What do I need to do to get my house ready to sell?
The more cleaning, packing, and sprucing you do in your house, the higher price you'll get. That said, if due to personal reasons you need to sell your house without doing much prep work, that's possible too... the price you get will just be lower. Most good Realtors who are full service will help you coordinate getting it ready, and help find solutions for paying for the work to be done if needed. Our team includes these services in our commission which is a typical commission for the area. The most dramatic impact you can make in getting ready is to pack 1/4 to 1/3 of your stuff and find a place to store it while you're in the moving process so your home shows to its fullest. Your Realtor can coordinate scheduling professional cleaners to come in right before you go on the market so the deep cleaning (home, carpet, windows) is fresh and sparkly when the first visitors are coming through. For sprucing and remodeling, generally basic repairs and updates are best - high end remodeling will usually only break even so there's not much point to it unless you want to enjoy it for awhile prior to selling. Anything that's broken may give buyers the impression that there are problems with the house. Updates such as paint, lighting, and hardware can quickly bring a property into the current timeframe's trends. Our team puts together a customized list of prep items, and helps you determine a budget to maximize your sales price.
How long will it take to sell my house?
The average current days on market is right around 3 weeks, and of course this fluctuates. This timeframe represents days until your property gets into contract. Once in contract, expect a 21-60 day escrow in order for it to close. From the time our clients decide to sell their house, the average is 2.5 to 3 months until it's closed. This includes time for getting the home ready to go on the market.
Do I need to move out before I sell my house?
If you can move out before you sell, you'll get a higher price for your home. The reason is that buyers like to envision their own life and their own things in properties they become motivated to purchase. If you elect to stay in the house during the selling process, good professional staging with your belongings can certainly help. Once de-cluttered, spruced up, staged, and cleaned, here's what to expect while on the market: if you're living there, you'll need to make a list of tasks each morning to return the house to showing condition so any potential buyers will see it at its best.
As a seller, am I obligated to accept an offer that comes in?
No, not until you've signed and ratified a contract and then those terms apply.
Can I buy first before I sell my house?
Depending on your financial situation, this may be possible. In most cases, you'd need to sell first in order to buy - however, we often do concurrent closes (e.g. our clients find their new home as soon as they know they have a buyer for their current home). They're able to move from one to the other directly. Some lenders have special programs for buying first then selling. Our team helps you find a customized solution for your situation.
When is the best time of year to sell my house?
Late spring and summer before it gets too hot in August. Then it picks back up again mid September until before the holidays. So the short answer is late spring, Summer, and Fall. Holidays, rainy season, and heat tend to see less buyers out in the market although the ones who are tend to be highly motivated and ready to close soon.
How do I know how much I'll be able to get for my house?
A good Realtor will provide you with nearby comparable sales (called comps) to show recent sales prices. These will give you a good idea of what you'll be able to ask for your home, especially by looking at the level of remodeling in the interior photos.
When is best time of year to buy a house?
Generally prices tend to be better over the end of year holidays, the first couple months of the year, and during the heat of the summer. That said, inventory tends to be lower so there is less to choose from on the market. Sellers who sell during winter months tend to be the most motivated to sell and move. So if you can find one you like during this time period, you may come out financially ahead of purchasing during prime selling seasons.
How much do I need to put down as a downpayment in order to buy a house?
Contrary to popular opinion, you don't always need 20% down to buy a house. If you're buying investment property, you'll need 25 to 30% to be sure. If you're buying residential property that you'll occupy, you can even buy with as little as 3.5% downpayment. Most people put 5 to 20% down, and the more you do, you'll have a better loan program with lower interest rate. Also keep in mind you'll need to qualify for your remaining loan amount based on income, assets, and your debt ratio.
Do I need a good credit score in order to buy a house?
Contrary to popular opinion, you don't always need a perfect credit score to buy a house. Some lenders have programs for those with lower credit scores to get their foot in the market. Keep in mind the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate will be. Sometimes the high interest rates that come with having a low credit score can be prohibitive or may limit the available lenders. If you're needing to buy now, contact us and we may have a lender who can help you find a customized solution.
Do I make enough to buy a house?
Most people qualify to buy something before they realize they do. Usually lenders will qualify you for a loan amount based on 3 to 4 times your income, depending on your credit score and how much debt you have. Typically getting into the market by buying even a small condo is better than saving more for a single family, as often the market appreciation outpaces the rate of personal savings. If you don't make what you'd like for buying in the Bay Area, and you have some cash saved for a downpayment, consider investing in a multi-unit dwelling further afield that can provide cash flow and appreciation while you're saving more money. Our team can help refer you to good Realtors in other areas.
How is the real estate market?
Our site has specific pages for the market's activity and update for Santa Clara County, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. These are updated monthly. If you'd like a customized report for your city and area, even zip code, please let us know and we'd enjoy preparing that for you with no obligation.
How much is your commission?
Buyers don't pay a commission for our services, and we still have an initial consultation to determine if we're all a good fit for working together. Our team does not offer rebates or commission kick backs to buyers, as we are full service and committed to above and beyond client experience. For sellers and listings, our commission is the typical range for our area. We're not a discount brokerage, as we're committed to maintaining an array of full service client offerings. And also, we don't charge the highest commission fees of the area as we want to remain fair and competitive to our clients. We include helping to coordinate getting your home ready for sale in your regular commission structure.
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