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FastExpert partner Jenniffer Taylor shares her expertise on home selling tips for San Diego. With over two decades of real estate experience in Southern California, Jenniffer’s perspective on the housing market is essential and insightful.
San Diego County has experienced some of the lowest inventory in history over the last year. As interest rates fluctuate, buyers enter the market, take a pause, and re-enter the market.
While prices made a small adjustment during the Fall of 2022, mid-January through March of 2023 has been very different. Once the holiday season ended, buyers flooded the market. Entry-level and mid-level homes started to sell quickly, and many are now receiving multiple offers again.
If you’re thinking of selling your home in San Diego County, it remains a seller’s market. However, you still need to prepare your home to shine so that you can get the best possible offer.
Here are some of my top home selling tips for San Diego when listing your home this spring.
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Countertops in the kitchen and bathroom are the top areas of focus for many home buyers. Have clean sightlines and limit any items on the countertops. The more open a space is, the more attractive it is for buyers. When planning to move, it is easy to box up many of your kitchen and bathroom items that are not used on a weekly basis.
Adding items such as fresh flowers on mantles or dining room tables can help brighten your home with a small pop of color.
If you have personal family photographs on your walls and tables, remove all family photos prior to professional photography. The buyer needs to envision living in your home, and personal items can distract from that vision.
Additionally, keep the home neat, clean, and ready to show at a moment’s notice. Make the beds, put all dishes away, and do a quick cleaning of the home each day. The neater and cleaner your home is, the more buyers will love it.
The outside of your home will give the buyer an immediate feeling of what your home will be like. Make your home shine with an attractive curb appeal.
After winter, dead grass and dirt are often the landscape of the yard, and not what a buyer wants to see when they first drive up to view your home.
Start with simple improvements. Gravel, river rock, or a natural bark with a few colorful plants to welcome new buyers to your home make it inviting. Planting flowers, or hearty greens, gives a pop of color and warmth to the house.
Pre-Listing Home Inspection
I advise many of my sellers to have a pre-listing home inspection completed. You may already know a few items that need maintenance, but this inspection will help you and your future buyers know more about what is needed in your home. This cost is approximately $400-$600 depending on the size of your home.
The inspection will identify the condition of your roof, appliances, plumbing, and electrical. You can choose to repair/replace items called out in the inspection for a more seamless selling process.
If you provide all prospective buyers with a copy of the home inspection report, they can better determine their offer price and have less negotiation after the offer is made. Buyers will always have a right in California to ask for repairs or credits, which are negotiated during the initial contract period.
Additionally, as a seller, you can have an AS-IS sale where the buyer accepts the current condition of the home without any modifications from the seller.
>>AGENTS ANSWER: Should I get a home inspection?
If you live in an area with a large military population, you may want to consider having your termite inspection up front. All VA buyers will require a wood-destroying pest clearance in order to fund their loan. Keep in mind, Pest Clearance, AKA, termite clearance is not mandatory in California, but is mandatory for a VA loan.
Stage the Home
A few cosmetic changes to the home can make a significant difference when buyers view your home. Sometimes it can be as simple as moving furniture around or moving furniture out of a space. Othertimes, a fresh coat of paint can help make the property feel fresher and more clean. Sometimes just a few rooms may need to be painted.
If the staging needs are more significant or is overwhelming, a professional home stager can be of great help. The price of a home stager ranges from $2000-$3000 depending on the size of the home. While this may feel like a large cost, it can result in a higher offer price.
Staging creates a picture-perfect view of a home. In homes with a less traditional floor plan, it can help buyers feel at home.
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Prepare to Move
Have a clear idea of what your next step is after your home sells.
Where are you moving to? Do you need a lease back? Talk to your Realtor about the average timeline to sell your home and go through the escrow process. Most buyers expect to have keys on the day of the closing. However, when it is a seller’s market, you have more negotiating power to close the sale and request a lease back.
In San Diego County, a seller typically can request a lease back for 1 week to as long as 60 days. A lease back for longer than 60 days is rare, but this is a negotiable item between buyer and seller.
If moving out of state, many sellers get a Pod, or some sort of mobile storage container for their driveway. Consider pick-up times and storage fees when booking and scheduling transport to your new location. All of your items must be off the property by the agreed upon move-out date.
Establish a Timeline
While moving brings a lot of unknowns, develop your ideal scenario for timing and communicate that to your realtor.
Is the sale of your home contingent on you purchasing another home? Is that home in the same area or county? Are you moving out of state? Talk to your Realtor about the contingency and the timelines you will need to satisfy both the sale of your home and the purchase of your next home.
When you are buying your next home, quite often may sellers will not accept a contingency unless your existing home is already in escrow/ under contract. Every home sale will be different, but getting your home on the market and finding a patient buyer willing to give you the time to secure your next home is key! In situations like this, you don’t want the buyer of your existing home to have to sell their home or condo too. It creates too many contingencies, with too many possibilities of something going wrong.
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Questions for Sellers to Consider:
I always ask my sellers a few questions prior to selling their home:
- What is your favorite part of your home or neighborhood? This helps me market the home.
- What are some items you wish you had changed or upgraded in your home? This helps a seller realize some positives and possible negatives that buyers may see as they take a tour of the home. It also is a good opportunity to discuss with the seller any upgrades they may want to do to help the sale.
- Are you interested in additional services such as staging or renovation? For example, there are concierge services that can stage, renovate, or spruce up an area prior to selling. The concierge and contractors are then paid at the close of the sale. We recommend White Glove Service in San Diego. This provides the seller the option to renovate before they sell without the upfront cost.
Work with the Right Agent
Ultimately, it is the listing agent’s job to sell your home. Finding the right agent is critical to a successful and smooth sale.
Fortunately, FastExpert makes it easy to choose the perfect agent! Our top-performing agents know the market and put service first. Read reviews, check out sales history, and message agents easily through the FastExpert website.