The market is calling … and is the timing right?

In the Oakland-Berkeley-Piedmont area, there is always a demand for well-priced, desirable properties. When the time comes to put your home on the market, here are the steps to take. The more prepared you are, the better results you will have.

Get Fired Up: Your Motivation

Why are you selling? Get a clear picture of your immediate needs and long-term plans. Are you movingout of the area and need to act quickly? Or perhaps you want to downsize and simplify your lifestyle. Maybe it’s time to find a bigger house in a new school district for your growing family? Low interestrates are creating many excellent opportunities. Whatever your situation, take stock of your financial position and long-term goals. This is Step One in developing a successful selling plan that works for you.

Get Organized: When to Sell

Early Spring and Fall are traditionally the most robust selling seasons, although in our area there is almost no bad time to sell (late-November through New Year’s Day is not ideal). Your timing, therefore, should depend on what’s best for you personally. A well-thought-out and carefully executed selling plan is the most important factor in a successful sale.

Get Help: Your Realtor

Your realtor should know the market place completely, communicate well and understand your needs. Plus, your agent must be a master of pricing, pre-sale home preparation, disclosures, local ordinances, inspections, marketing, contract negotiation, current lending practices, creative problem solving and closing escrow. Agency is an important and complex fiduciary responsibility. Choose someone with localexpertise who you trust to look after your interests— before, during and after the sale.

Get Ready: Your Home’s Value

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) shows how your home stacks up statistically with recent sales and current listings. This is a valuable tool in determining the right listing price, but it’s just on paper. It’s alsowise to visit open houses and see firsthand what the competition looks like –and what your prospectivebuyers are experiencing. A realistic, objective view of your property early on will get you top dollar later.

Get Busy: Company’s Coming

You only get one chance at a first impression. And buyers usually know right away if your home is “the one”. So, the look and feel is as important as the price. Make the key changes—painting, home stagingand needed improvements—that highlight your home’s better features and minimize the lesser ones.A smart, practical pre-sale strategy will broaden appeal and increase your bottom line when the salecloses.

Get Seen: Targeted Marketing

The Internet reaches over 90% of buyers—so starting with a customized, dedicated website to show off your home and neighborhood is essential. Next comes direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads along with brokers tours, open houses and realtor showings. To build excitement and generate maximum interest, you must deliver the right message, to the right buyers, at the right times. Attracting the best offers takes a powerful, focused marketing campaign: local expertise combined with global reach.

Get Down to Business: Accepting an Offer and Closing Escrow

When you’ve done everything right, the market will reward you with an attractive offer—where the price and terms are acceptable to you. Your realtor will help you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the offer (or offers): price, financing, contingencies, length of escrow, inspections, etc. If counter- offer(s) or negotiations are required, they will be conducted until agreement is reached.

Once everything is agreed and signed, the buyer will open escrow with a good faith deposit at the title company. At this point, the buyer conducts inspections and the lender will order a property appraisal. Once the buyer’s contingencies are removed and lending requirements satisfied, the buyer’s loan will fund, you will sign seller’s documents at the title company and escrow can close. Congratulations, you’ve sold your house!