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Tips for Selling Your Home

Choosing the Best Realtor
Choosing a Realtor is generally both the first and most important decision you will make in your home selling process.  Frequently, a home will be your largest asset and you want to be certain that your Realtor has the expertise, experience and enthusiasm to be trusted with the preparation, marketing and sale of your home. 
Making Your Home’s Interior Shine 
A study of local homes compared the sales price and time of sale of homes that were staged versus those that were not.  Staged homes sold for approximately 5% more than those that were not staged and sold within half the period required for the non-staged homes.  Given that the average home in Palo Alto sells for over one million dollars, this is a $50,000 differential.
Repairing and Improving the Right Items
Major repairs, such as adding a new wood deck, adding a room, or completely remodeling your house, generally have under 100% return on investment. It usually takes years before the expense of these items is recouped, if ever.  The major improvements that come closest to having 100% return on investment are remodeling kitchens and bathrooms and possibly the addition of a second bathroom or a third bedroom.
In contrast, minor repairs that improve the appearance of your home can be done with little expense and offer over 100% return on investment.  These minor repairs should be undertaken before you sell your home, as you will typically get more money back for each dollar you spend on them.
Enhancing Curb Appeal
A buyer’s first impression of your home is the most powerful and lasting. If your home lacks “curb appeal,” potential buyers may continue driving past your home without even entering. We can help you determine which measures can improve your home’s curb appeal for a small investment of money and time, which will yield large returns. Any improvements done for resale should have over 100% return on investments as the following recommendations do. 
Disclosing All You Know
California zealously enforces statutes that require sellers to disclose all material facts that would affect the desirability of their property.  Many lawsuits have been brought by those claiming that the sellers did not fully disclose all that they knew regarding a home.
Pricing Your Property
You really only have one chance to effectively price your property, and that is when it goes on the market.  The level of interest by potential buyers and other Realtors is highest right when your property comes on the market.  
A property that is under-priced will attract a huge amount of attention and a flurry of interest will develop, generally resulting in multiple offers and a sales price above the original list price.
A property that is priced at market value will attract a fair amount of interest and will generally receive one or two offers, probably selling for around or slightly below list price.
Marketing Your Property
By working with a Realtor you maximize your property’s exposure.  Through newspaper and online advertising, Realtor tours, open houses and listing on the Multiple Listing Service your property will be seen by thousands of people in a multitude of mediums.
For a comprehensive look at a marketing strategy for your home please contact us directly.
Evaluating an Offer
If it has been marketed well, after your home has been placed on the market, it will have generated sufficient interest to garner at least one, and hopefully multiple offers.
Closing the Deal
After a contract is ratified (signed & accepted), the parties enter into an escrow period where all financing is verified by an independent title company, and title is readied for transfer.  The value of your home will generally decline if it “falls out” of escrow, for then the property has a stigma even if the deal falling apart is no fault of the property. 
Reducing Your Taxes
Proposition 13 started the trend to protect homeowners from being taxed on property appreciation (gain in value).  
In 1978, California voters approved a law that only allowed base-year values of real estate to increase 2% per year, therefore keeping owner’s property tax increase at a manageable level.  Unless there was a change in ownership, this property tax could only increase at a rate less than or equal to 2% per year.
Because California real estate increases in value at such a rapid rate, many people feared selling their homes because their tax basis would jump up to a much higher amount, even when downsizing.