A resource for folks living in or moving to Los Gatos, by Mary Pope-Handy

Home selling tips

Case study: online home valuation sites

Are you tempted to look at online, auto valuation websites to check Los Gatos real estate values?  Those online home valuation sites (including mine) can be very tempting.  After all, who wouldn’t want a real-time update on home sale prices?

A few times, I’ve had clients or potential clients who relied very heavily on a well known real estate portal for information on “what that home is really worth“.  The trouble, of course, is that the folks running the algorithms haven’t been to that street or to that house.  They don’t know if it’s exquisitely updated or if it’s in a state of ruin.  They don’t know if it seems well loved or if it has terrible odors.  

Usually the portals have a very wide target. One of them claims that they want to be within 20% of the market value 80% of the time.  Let that soak in.  For a million dollar home, that’s  a range of $800,000 to $1,200,000 not all the time but 80% of the time!

More convincing than my saying, “hey, that site is usually way off”, I like to just demonstrate what happens when I plunk a property’s address into a number of these auto valuation sites.  I find the range of estimated pricing to be very compelling.  Please have a look at the wide range of projected values – all for the same home & land!

Online Valuations for the same house

                                       Online valuation sites. (Weiss Analytics is by paid subscription.)

How would you like to own a home worth  $2.6 million and hear that it’s worth $1.6 million from online home valuation sites?  Or what if you put your condo on the market based on this kind of pricing, only to find that it was 20% off?

No, the better approach is to have a relationship with a local Realtor who can help you determine the probable buyer’s value for your home. It’s never going to be one exact price, because each buyer will have different terms, motivation, ability, and so on. If you get a lot of offers all at one, it will shoot the price high. If it takes more than 3 weeks to sell and you get just one buyer, it will be lower.

Online home valuation sites can be fun, but please remember that most of the time, they aren’t very accurate.  Want help knowing if you have enough equity to sell? Please call or email me and we can meet and go over market conditions, the comparable sales, improvements that will give a good return on value, and the marketing needed to obtain your best price so that you can make an informed decision.

The race to beat El Niño for home sellers

Rain_cloud_El_NiñoIf you are gearing up to sell your Los Gatos area home before the end of the year, or in the first three or four months of next year, it is not too soon to begin the outside jobs.  Right now it’s dry, which makes much of the exterior work easier.  Waiting until the rains arrive will only make these jobs more miserable to do.

If you are targeting an autumn home sale with a very impending rainy season, here are some suggestions for preparing your home to sell ahead of El Niño’s arrival:

  1. Create a punch list of work to do outside (and inside, too).  Do a “walk around” the outside of your home, and bring someone along who does not live there to help you to identify things which need repairing, replacing, or cleaning up.  (When you see something all the time, it may seem normal to you and you  won’t realize it needs addressing.) Your Realtor is often an ideal person to help you with this list.
  2. Get any leaves or pine needles off your roof or have someone else do this for you.
  3. Have your roof inspected and have the “tune up work” and gutters cleaned now (get a quality roofer or roofing inspection company from your Realtor) .  Roofing companies are backlogged as it is, so if you put this off it could be too late.
  4. Power washing is not allowed with our current drought caused water restrictions, but the exterior of homes should be swept clean of spider webs and dust easily enough, so take care of that soon.  Pay special attention to the area near the front door.
  5. Plan to do exterior painting and other work now.  Wood trim tends to need painting every 5 years or so.  If yours looks tired or neglected, it sends a signal to home buyers that other things may be neglected, too.
  6. Check the sidewalk condition for safety.  Is it lifted and a tripping hazard?  If so, contact the town of Los Gatos (if a resident) and get it on the schedule to be repaired.  (San Jose residents must pay for this themselves but that city requires a permit, which can take weeks to obtain.) For more on this, read a related article: Who maintains the sidewalks in Los Gatos – the home owner, or the town?
  7. Change exterior light bulbs if needed.
  8. Paint, polish, or replace your mailbox. Clean the hardware on your front door.

There will be many more things to do indoors, of course, but if you can address these outdoor items before the rain comes, they will be far easier to tackle.

Related reading:

Tips for selling your home in an El Niño year

Mary Pope-Handy

Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
License# 01153805

Selling homes in
Silicon Valley, with
special focus on
Los Gatos

and nearby areas,
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