Real Estate

Real Estate – John M. Lee

Ready for the Spring Market

By John M. Lee

2020 is here and, as with every year, people are preparing for the big push in the spring real estate market. Activity in the first two months has been decent with good buyer demand and still very little inventory. A few more properties came onto the market after the depressing Super Bowl weekend and went into escrow fairly quickly. 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 and am preparing for a good spring selling season. The factors that might affect optimism seem to be the Coronavirus and buyer hesitations that we might be at the peak of the market. Fear of contracting the virus seems to be keeping some people at home; the effect this has on our economy is still unknown. Some buyers are sitting out this market because they feel that this is the peak and they don’t want to buy at the top of the market. But the market will go on nonetheless.

If you are preparing your home for sale, have you ever wondered why some homes sell at higher prices than others? The answer lies in pricing and emotional appeal. This column will discuss how to prepare your home to obtain the highest possible price. Purchasing a home is a very emotional process and is usually a very stressful time in the life of the home purchaser. Many times, buyers are making the largest financial commitment of their lives and are unsure if they are getting the right deal.

Thus, when other people are offering on the same property, the multiple offers reassure buyers that they are making the right decision because others feel the same way about the home as they do. 

As a seller, how do you create these emotions so that your property will sell quickly and for the highest price in today’s market? Preparing a property for sale is especially important because people today are busier than ever, and thus they are looking for homes that are in move-in condition.

There are many inexpensive preparations which will bring returns many times over for the sellers. 

First of all, unclutter the house. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulates over the years. Removing large items, like furniture, and putting belongings away makes a home look larger than it is; it gives the impression that the home is spacious and well cared for.

Painting and freshening up the backyard can be inexpensive, and yet will 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 that will bring in complete sets of furniture to complement the age and décor of the house. We have found that this adds tremendous value, makes your home show like a model and separates your 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 than ever before.

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 this is the right home for them.

From a buyer’s standpoint then, you must not only look at the staging or furnishings in the home. You must be able to stand back and look past the décor and imagine how your furniture will fit in the space. Because after all the surface finishes are removed, the rooms will just be bare walls and you will have to decorate it the way you want to live. Buyers are sometimes disappointed in homes they have purchased after all the staged furniture is removed, unless they purchase the staged furniture along with the house!

I always recommend buyers close their eyes and visualize the rooms empty. Then mentally place your own furniture in each room and see how it feels. That way, they won’t be as distracted by the staging and focus more on the home itself.

Buying and selling a home is a stressful and emotional time in one’s life. And that’s when good advice is necessary from a professional in helping to make that buying and selling decision as easy and painless as possible.

John M. Lee is a broker at Compass specializing in the Richmond and Sunset districts. For real estate questions, call him at (415) 465-0505 or email is sponsored in part by:

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