What to Know Before Selling a Home in College-Glen
Three Golden Rules of Selling a Home in College-Glen
Golden Rule #1 – Having the house show well:
Nothing can hurt a seller more than not getting the home ready to show well when it goes on the market. This may include hiring a cleaning service. I have an excellent house cleaner that can make the place spotless for around $150. Another needed step may include painting the house. A fresh coat of paint that is a nice neutral color can attract a large amount of buyers. Potentially making some needed repairs if there is anything that is obviously in poor condition. Some improvement to the curb appeal may also be needed. Adding some flowers, trimming bushes and cleaning up the lawn will really help in getting potential buyers in the door. A lot of homes in College-Glen have original hardwood floors. Typically, paying for the floors to be lightly refinished is going to provide an excellent return on investment for the sellers. Also, having a pest inspection preformed is typically a good idea. That way the seller knows what pest report problems are already present (dry rot/termites/wood boring beetles/etc.). In most cases, it can be beneficial to get a pest clearance before putting the house on the market. That way, the home can be marketed to all types of buyers (cash/conventional/FHA/VA) and allow your largest possible buyer pool to consider the home. These are just a few of the items that might need to be performed to put the house in best showing condition. Taking a little money and time BEFORE you come on the market is the best process. You really want to “wow” those buyers as soon as they walk in the door.
Golden Rule #2 – Marketing the house well:
This is where hiring an excellent agent is so crucial. A top-notch Realtor will have a professional photographer do all the pictures. This will have the photos stand out to all the buyers and get the most attraction as soon as the house hits the market. The listing agent needs to get the property on the top websites buyers are searching for homes (i.e. Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, Yahoo, YouTube, Craigslist). Beyond the Internet they should be canvasing the neighborhood to stimulate interest among neighbors that may have a friend, family member or co-worker wanting to move into the area and market open houses to maximize weekend traffic. Having a brokers’ tour, where many of the top agents preview the house for their buyer clients. I personally have a text sign rider on the for sale sign. That lets anyone that drives by to text and get all the information immediately on their phone and I capture their phone number so I can call them back right away and see if they are interested in setting up a showing. A listing agent that provides a full marketing plan is crucial. That way the maximum amount of potential buyers will see the house right when it goes on the market, they will think it looks great in the photos and be wanting to see it right away because it looks better than anything else that is on the market.
Golden Rule #3 – Pricing the house correctly:
Working with a neighborhood specialist is very important. An agent that specializes in College-Glen real estate will have seen all of the comparable homes, will know what is going on with buyers looking in the area and what direction the market is currently headed. All that information will be valuable to price the house right from the start. The largest amount of activity on any house for sale is at the beginning when the listing is brand new. So it is essential to have a listing agent that knows the exact right price to go with from the start: that way you get it sold with maximum interest at the start and do not become a stale listing which buyers start to think something must be wrong if it has not sold.
Top Challenges for Selling in College-Glen
College-Glen is its own micro-market, but the surrounding areas influence it. The market in College-Glen has generally followed the Sacramento Real Estate market as a whole. Values took off during the boom/bubble years, sales and prices came crashing down when the bubble burst and now the neighborhood has come back strong with stability.
Due to the long-time owners and the high owner occupied ratio, the neighborhood has remained more stable and less volatile than other neighborhoods in the Sacramento Area. However, the neighborhood still goes through periods of high inventory/buyer’s markets and low inventory/seller’s markets. An expert in the neighborhood will be able to explain what is currently going on at any particular time and what will be happening with the College-Glen market in the near future. That is valuable information for a seller so they can make an informed decision on when to put their property on the market.
An Edge in Negotiating to Sell a Property
The age of the homes sometimes presents a challenge for selling in College-Glen. The houses are not new, but at the same time they are not so old that all of them have had the plumbing and electrical completely redone. Typically, major electrical or plumbing problems do not come up in College-Glen homes yet, but many of the properties have galvanized plumbing. That causes the water pressure to slowly decrease over time. If you get an uneducated buyer that is not familiar with age-related issues, then you can run into problems.
The proximity to the freeway is much closer than other neighborhoods around town. Someone who has never lived near a freeway may think it’s going to be a huge noise issue all day, every day. Typically, if you are at least two houses away from the freeway wall then it is rarely an issue for homeowners. This can sometimes be a hurdle to overcome with buyers from out of the area. I like to invite potential buyers to come into the house during rush hour and let them sit and listen. Once they do that, most of the time it is no longer a concern.
Just like the freeway, the river can also be a concern for some out-of-area buyers. They have flashbacks to the New Orleans flood and fear the worst. Educating those buyers is the key. Letting them know the neighborhood has good levees and is in a FEMA zone X500 and XPL. These designations do not require flood insurance. Additional coverage can be added to your homeowner’s policy and it comes at a discounted price since the area is not a high flood risk location. Once that fear is addressed, the river becomes one of the greatest assets and benefits to most residents of College-Glen.
The fact that there is not a middle school or high school within the physical boundaries of the neighborhood can sometimes be a concern to parents looking to buy in the neighborhood. The elementary school in College-Glen is excellent. After that, there are pretty good options for parents/kids that want to enter the lottery or attend various middle/high schools in the area. Once the options are laid out, most parents are comfortable with moving their children into the neighborhood knowing they have a few different choices.
By living and working in the neighborhood, I have an inside look of the College-Glen real estate market on a daily basis. This provides me with insight of the market that other agents from out of the area do not have. I know exactly what’s going on with buyer activity and if demand is low or high. I have been inside all of the properties that have sold recently so I can compare them exactly to all of my listings. Many times I have knowledge of listings that may be coming back on the market due to inspection or buyer issues and also about properties that will be coming on the market in the near future. This provides my clients and me a position of strength to make the best decisions during negotiations. Other agents would be negotiating blind not knowing certain aspects that are going on with the current College-Glen real estate market.
I have lived in the neighborhood and have seen nearly every house that has sold since 2009. This gives me extensive knowledge of all the comparables in regards to what sells fast, what buyers are looking for, what features get sellers top dollar and what’s going on with the market at any given moment in time. This knowledge translates to my sellers making the right decisions before coming on the market and also provides a position of strength during negotiations with buyers’ offers and after inspections. Lastly, I make sure to meet all appraisers at my listings. This way I can talk with them about every single comparable home they are considering. I typically have more knowledge of the College-Glen market than them so I’m able to assist them in knowing what additional features or benefits my listings have compared to recent sales.
What price should we list it at?
Working with a neighborhood specialist is crucial to pricing the house right. A Realtor that lives and works in the neighborhood will know where the market is headed in the area, will have a pulse on buyer activity and know what’s been going on with the current homes for sale inventory. Taking together all of the info will provide the answer as to how to price the home in comparison to the comparables in order to obtain the highest sales price for the seller.
What should we do to get it ready for selling?
That answer can vary substantially depending on the house condition, location and the current state of the neighborhood market. Typically, it is best to spend some time and money to get the house in excellent showing condition. That would potentially include having the house professionally cleaned, staged, painted, a pest inspection preformed, some curb appeal improvements, hardwood floor refinishing and other options depending on the property. The home showing as well as possible is going to generate the most activity and the highest sales price. A good Realtor will have contacts for all of these services at reasonable prices. However, some homes might be better served with being sold as-is. The home and market conditions will determine how the listing agent will guide the sellers on what should and should not be done.
When should we put the house on the market?
That question will have a different answer depending on the current state of the real estate market in College-Glen. A knowledgeable Realtor that lives and works in the neighborhood will have their finger on the pulse of the market relating to inventory, buyer activity and direction the market is headed. So, if the neighborhood is currently experiencing a shortage of homes for sale and there is a lot of buyer activity, it may be in the seller’s best interest to wait a few months if they can do so. If things are the opposite and homes are having a tough time selling and there’s a limited amount of buyers and the agent is aware that more listings will be coming on the market soon, then it is probably in the sellers best interest to get the house on the market as soon as possible before more decline occurs.
What should we do with the floors?
Many of the homes in College-Glen have original hardwood floors. Over the years those floors have been either covered up by carpet or scuffed up. Most buyers looking in College-Glen love nice hardwood floors. With that being the case, I have made business relationships with hardwood floor guys that do good work for a very reasonable price. I would recommend if the carpet is not in excellent condition, to pull up the carpet and have the hardwood floors refinished. The return on the work is completely worth it and will get the seller a higher price than if the floors remained hidden or not in good condition.
- Lake Forest: A few years back I worked with an investor in my neighborhood. She recently had retired from her career and wanted to get into real estate investing. I was able to find her a great deal on a foreclosure that needed a lot of work. She decided to flip the property, which was great since I lived only a few blocks away. I was able to swing by the construction site each day to check in on the progress, help with any decisions that needed to be made and also took photos to document the transformation. Throughout the entire flip I was able to provide my client with a vivid description of what a buyer will be wanting, expecting and looking for in College-Glen in the price range we would be listing the house for. The finished product turned out great and fit in perfectly with the neighborhood. I canvased the street promoting the Open House for the first weekend on the market. We had a huge turnout with buyers and neighbors all wanting to see the completion. And my marketing showed the transformation from mess to model. Everyone was amazed that it was the same house. We sold the property in one week for above the list price.
- Briarcliff: This seller contacted me from out of town. She was going to be in tomorrow for one day only and needed to meet for a listing presentation of her house she had owned for over a decade. I met with her on short notice and since the house was in College-Glen (only a few blocks away from my house) I told her I would handle everything. She gave me a key and headed back to Kansas. Within the next three weeks I had been out to the house to meet the painter, the floor refinisher, the termite company, the carpet cleaner, a contractor and the house cleaner. I had this empty house looking incredible in three weeks. And we needed to rush because the neighborhood market was hot at the time but I was starting to get a sense that the market was going to be slowing down soon (when you work so much in one particular market, you are able to see the trends before they happen and others catch on). I quickly got my photographer out to the house, listed the property, ran a full-fledged marketing campaign and got the house sold with multiple offers, above the list price. Within the next six weeks the market had shifted to more favoring buyers and there was no way I could have got the house sold for as much money for her at that time. This property showed how important it is to work with a market expert in College-Glen that knows if you should hurry and get your house on the market or wait off a few months and also shows how the seller trusted me due to my market expertise and I was able to take over everything and get it done with my trusted trades professionals right away.
- Wissemann: This seller contacted me wanting to sell his house as a short sale. I met with him for the listing appointment and we went over EVERYTHING!! He was fairly close to breaking even by still upside down on his house. He had just stopped making his mortgage payments due to a job loss. I told him if he trusted me, I could get his house sold as a regular sale for him and he won’t have to have a short sale on his credit. I knew the market was trending up at the time in College-Glen and I also had a pretty good feel that there was not much homes coming on the market in the next few months as well. So I held off from taking the listing at that time. I continued to update him each month and on the 4th month, I told him that now was the time to act. The house was on one of the through streets in the neighborhood so I took advantage of the traffic and put a “Coming Soon” sign. That got interest started before we even put the house officially on the market. Once it was listed I used my professional photographer and full market strategy. Since I lived just around the corner, I was able to disarm his alarm every morning for showings and rearm it every night (he had moved out at that point). We received multiple offers within a few days, sold the house above list price and my client even got a little bit of money out of the deal. He couldn’t believe that a few months ago he was trying to get me to list it as a short sale.