Our San Pedro housing market is shifting slowly from a seller’s to a buyer’s market. Just a short time ago, there was competition for almost every property that came to market. Buyers are now taking their time and being a bit choosier. In order to get the absolute highest price for your home, following a
few simple guidelines will help.
1. Hire a Local Realtor – Before you do anything, interview a few local agents. More and more, buyers are from out of the area and have no idea about the community. San Pedro has its intricacies and an agent who grew up here, lives here, and loves it here is the best person to convey the reasons to move here. Buyers appreciate having their questions answered with honesty and from someone with an intimate knowledge of the area. Buyers tend to feel comfortable with an agent who they know they’ll run into in the grocery store.
2. Set the Stage – 90% of the work happens after you hire a realtor and before the property actually comes to market. Preparation is everything. Doing a pre-market inspection can give the opportunity to complete any repairs needed, circumventing surprise negotiations from the buyer asking for a price reduction during escrow.
Repair, de-clutter, and remove personal items. The goal is to have buyers focus on your home and not on your family photos or medicine cabinet trying to figure out who you are and where they’ve seen you.
Unless you are a designer or have a friend with the knack to make everything gorgeous, bring in a professional for help. Everyone appreciates great design, but most homes are designed for function and not aesthetics. A designer knows the best colors to paint the walls, where to move furniture, and if new furniture needs to be brought in, as well as art placement, lighting, and flow. Design dictates how buyers will feel when they explore the property. If the buyers feel comfortable, relaxed, and just a bit envious, that will translate into dollar signs when they write their offer.
Great curb appeal creates anticipation to get inside. Landscaping, including lighting, colorful healthy plants, a fountain, even holiday decorations are a plus.
3. Pricing – Listing at the right price, slightly under market value, will get the most traction. Don’t get stuck chasing the market down or thinking a higher list price will translate into a higher sale price, it’s typically just the opposite.
4. Effective Marketing – Every listing is different and demands different choices and strategic thinking. Your agent should carefully craft marketing first by figuring out who the likely buyer is, then figuring out how the property can be best be displayed for them. Most buyers start shopping online, therefore importance of well-planned and well-executed photographs cannot be over estimated. Ad/MLS copy should be concise and not excessive. Highlight special features without using long lists of what the property has. The goal is to persuade the reader to visit the property. Professional copywriters are a real plus. Video also gets more traction online than photos, and it’s best when video is used to tell a story about the home and the neighborhood.
5. Showing – When you’ve got your home in tip-top shape and it’s ready to go on the market and be shown, be sure it looks like the photos. Control the temperature, add softly scented candles, and leave quiet music on. Turn all the lights on and open any window coverings. Leave a bowl of treats as a thank you for viewing as well as unique printed material buyers can take with them. Take pets out of the home.
Most importantly, ask your agent to show the property in person. Their job is to sell the home, point out special features, sell the neighborhood, and answer questions. They also can determine who is serious about the home when they meet buyers in person.