10 Tips for Selling Your Home in San Francisco

There are instances where there is a difference between Good and Great.

That difference could mean thousands of dollars …

The buyers in San Francisco are sophisticated and this makes the process a little more complex. When looking at their options, premium buyers will be expecting a premium presentation. The tips below will go a long way in helping you. Selling your home is a process that will involve getting the best possible offer, and you can ensure you get it by focusing on the five basic areas, and agents are usually experts in these areas:

Preparing the home for the sale

  • Marketing
  • Negotiation
  • Exposure
  • Ensuring a smooth escrow

Decide whether now is the best time for selling your home

The first step when deciding whether to sell your home now is having a plan. This can sound like an obvious thing, but some people decided to sell their home but did not know what to do next. You will be able to avoid a lot of stress later when you do research and plan upfront.

Investing in getting the home ready

People will always make their homes feel like theirs when they are living in it. When you have decided to sell the house, it is important to change the way you view your home and start looking at it as an important investment. Just like any other type of investment, the main goal is maximizing it. Getting the maximum Return on Investment will mean investing money in doing upgrades because it is going to make the most difference. You should be looking at the minor renovations that are going to have a big impact on the appeal of your home. This can include floor refinishing, professional carpet cleaning, painting, or hiring a cleaning company that is going to do full detail cleaning. Get a staging designer to have a look at your property so they can tell you some of the things that need to be done that are going to transform the home. Try your best to work within your budget and do upgrades that have been tried and proven to be effective.

Investing in staging

Many people usually wonder whether staging is a good idea or not for their situation, but the best approach is doing it. There is no need to invest a lot of time and effort in your home preparing it for sale then have it empty. Staging is a must unless the home is a true ëfixerí. Staging is more than just letting the prospective buyer see how things fit.

Staging serves the purpose of letting the buyer envision living in the home. Properties will vary from one to another but they have one goal: showcasing what makes the home great and presenting in such a way that the prospective buyer can start making a key emotional connection with the home.

Keeping in mind that you will have to deal with inconvenience (However, it will be worth it in the end)

One common question sellers tend to ask when selling is whether they have to move out. The best approach is to move out. This means a little inconvenience for you and your family, but you should look at it from a long term view, you will be able to see a lot of benefits by moving out before selling the property. Why is it a good idea to move out?

The house will look very different when you live in it compared to when you move out and have it staged. When living in the property, it is going to reflect on your preference and style. When the home is professional stages, it ends up looking very stylish and appealing to buyers, and this gives the prospective buyers the chance to personalize the space.


You are going to move eventually. Once you have sold your home, you will need to move out. If the house has been prepared and marketed properly, it is going to sell in a short time. Would you rather get stressed looking for a place to move to when the deal is done or would you rather be somewhere just relaxing?

Living in a home that is being sold can be stressful. You are forced to leave the house when there are showings, keeping the house cleaner than you normally would, and constantly wrangling with your kids and pets if you have them. Moving out before you sell the house is a great idea, and you are going to see the benefits of having a home that has been prepared for the markets by experts.

Interviewing different realtors then choosing the one you trust the most

There is a wide range of options when it comes to realtors in San Francisco, with some being professional and a few wing nuts. A good realtor is going to pay themselves from the more money they help you get from the sale. You should be looking at those who have a lot of experience in your area and can show you some of the properties they have sold. A good realtor is going to provide you with a good plan to use in making a successful sale and can advise you on what to do to achieve your goals in real estate. A bad realtor is the one who leaves you feeling like you are not sure about anything and not confident about the process.

Ask the realtor to provide a marketing plan they think will work for you. Look at the marketing plan and see whether it is geared towards the buyerís view of real estate in todayís market and see whether the approach will help in reaching potential buyers. You should let the realtor know your goals so they can create a plan that is going to take them into consideration (provided it is realistic). If you find yourself doubting the advice given to you by your realtor, then it could be a sign that he/she is not the best option for you.

Doing more upfront work will ensure less work and a smoother transition later

A huge amount of work is going to be done upfront when selling. The key to a successful sale is to oversee every single detail from the start, and this will also ensure there are no surprises along the way. The two main parts of doing this are:

Preparing the house for the market is the first part. The second is presenting a complete picture of the property. When selling their homes, many people tend to worry about ëdisclosing too muchí and leaving a negative reputation of the home. One expectation buyers have when looking at properties is that nothing is perfect, and trying to hide something about your home will leave you with costly renegotiations when they finally find out.

Many people donít know that ënewí disclosure, once the buyer is in a contract, can lead to a 3 day right of rescissions. Ensure you have disclosed all the information.

Some of the things to do are:

  • Organizing inspections, reports, and other disclosures
  • Organizing invoices and receipts from any work done on the property
  • Condos: Finalizing accounts, budgets, and financials (this is even more important for the ones that could change)
  • Condos: Organizing minutes from the meetings by owners on issues with the building or upcoming projects.

Choosing the best time of the year to sell the house

In the San Francisco real estate marketing, the busiest time is the Spring, which starts mid to late January to May. The observation is that home prices gain during the Spring the slowly rise or flatten through the Summer and Fall. Many buyers are looking for homes during this time, but there are also many sellers. This makes it important to time it well because you donít want it to get lost in the many houses in the market.

One thing about San Francisco is the fact that its real estate market isnít governed by schools, unlike most areas where summer tends to be slow, with many of the prospective buyers out there enjoying sunnier climates. Another time you should avoid is November to the middle of January.

The best time to sell is going to depend on your home and the current real estate market situation. You should work with a realtor who has a good understanding of the market. A condo in SOMA will have a different audience than a single-family home in Noe Valley.

Pricing it right

One of the most important things when preparing a property for a sale is pricing. The first impression the buyer gets is going to determine the value they think it is worth. If they feel like your property has not been well-priced compared to other similar options in the market, they are going to have a negative impression.

The first two or three weeks is when your house will get the most attention from buyers. This is the period where you will most likely get the highest price. If you overprice your property during this period, you will be forced to lower it because it will be very hard to get the level of attention you were able to get during the first two to three weeks. This is why it is very important to price it right from the start.

If you price it wrong, the house is going to stagnate, receive low-ball offers, and grow stale. One way to know you have priced it high is when there was initial excitement but now it has become moderate and being forced to renegotiate from a point of weakness. This is where you end up getting lower offers compared to what you were expecting.

Saving the receipts and itemizing them so you can save on your taxes

There is a huge gain people get selling their homes but the profit can be more than the capital gains exclusion for a primary residence ($250,000 for a single person and $500,000 for a couple). The expenses and costs associated with the sale can be deducted from your profit. This will include things like refinishing floors, painting, realtor fees, etc. Repairs are not added to the deductible, but you can add improvements. Going through your credit card statements and old receipts can help in documenting these deductibles. It is a good idea to consult a tax or legal expert so they can advise you according to your specific situation.

Understanding the Cost You Have to Meet When Selling a Property

You need to get a good understanding of all the costs that are going to be involved so you can properly plan.

The biggest costs when selling in San Francisco are: realtor commissions, city transfer tax (this amount is calculated from the selling price), improvements to the property, and miscellaneous costs that come with closing and escrow.

The following are some of the costs that a seller can expect to pay for:

  • Preparing documents for deed
  • Real estate commission
  • Paying off the loan against your property
  • Transfer tax
  • Interests resulting from loans being paid off, repayment penalties, and reconveyance fees
  • Homeowners dues that have not been paid and prorated ((applies to TICs and Condos))
  • Tax liens or judgments against you
  • Bonds or assessments
  • Property tax-pro-ration till the close of escrow
  • Delinquent taxes
  • Notary fees and records fees
  • Move-out fees (applies to TICs and Condos)
  • Pre-sale inspection (pest inspection, home inspection)
  • Underground storage tank report
  • Water/energy conservation repairs/inspection.