Real Estate

Real Estate – John M. Lee

Prepping for spring sale

by John M. Lee


The Chinese New Year is over and people are preparing for the big push in the spring

real estate market.


Activity in the first two months of 2018 has been pretty good, with strong buyer demand

and very little inventory. A few more properties came onto the market after Super Bowl

weekend but were snatched up immediately. Open house attendance has been pretty

good and multiple offers in the Richmond and Sunset districts are still the norm.


I am seeing more properties coming onto the market. The only factors affecting optimism

seem to be the instability of the stock market and a minor uptick in mortgage rates. But,

most people believe the stock market was overdue for a correction and that the slight

increase in interest rates will not affect buying patterns.


If you are preparing a home for sale, have you ever wondered why some homes sell at

higher prices than others? The answer lies in pricing and emotional appeal.


Purchasing a home is an emotional process and usually creates a very stressful time in

the lives of home purchasers. Many times, buyers are making the largest financial

commitment of their lives and are unsure whether or not they are getting the best deal.


When multiple people make offers on the same property, the offers reassure buyers that

they are making the right decision because others feel the same way about the property.


As a seller, how do you create these emotions so your property sells quickly and for the

highest price in today’s market? Preparing a property for sale is especially important

because people today are busier than before, and they are looking for homes that are in

move-in condition.


There are many inexpensive preparation moves that will bring returns many times over

for sellers, including:

• Unclutter the house. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulates over the years. By

removing large items of furniture and putting belongings away it makes a home show

larger than it is, and gives the impression that the home is spacious and well cared for;

• Painting and freshening up the back yard can be inexpensive, and yet provide the

impression that a home is well maintained. Refinishing hardwood floors will do wonders

for showing off the house;

• If you want to go further, staging companies are available to bring in complete sets of

furniture to complement the age and décor of the house. We have found that this adds

tremendous value, makes a home show like a model and separates the home from others

on the market.


As Richmond and Sunset homes are selling for $1 million or more, the staging expense is

becoming a smaller percentage of the selling price and thus makes more economic sense.


Buying is an emotional process. When a buyer walks into a home, I have a good feeling

about whether he or she will buy that house. In order to obtain the highest possible

price, buyers need to feel comfortable and know that the home has been well cared for.


From a buyer’s standpoint, you must not only look at the furnishings in the home, but

must be able to stand back and imagine how your furniture will fit in the space. I always

recommend buyers close their eyes and visualize the rooms empty. Then visualize their

furniture in each room to see how it feels. That way, they won’t be as distracted by the

staging and focus more on the home.


Buying and selling a home can be a stressful and emotional time in one’s life. That’s

when good, professional advice is necessary to make the buying and selling decision as

easy and painless as possible.


John M. Lee is a broker at Pacific Union specializing in the Richmond and Sunset districts.

For real estate questions, call (415) 447-6231 or e-mail

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