Market Knowledge, Personalized Service and Real Estate Insight Since 1988
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Determining the Value of Your Property

This may be the single most important element that will impact your property when it arrives on the market. There are a few different ways that property owners arrive at an estimate of value for their property. They may visit a number of open houses and make comparisons to what other people are asking for their homes and extrapolate for how they see their house comparing. A word of caution, asking prices do not equate to selling prices. They may seek the advice and input from friends and family who mean well and are quick to flatter the property owner with estimates that place the subject property at the pinnacle of its market segment. Unless someone is an expert in analyzing your real estate market, weigh his or her advice accordingly. They sometimes do an advanced extrapolation comparing their home with the most expensive property that has sold in their neighborhood and somehow come up with a valuation that price their property near this benchmark. This will certainly handicap the sale efforts for the property.

If the property owner has refinanced their property in the recent past, they may attach an emphasis to the appraisal that the lender did in processing the loan. Appraisals are a snapshot of a perfect world. They neither take into consideration the aesthetic appeal, utility nor the sale probability, which is a combined factor of present market conditions and competing properties. Sometimes a property owner may interview a few Realtors who will provide the seller with a Comparative Market Analysis for their property. The seller is left to decide which if any of these Realtors is most adept at interpreting the market and often times goes with the one who comes in with the highest price. Over estimating a property´s value is known as 'buying the listing', every seller would like to get top dollar for their property and may be swayed by a poor market analysis only to be left wondering months later why they haven´t received an offer.

As you can see from the previous discussions of preparing your home for the market and strategies for a smooth transition, there are many factors that directly impact a property coming on to the market, not to mention the relevance of understanding the economic conditions, evolving market trends, competing properties and their relationship to the subject property as well as the general appeal, condition and market demand for what the subject property has to offer. In the end, the sale of a property comes down to desirability and value. These concepts can be very subjective and have a correlation to price and patience.

The more unique a property is the more unique a buyer and their investment profile will be for a good match. While price is always a factor, having the patience to wait for the buyer who is a good match for the property is necessary as well. If a property has deficiencies, reducing the asking price is an alternative to offsetting them. The price range of your home is also a contributing factor to the uniqueness of the property. The further up the price pyramid which a property finds itself, the fewer buyers there are in that price segment. These affluent buyers usually consider multiple locations for investment and once decided have higher expectations as to how a property matches their investment goals. A review of the current market conditions and the recent statistical history will give you an indicator of the number of sales that are probable in the coming months. Compare this information with the number of properties in your price segment and you will have some insight to pricing and time on the market.

In a perfect world a property should sell at a 'fair market value' in a reasonable amount of time. This would be a price at which a property would change hands between a willing buyer and willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts. As time passes and the market evolves these conditions may change and the participants may have to adjust their positions. Determining a property´s asking price when it comes onto the market will set the stage over the interval of time between the initial offering and conclusion of a sale. Your real estate professional should be able to explain all of these elements and work with you in developing a plan which will help you set realistic goals and expectations.

Marketing Your Property

Marketing is getting a product in front of a customer. The sales process is about motivating the customer to buy and the confidence to act. Service is the credibility and integrity that builds a customer´s trust. Satisfaction is when the product meets or exceeds the customer´s expectations after the sale.

Your Realtor is going to be a significant factor in all of these areas, so as someone who will be representing you; you´ll need to choose wisely. This person should have experience in marketing, sales, communications, basic business skills, know the economics of the real estate market and be capable in developing and executing a business plan.

Most Realtors are independent contractors; that is we hang our real estate license with a firm whom provides us with access to training, marketing resources, professional guidance and customer support. Independent Realtors who own their own businesses typically run smaller boutique operations. Agents and companies differ in their backgrounds, experience, communication skills and business capacities. The marketing and sale of your property will be a team effort. As part of your team, your Realtor, their company and the professionals who will be called in to act as consultants and advisors during the process will all play a major role in the success that you will experience during the process of selling your property.

Today the Internet is the primary source for the exchange of information. Information is available 24/7 whenever someone has the desire to learn an answer to their question; the Internet usually offers a wealth of choices and resources. This has become most evident when a customer is interested in researching their options for purchasing real estate. From the comfort of your home it is possible to travel the world markets and view properties. This is how today´s real estate buyer begins their search before they actually travel to a desired location to inspect properties in person. Your Realtor and their company should have extensive capabilities in showcasing your home on the Internet, both on their respective web sites but also through the network of professionals that they exchange information with.

Print advertising is great locally, but the further away that a publication gets from the location of the subject property, the less likely that a buyer for your property will see the ad. There may be exceptions for properties that represent great size, value or have unusually unique features where there may be a specific target market, but the truth of the matter is that when someone is serious about buying real estate, they will travel to the location to see what choices are available to them and specifically how these properties appeal to them. These days buyers come prepared with a collection of information that they have previewed on the Internet. They want to know as much about the area that they are considering moving to as they do about the homes for sale there. Some locations in the world have a mystique and allure about them.

Santa Barbara real estate and Montecito real estate are perfect examples of that. You can travel almost anywhere in the world and mention the name 'Santa Barbara' and it is not surprising to find that not only do people know of Santa Barbara, but they have an opinion of what they think that our area is all about. Someone who is interested in moving to Santa Barbara is motivated more by their expectations of enhancing their lifestyle than by a particular home. They are optimistic that they will be able to find the property that fits their needs and are eager to see what is available. So selling your property is as much about your house as it is about selling the experience of living in Santa Barbara. An agent and a company who have a comprehensive marking plan that incorporates a mix of marketing media and resources that attracts a buyer's attention and inspires them to see your home will best serve you.

Working with an Offer

The day has come when after time on the market and a number of showings, someone likes your property as much as you do and has submitted an offer for your consideration. Assuming that all is in order and the buyer has provided you with references that substantiate their financial capacity the process begins of negotiating the price and terms of the purchase agreement. This may involve a number of counter offers and unfold over the course of next few days. Contingencies will be identified as well as the process for satisfying them and signing them off. Inevitably compromises will be made until a mutual agreement for the price and terms is settled upon.

Over the course of the escrow, disclosures pertaining to the property´s condition and environment will be made, inspectors will investigate the property for defects and documentation acknowledging the exchange of information will be signed off. Legal and financial professionals may also review this information and be advising the buyer on a prudent course of action. After receiving all the reports from the inspections, the buyer may request the repair or remedy of existing conditions. These requests are negotiable. The response is often conditioned by how well the property was prepared for the market and barring no surprises, the reflection of reasonable minds and a sense of fairness will go a long way in reaching a mutually agreeable conclusion. The alternative may be in risking a cancelled escrow and a return to the marketing program while awaiting the next buyer to come along.

The offer to purchase a property such as Santa Barbara real estate or Montecito real estate will establish a number of benchmarks throughout the course of the escrow where you as the seller should become more confident with the buyer´s performance and commitment to close the escrow. A word of advice before chilling the champagne, when an offer has been agreed upon and the escrow opened the journey is half way along. As the contingencies are removed the destination becomes closer at hand. All is not complete until the grant deed is recorded and notification of the closing has been received. The Santa Barbara County Recorder's Office notes the sale and now the time has come to celebrate and enjoy the transition that you've outlined in your exit plan months ago. Congratulations.

​Selling Santa Barbara Real Estate Part 1

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