The housing market all across the country, and especially in many parts of the Bay Area, has experienced a tremendous rebound over the past few years. Real estate is once again on a strong footing with rising home prices, strong demand from well-qualified buyers, historically attractive interest rates and declining foreclosures and short sales.

The only thing that this market is missing to be firing on all cylinders: Sellers!

While some savvy homeowners have jumped into the market to take advantage of the strong upturn in home prices - in some cases 20% or more in the past year - far too many other potential sellers are missing out on this great window of opportunity to cash in on improved home values.

The supply of homes for sale has been extremely low over the past year, making this a hot seller's market. The National Association of REALTORS® reported that total housing inventory nationwide fell 9.3 percent to 1.86 million existing homes for sale at the end of 2013. That's just a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace. For a point of reference, in 2010 it was nearly three times that level at a 12.1-month supply!

What does all this mean for you as a homeowner? You may be in the driver's seat once again when it comes to selling your home if you act now.

With so many anxious buyers and so few properties to choose from, smart homeowners who are listing their property now are often receiving multiple offers and high sale prices - in some cases even more than they asked.

Although the situation is different from city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood, the overall median sale price in the Bay Area finished last year up nearly 24 percent from the previous December, according to a report by DataQuick.

As a result of the shortage of homes for sale, we are seeing offers for homes in some instances with no contingencies, as many as five or 10 bids, and sale prices that exceed the asking price by tens-of-thousands of dollars in some prime neighborhoods.

Buyers are showing a sense of urgency, perhaps out of concern that low mortgage interest rates could be heading higher before long.

If you've been thinking about selling your home but are concerned that you'll have to spend lots of money and time on improvements to get it ready to list, think again. You don't have to spend a fortune to get your home ready to sell and looking its best.

A few small, inexpensive items inside and outside the home can make a big difference. Remember, it's all about making a good first impression! Here are a few quick tips:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly.
  • Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly.
  • During spring months consider adding a few showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance.
  • On the inside of your home, have carpets cleaned - or even replaced if they are significantly worn.
In some cases, if you have outdated kitchens and appliances you may want to undertake a larger project, such as replacing floors or countertops. But talk with your REALTOR® first before deciding. He or she will have the experience and knowledge to advise whether it’s necessary to do, and how to help get the biggest bang for your buck.

Deciding to sell your home is never an easy decision, of course. There are lots of questions and personal issues that you need to think about. But I’m ready to help answer any of your questions and give you the best advice possible on next steps and whether selling is right for you.

Our local housing market right now offers a good opportunity for homeowners to sell while buyers outnumber sellers. But there’s no guarantee these conditions will last. So, now may be the best time to take advantage of seller’s market. Please give me a call if I can help.

 

 

This Reality Check is brought to you by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the leading provider of real estate services in Northern California. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is home to more than 3,600 Sales Associates of the region's most successful real estate professionals.