home inspection. Problems with either of these can cause the deal to fall through. You will need to cooperate with the buyer on these.
Negotiate a closing date. In most cases, the buyer will take possession on closing. You can sometimes negotiate for a bit of extra time to finish moving out. A "rent back" deal means you will stay for a bit but owe the buyer rent. The buyer may need a bit of time to complete their own arrangements. Pick a date that is suitable for everyone.
Negotiate repair requests. It's very common for the home inspection to show up something. This might be a problem you never noticed yourself. The buyer may try to get a small drop in the asking price or ask you to repair the issue before they take possession.
Deliver seller disclosures. This is anything you feel the buyer needs to know or anything you have discussed.
Ask the buyer to release their contingencies. It's rare for a deal to have no contingencies, and the most common involves the results of the home inspection.
Sign the title and escrow documents.
Attend your final closing appointment, sign paperwork, and hand over the keys. The contract will say when you need to be out of the house. The proceeds will be wired to your bank account minus the fees.
As you can see, there are a lot of steps here. Your Palos Verdes realtor can help you navigate them successfully and get you out of the door quickly, as well as ensure your buyer is satisfied.
What if you have a mortgage?
Selling a home with a mortgage adds a step. During the escrow process, your lender will provide you with a mortgage payoff statement. When you close, the escrow agent will send the balance of your mortgage to the lender, paying it off. If your home sells for less than the mortgage amount, you will be responsible for the balance. If it sells for more, you will receive a profit. Be aware that you will continue to owe interest until the date of the move, and you should continue to make payments. The payoff statement will have an expiration date, so you want to get it as close to moving as possible, so you don't have to request another one.
It can be hard to sell a home with a mortgage if it has precipitously dropped in value. Ideally, you want to make at least some profit on the sale of your home, or at least enough to pay the downpayment on your next house.
How soon can I sell a house after purchase?
You can sell at any time, but most investment experts recommend waiting at least two years unless you have an emergency, such as a sudden need to relocate. This gives your home some time to accrue value and helps avoid ending up "underwater," which is owing more than the home is worth. Ideally, you want to stay in a home even longer, although today's fast-paced world makes this harder. Finding the right home in the first place, so you are less inclined to want to sell, is vital.
If you are trying to sell one of the glorious Palos Verdes homes, you need the best real estate agent on your side. Holly Danna can help you with this entire home selling process and get you on the road to your new place quickly. Call us today to get your journey started!
*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock