Just put a sign in the ground
I have many friends who think they are quite the comedians. “Selling a home in San Carlos? Bob, just stick a sign in the ground.” If only it were that easy. Trust me, it’s tougher than it looks. Even considering the intense buyer demand in San Carlos right now, the truth is that each house is different and requires its own unique strategy when coming on the market. Not every house is set up for multiple offers. For example, your standard 3/2 at 1,500 square feet in White Oaks….price it for multiple offers. A 3,300 square foot home in the hills with some updating and layout issues, you better build in some negotiating room….no matter how hot the market may be.
Assess the demand for your house
Step one is being realistic with the demand for your price range and location. Understand that while demand is extremely high for San Carlos right now, the vast majority of high demand is in concentrated price ranges. $800,000-$1,000,000 & $1,400,000-$1,600,000 are the hottest price ranges. Where is your home in San Carlos? Howard Park, Oak Park and White Oaks are red hot right now. While other areas are moving very well, they are not quite at the level of the flats of San Carlos. Many sellers also have a tough time distinguishing between what they believe to be the ideal location, and what the vast majority of the potential buyers believe to be the ideal location. If your agent really knows San Carlos and is telling you that your particular property and location may not quite be as attractive as you may believe, listen to your agent. For example, I have a few clients who believe that their views from on top of Crestview make their homes incredibly unique and can’t understand why anyone would prefer the flats over a home with their views. In this case, two things can be equally true: (1) these homes have tremendous views; and (2) the majority of potential buyers still prefer the flats. Remember, not every buyer will put an emphasis on the things that you really like about your home. The true question centers on isolating the percentage of buyers who will envy the strong characteristics and location of your home when assessing demand.
Is your home San Carlosed?
Once you have realistically determined the demand for your home you can look to a second level of scrutiny that I like to call “San Carlosed”. You have a San Carlosed home if there are additions and modifications that don’t quite flow with the rest of the house. You could also have unpermitted bedrooms, roof lines that go from a gable roof to a flat roof or a father-in-law who believes he is a contractor and doesn’t see the need to pull permits when tackling projects at your home. If any of these are ringing a bell, it’s time to start deciding just how much to knock off your list price. The more San Carlosed your home is, the more of a shift you will need to make in the price. San Carlos buyers are smart, they will pick up on these items almost immediately.
It is wise to remember that even in a market that is moving as well as San Carlos is right now, not every property should have a strategy of gaining multiple offers. In order to gain multiple offers you need to be in a location and price range of very high demand. If you have a house outside of these parameters, you will need to examine the possibility that you may need to negotiate on the house. This is usually a better strategy than pricing the house much lower than where you intend to end up solely to gain multiple offers because these homes never draw the massive overbidding and attention that the others do. In most of these cases, you will usually end up in a better position if you have patience and can build in some negotiating room.
I’m surprised so many seem to want small houses with one-car garages.One of my gripes with the “hot” part of town is that there are so many cars parked on the street that you have to weave in and out of them when a car is coming the other direction. You’d think buyers would prefer houses with room for their cars off the street. I suppose that’s balanced by their ability to walk downtown.