4 Steps East Bay Home Sellers Take to Generate Multiple Offers
Home sales (and values) have been on a strong uptick in the East Bay thanks to high-paying jobs in the technology sector, low interest rates, and a lack of housing supply. Sellers everywhere are breathing a giant, collective sigh of relief! But for all of the buyer activity, it seems like most houses sit on one end of two extremes: they either get snatched up after two weeks on the market (with multiple offers and an above-asking sale price) or seem to languish on the market without an offer in sight.
All sellers aspire to be on the multiple-offer end of the spectrum. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make that happen. Here are five tips to move your listing in to the multiple offers zone.
1. Price it aggressively.
Homes that get multiple offers are often sold in an "auction" atmosphere. If you think back to the last auction you saw on TV or participated in online, you'll remember this basic element of Auctions 101: the starting price is lower – sometimes quite a bit lower – than the final sale price.
In fact, it's the low list or starting price that gets people excited about the possibility of scoring a great value, whether they're bidding on an antique Chinese pug figurine on eBay or on your home. And when it comes to your home, it's that same, low-price-seeking excitement that will cause many more buyers to show up and view your home than would have come at a higher price point.
In real estate, more showings are an inescapable prerequisite to more offers.
This doesn't mean you have to give away the farm, just that sellers who get multiple offers price their properties from a retailer's or auctioneer's perspective. Work with your agent through the comparable sales data – as recent and as comparable as possible – and then do your best to list your home as a slight discount, not at a slight premium, compared to the recent neighborhood sales. That will get buyers' attention.
2. Give buyers and brokers ample access.
Put yourself in your target buyer's shoes. Say there are 15 homes on the market which meet their specifications, in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, price range and location. And 10 of those top the list. But they only have time to see 5 today. If the buyer's broker can't get into your house today, because you have so many restrictions around showing it, your home could very well miss out on a showing with this qualified, motivated buyer.
It might seem overly simple, but if you want multiple offers, it behooves you to make sure your home is available to be shown today. Every day that it is on the market. Inconvenient? Yes. Frustrating? Sometimes. A challenge to keep the place clean at all times? Assuredly. But consider your priorities and what is at stake. If getting top dollar for your home is at the top of your priority list, then you have to be ready and willing to deal with the inconvenience involved in churning up multiple offers and getting your home sold. Many of our seller clients rent a close-by AirBnB during the time their home is on the market.
3. Make it beautiful.
Really, really beautiful. The homes that get multiple offers are those with look, feel and function that can be described in one word: covetable. You're not trying to create a situation in which your home barely edges out the listing down the street in the hearts and minds of your target buyer. If you want multiple offers, you need multiple buyers to fall deeply in love with your home – enough to bid above the listing price, and enough to compete with others for it.
Bay Area homebuyers are busy, often-times dual incomes are a requirement to be able to afford a home. Because most people don't have the time, energy and expertise to renovate themselves, they will pay a premium for a move-in ready home. While painting inside and out and refinishing hardwood floors goes a long way, it can be prudent to renovate bathrooms and kitchen.
To generate multiple offers, prepare your home by ensuring it is: immaculately cleaned from the inside out – closets, basements, garages and crawl spaces included, de-cluttered and staged to the nines – this includes fresh paint, carpet and other things that need replacing in perfect working order – make sure things like doors, windows and systems buyers test (e.g., stoves, faucets, heating and air conditioning) are not creaky, wonky, leaky or otherwise dysfunctional.
Your Realtor should have a list of preferred contractors that they work with in order to get your home market-ready. Before listing a home we often spend several weeks overseeing renovations that will help attract the most potential buyers.
4. Expose it to the market.
Once renovations are complete and the property is appropriately staged it’s time for photo and video. Investing in top notch photos and video are essential. Next, your Realtor must tastefully market your home across different mediums. This includes marketing to local real estate agents, through direct mail and print, but most importantly on major online web portals and social media platforms.
An offer the very first day your home goes on the market may sound like a dream come true. But it might also incur opportunity costs. See, many buyers can't get out to see homes that quickly – some are unable to house hunt except on the weekends. Listing agents who get multiple offers often plan from the start to expose the home to the market long enough for target buyers to see it and get their offers on the table.
We often expressly include open house and offer review dates in the timeline of the listing. It's not uncommon to see a listing come on the market with a calendar of 1-2 Open Houses and an offer date sometime early in the week following the second one. Ask your agent to brief you on the standard practices for market exposure in your local area.
Setting – and publishing – a timeline for market exposure and offers lets buyers know that they will be able to get to the property and get their offers considered, while still creating a sense of urgency.
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