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December 15, 2009

Yes, I know, it’s mid-December and you really don’t want to even think about doing anything with your home other than decorate it for the season (and your visitors) right now.  But if you want to sell your Los Gatos home in 2010, it would be a very good idea to do a little planning now so that you can be ready to hit the ground running in January for the spring market and not be rushed.

What kind of “groundwork” can you do now that won’t take a ton of time and be terribly inconvenient?  My suggestion is to begin to create a plan of action for yourself.  Start with the end in mind, such as “I’d like to be out of my house by April 15th” or whatever target you might have, and then back it up from there with various to do’s. Jot down all the ideas first, such as pack up items not needed and put in storage, read market statistics online, pick a couple of agents to interview, plan for pre-sale inspections, do staging or decluttering work, schedule carpet cleaners, plant new annuals by front door, etc.  Later you can organize them..

I am working with some sellers now who would like to have their Silicon Valley home on the market in mid-January.  They’ve got a schedule for when we’ll do the pre-sale inspections, and they intend to have the garage accessible (storage cleared so the inspectors can see what’s necessary without calling for an “unknown further inspection due to stored personal belongings”).   We know when the home will be show-ready, the photos and virtual tours can be shot and when we can go on the market.  It’s not a tight schedule but we have a basic roadmap.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in Los Gatos, Saratoga, or San Jose this spring, give yourself a month or so between when you begin to get ready and when the sign’s in the yard and the lockbox on your front door: in most cases, that’s about how long it takes, however, things can move a whole lot faster if you need to rush.  You can hire your agent before you begin all the prep work or you can hire your agent first and have guidance & help with the prep work – most do the latter but either way can work. Pencil it out ahead of time and the process will go smoother all the way through.

For now, then, don’t stress. But do get out your pencil and paper. Jot out your basic goals and what you think it will take to accomplish them. If you have an agent (or two or three) you’d like to chat with, now’s ot too early to cal them and begin to discuss staging, comps, services offered, etc. Do that much and you can pick up the rest in January, and you’ll have peace of mind that you did not leave it all until the last minute!