10 things you should know before you decide to sell your Mid Silicon Valley house

Vicki Moore
Published on January 26, 2017

10 things you should know before you decide to sell your Mid Silicon Valley house


How much can you get for your house

The biggest question Mid Silicon Valley home sellers have – with good reason – is how much you can get for your house.  And that’s the first of the 10 things you should know before you decide to sell because that’s going to drive everything about the process.

If you can’t get the price you need, you may not be able to move at all.  So before you do anything, get out the calculator.


Research neighborhood sales

You should know what other houses in your Mid Silicon Valley neighborhood have sold for.  Not in the last year or the last quarter, but what has just sold.  Houses that are still under contract heading to close are going to provide you with the best sales price information in a fast moving real estate market like Mid Silicon Valley.

Sales that are even 30 days old are too old.  Here’s why:  the house sells on December 1st.  It actually closes January 15th because of  holidays and closings are running behind.  So if you’re looking at sales from the closing date of January 15th, you’re actually looking at sales that occurred 45 days ago.

Forty-five days ago, during the holidays, was a different real estate market than Mid Silicon Valley is in now.  Look at the sale date, not the close date.  The two are unrelated.  The closing date is most often associated with what’s convenient for the parties and has nothing to do with the information you need.

You’re not going to find that information online.  You need to get in touch with your favorite Mid Silicon Valley realtor to help you get those prices.

In the meantime, you can get a general idea by getting sales data from Mid Silicon Valley sale updates emailed to you.

When you’re comparing your house to others, try to be open minded.  I know it’s hard – sellers are like parents:  “My kid is smarter than yours.”  Only hard core reality is going to help so be brutal on your house.  Look at your Mid Silicon Valley house from a buyer’s perspective; a view that doesn’t include attachments and memories.

How many homes are for sale in your neighborhood

The fewer homes for sale, the better for you to entice multiple offers and get more money.  Your house will sell faster, and with less waffling from the buyer.


Do you want to make any upgrades or changes to the home

There are extreme conditions – both good and bad – your job is to decide where you want your property sale to fall within that range.

If you want to get the absolute highest price, your house is going to have to beat the competition.  Your house will have to be hospital clean, perfectly priced, updated from end to end.  Before you do that, again, consult with your realtor.  I can’t tell you how many houses I’ve seen that have been updated to get the highest price but the materials and/or colors are outdated or not what current buyers are looking for. Don’t waste your money.  Get some professional advice first.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can leave your house as it is and still sell it.  The price has to reflect that condition.  There are only a few things that you have to do to sell your house.  The “have to’s” don’t include new paint and carpet.  Everybody has problems with their house – leaks, holes, etc.  You are only required to disclose everything – not repair or replace.

Should you move out before you put the house for sale

Okay, even realtors don’t like to have this frank conversation.  If you don’t think you can keep the house clean or don’t want to put up with people coming at inconvenient times to see the house, consider moving out.  Moving out will allow painting and staging without interrupting your life.  It will also make it easier for buyers to see the property at their convenience without bothering you.

If moving out isn’t going to work don’t do anything to inhibit showings, like 24 hour notice.  As anxious as buyers are they will get impatient and annoyed and possibly not want to see the property.  It’s only for a short period of time.  You can put up with it.


Where are you going to go

Whether your plan includes buying or renting in your new location, you’ll need to know where you’re going to go, how much it’s going to cost to move there and how much your new place will cost.

Homes sales in Mid Silicon Valley happen fast.  Right now, it’s taking an average of 21 days for San Mateo homes to sell.  Closings are about 30 days, in most cases.  So less than 60 days to get it together and move.  Once the property sells, you’ll have up to 30 days to close.  All your ducks should be in a row before that sign goes up.

Buyers may be in a position to give you a “rent back” which is time for you to stay in your house after the close of escrow.  Keep in mind, the max they’ll be able to give you is 30 days because their bank will not allow any longer.


When is the best time to sell to maximize your return

The timing may not work for you but you should have the knowledge to decide if you want to wait for that perfect time of year to come around.  The general belief is the Spring is the best time to sell.  But when in the Spring?


Should you get inspections

In the Mid Silicon Valley market, it is a standard, and therefore expected, for a home seller to provide a pest and property inspection.  Believe it or not, those inspections will actually protect you from a few pitfalls.

If you get into contract with a buyer and then get inspections, there’s going to be surprises for both of you!  Having the reports in advance tells the buyer about the operating components of the house.  So if a new heater is needed, the buyer will know that before submitting an offer; as opposed to after they’re in contract when they have you backed into a corner and can force you to negotiate with them so you’ll share in the cost of replacement.

Taking your property off the Mid Silicon Valley market as a pending sale is a big risk to you and your pocket book.  If the buyer backs out for any reason – really, any reason – it’s likely to cost you, especially if you had multiple offers at the outset.

When a property comes back on the market after being under contract, buyers automatically think there’s something wrong with the house.  It doesn’t matter if there is or not; they think there is which becomes reality for you when the offer price coming in are lower.

The inspections also help you disclose items about the house that you might have forgotten or didn’t even know about, keeping you out of hot water.  The inspector is hired to find things wrong with the house and that’s what they’re going to do, so prepare yourself.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to make the suggested repairs.  You only have to disclose them.

Other inspections to consider:

  • Roof
  • Pool
  • Chimney


Legal issues

Who is on title to the property?  Is everyone local and capable of signing the necessary documents?  If one person is out of the area, your agent should know that in advance so accommodations can be made to get their signature.

Is there a loan on the deed that’s already been paid off?  Getting that removed can cause delays.  If you’re aware of that, definitely let your agent know.

Getting a new loan

If you want a home loan on the new property, meet with your bank before you put the house up for sale.  Know in advance that you can get the loan for the rate and costs you expect.

A perfect world

We both know we don’t live in a perfect world.  You may not be able to do all of these things before you put your Mid Silicon Valley home for sale.  That’s okay.  Do the best you can and get help from your realtor.

vicki-moore-realtor-150x150Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Feel free to leave a comment in the message box below, or to share this article on social media with someone who might benefit from it. I appreciate your time and am always open to questions, suggestions and ideas from our readers. Feel free to contact me by phone at 650-888-9268 or anytime at [email protected]


I help home buyers and sellers in Mid Silicon Valley focusing on the cities of  Foster City Homes and Condos For SaleRedwood City Homes and Condos For SaleRedwood Shores Homes and Condos For SaleSan Carlos Homes and Condos For SaleSan Mateo Homes and Condos For Sale.

If there’s anything I can do to help you, please let me know.

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