Tips for Selling Your Santa Cruz Home

Tips for First Time Home Sellers!

Tips for First Time Home Sellers in Santa Cruz

Many people talk about first-time homebuyers, but often overlooked is needing support through what could be a daunting process are first-time home sellers. Selling your Santa Cruz home can feel overwhelming. So I wanted to share a few guidelines to follow to get your home sold faster and for more money.

Hi, I’m Shemeika Fox, your Santa Cruz real estate expert. I’ve helped hundreds of sellers in Santa Cruz and the surrounding counties over the 16, 17 years that I’ve been in the business, sell their homes and understand the overwhelm. I have found that by having a plan to follow, you can better prepare your home for those Santa Cruz house hunters.

The first thing you can do is a big one, and that is to declutter and deep clean your Santa Cruz home. This can be a long process, but the sooner you start, the better. Take a really good look at each room and pack up anything and everything that you won’t need for the next few months. This includes any and all personal items. Yes, including your photos. Remember, you’ve got to move the stuff anyways. So you’re getting a head start.

Next, make sure that your home is super clean, like white glove test clean. By decluttering and cleaning your Santa Cruz home it will look much bigger and brighter. Also when a Santa Cruz homebuyer sees a dirty home, they feel that the home may not have been well kept. And we don’t want to give buyers any reason to look elsewhere. Help your Santa Cruz home shine to prospective homebuyers by polishing any hardware like door knobs or handles on your cabinets and making sure that those tile floors and countertops shine by deep cleaning even the grout.

You also want to finish any of those little projects you started, but never got around to finishing, and be sure that structural and/or all mechanical items are in working order. That would be items like your heating system and your water heater. If your Santa Cruz home hasn’t had a fresh coat of paint on those walls for awhile, you may want to consider painting. Although you may really like the purple kitchen, it may make your home feel a little bit too much like a cave to prospective Santa Cruz homebuyers.

These are some great tips for the inside of your Santa Cruz home, but let’s talk a little bit also about the outside, or the curb appeal that you always hear everybody’s talking about. The outside of your Santa Cruz home, when preparing to sell, let’s think about creating a great first impression. That’s right. Let’s talk about your curb appeal. This is important as it’s the first impression your Santa Cruz homebuyer will have when they arrive at your Santa Cruz home.

Something that can give a big bang for the buck is power washing. You want to wash the years of dirt and grime and grit off your driveway, the sidewalk, even the exterior of your home. You also want to pay attention to the front door. As an agent, it takes sometimes a few seconds and sometimes a few minutes for me to open up a lockbox to get us into the house. And this gives the buyer a chance to really look around at the entry while they’re waiting. Take a moment to make sure there isn’t any peeling paint on the door or cobwebs around the lights. The entry should be inviting. Add some new plants with pops of color, make sure to remove any dead or unhealthy plants. They may not make your Santa Cruz home as appealing.

Next, let’s talk about staging. You hear me say it all the time, but staging really makes a big impact. Did you know that 77% of buyer’s agents said that staging a home makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living in it? And staging will help your Santa Cruz home stand out against the competition by showcasing the best features of your home to any prospective buyers. Also, research shows that professionally-staged home can sell for as much as 10% more than homes that are not staged. Great.

Now the hard work of preparing your Santa Cruz home for its grand debut is completed. We’ll want to be sure and get professional photos and a professional video of your Santa Cruz home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 67% of buyers will walk through a home that they saw online. So professional pictures are a must.

Now that your home is ready for buyers, you must have a showing plan. Buyers and their agents may request a showing of your Santa Cruz home at any time, and you must be prepared, because we really want to get as many buyers into your home as possible so that we can get the most amount with the best terms. Until your home is under contract, it’s important to be able to leave your home at a moment’s notice. A few things you can do is plan simpler meals for easy cleanup and make plans for some outdoor activities. Also, find a place to bring your pets during showings. These steps will help in selling your Santa Cruz home faster and for more money.

Other things to think about are inspections. Should you do a home inspection if you’re selling your home prior to us putting it on the market? Now that you’ve spent time really preparing your home for sale, why should you worry about a home inspection? I get that question all the time. Let me tell you why. The home inspection on your Santa Cruz home is just as important as your contract offer. Almost every buyer whose contract is accepted will do or will want a home inspection. The home inspection is designed to evaluate the general condition of your home and all of its mechanical systems. The inspection can either make or break your deal. So spending a little money on the inspection and also spending time on some of these issues before your home goes under contract will most likely save you time and money in the end. Also, knowing what repairs that may come up and the cost to fix them will help give you a better understanding of what your true proceeds will be.

Let’s look at the major issues that often come up on a home inspection:

#1. Electrical issues. Make sure that all outlets, GFCIs, and switches work, and replace any broken outlet covers. Also replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a negative observation like, “lights are inoperable” on the report that may suggest an electrical problem.

#2. Water and plumbing. Make sure you don’t have any leaky faucets or signs of leaking under your cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms or on the outside spigots.

#3. HVAC system. Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.

#4. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure to test them and replace dead batteries.

#5. Attend to broken or missing items. Focus on items like doorknobs, locks, latches, window panes, screens, gutters, roof tiles, downspouts, and chimney caps.

#6. Dry rot. In the pest reporter’s section is section one and section two items. These include dry rot. Dry rot often occurs around door frames on exterior doors or on the siding of homes. This is common in that they are older and have had a lot of sun and/or moisture exposure, but it can be addressed. Also, be sure to remove stored items and debris and wood from underneath the home in the crawl space. These may be cited as conducive conditions for termites or they very well may already have termites on them. Also be sure to trim any tree limbs about 10 feet away from the house.

#7. Doors. Make sure that all of your doors open, close, and lock easily. Garage doors must also have working safety features like sensors.

#8. Caulking. Be sure to re-caulk around tubs, showers, and countertops in bathrooms and countertops in the kitchen. Checking these areas before your home inspection is an investment in selling your property.

Okay, let’s talk about multiple offers. We are currently in a seller’s market and home sellers are still receiving multiple offers. If your Santa Cruz home draws in multiple offers, which offer should you choose? Did you know that just because you receive an offer $20,000 over your asking price, that doesn’t necessarily mean that is a better offer than one that is only say $10,000 over your asking price? Now these are just figures that I’m pulling out. Believe me, I want you to pocket the most amount of money for your house, too. So I understand why you’d be confused, but let’s break it down to some key things to think about besides that offer price when you find yourself reviewing multiple offers. And my philosophy, you’ve heard me say it before, is to always do a multiple counter to all the offers that come in.

So first on the list, closing date, does the date match with your desired timeframe or will you be couch surfing for a few weeks while you wait for your next house to close? How important is that date to you?

What type of financing does the offer have? Are they offering cash or getting a loan? Did you know the type of loan needs to be taken into consideration based upon the condition of your home and other contributing factors? Certain loan types have stricter appraisal requirements than others. Imagine if you found yourself in a situation where you are now required to make a $10,000 repair, or the buyer’s lender’s gonna say, “Nope, we’re not gonna fund this loan.” Are they offering any additional down payment if the appraisal value does not come in at the offered purchase price? In a hot seller’s market, offering over the list price is quite common. Does that mean that you will actually receive that price? Not if you potentially accept the wrong offer or don’t counter out certain items in the contract.

How about the inspection contingency, and the contingencies just in general? How many days are the buyers requesting for those contingencies? Those are only a few things to think about when you’re reviewing multiple offers. So having an experienced agent in your corner to help you comb through the fine-print details of multiple contracts will stop your head from spinning, number one, and will get you the most money and the best terms on the sale of your Santa Cruz home.

To learn more about prepping your home for sale, showing your home, and strategizing during negotiations, reach out to me for a confidential complimentary consultation. I’m Shemeika Fox, your Santa Cruz real estate expert, and as always, I’m here to help.

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