Well… it’s been quite a run. Sellers in the Tri-Valley and Pleasanton real estate market have enjoyed the fruits of a low inventory, high demand market. Multiple offers and “as is” sales were almost expected during the last few years. But the market has shifted. Sure, some of the data still shows remnants of this seller bonanza, but it will soon begin to reflect the new reality – The market has returned to a normal state. Don’t get me wrong; there are still a handful of homes that will see multiple offers. But even in those cases, we are not seeing the wild over-bidding that was so characteristic of the boom market as recently as this past Spring.
So what does this mean for sellers?
Expectations. It is best not to enter the home sale process expecting multiple offers and an over asking sales price. You will most likely be disappointed. Instead, be thankful for the huge run up in prices you’ve enjoyed over the past few years and try to be realistic in your expectations. Remember, you don’t control the value of your home. Neither does your Realtor. It is the market (i.e., buyers) that determines what your home is worth.
Repairs. When it is an out of balance Seller’s market, buyers are forced by market conditions to be very forgiving and accept responsibility for many of the repairs needed. As the market shifts, be prepared for more demanding buyers who will want you to fix many or even all of the items uncovered during inspections. This may come as an unpleasant surprise to sellers used to getting their way. Sure, you don’t have to agree to do repairs. But the buyer does not have to buy the house either. Before you blow up a deal by refusing to do repairs, you better be sure there is another buyer out there who will be more forgiving or pay a better price. Be careful… there are plenty of examples of sellers hard-lining a buyer, only to end up selling for less to a subsequent buyer. Tip: Get inspections done before you go on the market to avoid surprises
Market Time. Nothing is better for a seller than to have their home sell in less than a week. Showing your home is stressful. It’s intrusive, disruptive, and can be aggravating. With the market adjusting, most homes will be on the market longer. For the most part, buyers are just not feeling the pressure to act, so they will be more deliberate, and take their time making decisions. This can be stressful to sellers who get impatient and want their home sold now. Sellers need to be patient. The process will just take more time for most homes.
Condition. As the market returns to a slower, more normal pace, the condition of your home will be of amplified importance. No longer can you throw a sign out and expect your home to sell in less than a week. With more options, buyers are becoming pickier about the home they want to buy. So evaluate your home honestly (or better yet, work with a Realtor who can assist you with this). Is your home relatively up to date? Will buyers find it appealing? What can you do to make your home more desirable to today’s buyers that won’t cost you an arm and a leg? Also, professional staging can be a difference maker to driving demand for your home. Staging is usually an investment, which will yield a return in the form of a higher selling price. Sellers who prepare their home for sale and take the time and effort to present it in top condition will fare better with today’s buyers.
The REALTOR® You Choose. When the market is hot, many sellers think it does not matter who you hire to sell your home. Now that things have shifted, the role of the REALTOR® takes on amplified importance. This is were hiring an agent with experience, knowledge of the market, and a strong grasp of what buyers are looking for will pay dividends. And perhaps the most important skill in a normal market is your agent’s skill in negotiating. That is where the rubber meets the road. As a seller you should pay careful attention to which agent is the strongest negotiator. It has the potential to pay off in spades.
In short, sellers in general are confronting a new reality that the market has shifted, and is moving towards normal market conditions. Sellers who are realistic, flexible, and adaptable will still be able to come out on top, especially if they hire an experienced, professional agent. Call me today (925) 463-2000 if you would like to discuss your situation and how my experience, expertise at preparing homes for sale, and negotiating training can help you come out on top in this market.