The Top Ten Tips for Selling Your Home in San Francisco

The Droubi Team has compiled this list of top ten tips for selling your home in San Francisco.

While many of these nuggets of wisdom apply to home sellers everywhere, some stem from our long experience working and living in Noe Valley.


1. When is the best time to sell a house in San Francisco?

With so much real estate business on-line and soaring demand, you might think it doesn’t matters when you list your house for sale in San Francisco. Not so. Timely listing can catalyze both demand and online marketing to bring in the most prospective buyers

So when is the best time to sell a house in San Francisco? The answer comes in two parts:

In general, buyers peak in the spring, and that’s based on both local Noe Valley and national statistics. The second part of the answer gets more complicated; knowing when to list your property on MLS requires deep familiarity with the local housing market — list too soon and your home will get buried at the bottom of the growing list; list too late and you’ll miss the masses.

This leads us to our second tip for home sellers…


2. Choose a realtor you trust and trust your realtor

Some things you can do yourself without much risk. Selling your home is not one of those things.

Hiring a realtor means agreeing to spend money to make money. This is because any realtor worth her or his salt will be able to sell your home for far more than you’d bring in on your own or with non-professional assistance.

That’s part one of this tip: don’t expect to get a premium price for your property without a qualified realtor. Part two is this: let the professional do her or his job without interference.

It is in any realtor’s best interest to do everything possible to secure the highest sale price for your home. If you don’t trust the advice your realtor is giving you, you’ve chosen the wrong realtor.

While it’s sweet that you want to give your niece or friend’s girlfriend’s little brother a break by letting them sell your house for you, that decision may very well lose you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.


3. Accept a little inconvenience

Our third tip for maximizing your profits from a San Francisco home sale is a slightly impolite: you should make yourself scarce.

Once a realtor gets your home prepared and listed and properly marketed, everything will go much more smoothly if you’ve already moved out of the house.

If you remain in occupancy during marketing, then scheduling open houses and making your home available for off-hours showings will be difficult and stressful. Each time a prospective buyer wants to take a look, you’ll find yourself trying to quickly clean the bathroom or cutting dinner short or hiding out in the garden shed.

Do yourself a favor: find a nice short-term rental so you and your family can dial the tension down a few notches while your home sells.


4. Know your Noe Valley audience

Exceptional real estate work depends on understanding your audience. While different types of people shop for different types of homes across the country, in Noe Valley you need to be thinking about sophisticated buyers.

When you stage your home, you want to set it up to look as appealing as possible to your specific buying audience.

At Droubi Team, we use a staging designer who has time and again proven his worth. His understanding of the psychology of color and his skill with furnishings helps attract the savvy buyers that rule the Noe Valley real estate market.


5. See clearly

Want a quick and easy way to increase the appeal of your San Francisco home? Give the buyers what they want:

Reliably, that’s a ‘bright house’ — especially in foggy San Francisco. Removing all window treatments, washing your widows, and helping to maximize the impact of sunshine with light, appealing colors does wonders.

Doing without curtains is no problem if you’ve moved out already — as we suggested in tip #3.


6. Don’t price too high

Knowing how much to list a San Francisco home for requires complicated incantations and years of undercover work. It may seem counter-intuitive, but listing a home for LESS may often result in it selling for MORE.

Don’t push your realtor to over-price your home. That will only keep away prospective buyers who might otherwise see your property and then dig a little deeper to make a more generous offer than they’d originally planned.


7. Don’t take it personally

One of the most common mistakes home sellers make in San Francisco or anywhere else is allowing their emotions to rule their decisions.

This is hard but important advice to take.

While your home means a lot to you personally, and you want to think of it as transferring into good hands, selling a home is primarily a business transaction. Just as you wouldn’t give $20,000.00 to a total stranger because they wrote you a nice letter, you also shouldn’t read letters from prospective buyers and decide, emotionally, which of them to sell to.

Look at your offer numbers and, if there are two identical or near-identical bids, then and only then consider the other factors.

The flip side of this tip is to also keep your emotions in control when deciding to accept an offer. Remember: buyers have emotions, too! Buyers will make an offer and then, frequently, second-guess themselves. The longer you take to accept an offer, the higher the probability that the offer will be withdrawn.

You can take it all personally, or you can take it to the bank. We strongly recommend the latter option.


8. Ready, set, go

Tip number eight is simple: if you take too long to prepare your house for sale, you’ll miss your window. A smart home seller will see the prime selling season coming and act nimbly to be ready.

Dawdling over every decision will hobble you and you keep your home off the market for longer than you want. Prepare quickly and profit. Start interviewing realtors now to maximize the impact of their advice.


9. Be up front

Even in a white hot market like San Francisco, you should expect your property to be thoroughly inspected by tradespeople working for prospective buyers. This means piling a bunch of firewood in front of that big crack in your foundation isn’t going to fool anyone.

Assume that the defects in your home will come out before any sale closes. If you attempt to hide problems, then, when they’re discovered — and they most likely will be — buyers will just wonder what else you’re hiding and walk away.

Be up front with what’s less than perfect with your home. Buyers expect homes to need some work. If you’re not comfortable telling buyers what’s wrong with your place, your best option is to go ahead and fix it first.


10. Know where you’re going

Good news! You’ve sold your home! Now what?

Our final tip is to plan your next move before it’s upon you. Too often home sellers get caught without a transition plan. If you’re planning on buying, financial realities may inhibit you from acting before your current home sells. Even so, don’t expect to be able to turn around and find a new place to live in a few weeks.

Luckily, you listened to us and took our advice in tip #3: you moved out already and have a temporary place from which you can search for the next perfect place!