Casey Spencer, Realtor®
How to Sell High!

Winter-Spring, 2015

How do you sell your home for the highest return?  Admit it . . . for many, the question is “How do I avoid SELLING LOW?”

Are you a gambler? Do you have high confidence that your home value will go up?  If not, a key answer is: SELL SOON.  Experts agree that a growth in the inventory of new and resale homes has brought California’s recent home-value rebound to a halt.  In most of the greater Sacramento area, values leveled off in Spring of 2014.   

In a fragile market, uncontrollable conditions can make your value SINK by thousands of dollars, quickly.  If other homes sell at lower prices, your value will be impacted.

What about the competition? Fortunately, bargain-priced bank-owned homes are now a rarity.  What about short sale listings near you?  Know your neighborhood:  REO or pre-foreclosure “distress sale” listings have little or no profit motive for sellers, and federal incentives still encourage banks to cave in; just one or two such homes can create bargain-priced, value-defeating competition for YOU, the traditional seller. 

Not every home sells!  In Placer County, 6500 homes sold in 2013 . . . but 2100 home listings cancelled or expired! MANY sellers gave up!  (Note: For the 2-year period ending May 2014, my success rate was 98%, i.e. only one of my last 50 listings failed to sell.)

FACT #1: Buyers still have many bargain-priced homes to choose from, and some of them (especially bank-owned homes) are fresher than you might think!  Banks and government lenders (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD) have gotten smart - - - many are offering new carpeting & paint, home warranties and favorable financing, to boot.

          ADVICE: Your home must stand out and compete.  Even with excellent photos, a wide-ranging Internet presence, a lockbox for easy access, and a desirable location/floor plan/condition, you're fighting to find a serious buyer.  Use an aggressive Realtor who keeps you informed, AND who has a successful present-day track record.    Price is paramount: adjust it regularly (every 21-30 days) until buyers come around.


FACT #2: All buyers LOVE a “turn-key” home, and pay measurably more.  Inspections & repairs are the biggest sore spots that spoil a completed sale.

          ADVICE: Obtain inspections before an offer comes in; not only a pest inspection, but well & septic system when applicable. Consider a pre-listing professional home inspection, too! When possible, correct any deferred maintenance . . . then, offer a home warranty, roof certificate, or more!  The experiences of many past sellers PROVE that “up front” preparations and repairs are far less costly than any price reduction . . . in any market.


FACT #3: Many buyers back out of a sale! Why?   A)  Buyers worry themselves into cancelling, often in reaction to unexpected problems discovered during inspections.  B)  During escrow, some buyers keep hunting for an even-better value.  C) In a recovering market, some appraisals come in too low, and the buyer’s mortgage is thwarted.

ADVICE: Don’t play games!  At the start, complete all disclosures and provide any agreed-upon inspections.  In negotiations with your buyer, accept (or request!) the shortest escrow period possible.  Know your title/easement facts: read through Title Report (again, ask your Realtor for help) and correct/clarify any problems with easements, safety hazards, liens or title disputes.

Weigh your position in re-negotiations very carefully, because the next buyer will usually offer LESS, even in a hot market.  Try to hold a sale together at all reasonable costs.  


FACT #4: Pricing: Know your numbers! If you’re well-informed, the facts combat your doubts and RELAX you.

ADVICE: The marketplace must be allowed to do its part.  Price your home competitively… and if it isn’t shown often in the first 7-14 days on the market, get ready to make big enhancements . . . or adjust the price.  After just a few weeks, virtually all active buyers will have considered your home, and the only new interest comes from the trickle of new buyers entering the market. 

Our abundance of online data has changed Real Estate forever. Home buyers have never been so well-informed; the business is “buyer-driven,” and buyers won’t look at overpriced homes.


 Some icing for the cake:


1.     Be ready to show your home at a moment’s notice.  Perhaps a yard service & weekly house-cleaning service is a guilt-free investment, NOT an indulgence!

2.     Check out the local competition yourself (regularly), regardless of what your Realtor does.  It’s your house and your money!

3.     Keep your flyer box stocked & keep those signs up… we never know which method will snag your buyer!

4.     If possible, offer flexible financing:  pay a buyer’s closing costs, pay down the interest rate on their mortgage… heck, throw in a year’s lawn service… the riding mower… even the old pickup truck or the adorable backyard playhouse.


As your Realtor®, I’m your partner. With over 10 years of market-leading performance, my track record speaks for itself.  Ask for details on how my clients continue to succeed against the odds.                              



Thoughtful and Innovative:
Direct+text: 530.277.6405 BRE #01437910

16770 Placer Hills Road, Meadow Vista CA 95722

Brokerage: 373 Elm Avenue, Auburn CA 95603