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How to sell your home for top dollar in any market

how to sell

For most home sellers, the goal is to sell their property quickly for the highest price. The sales price of a home is driven by a lot of factors. There could be two identical homes on the market, but if they’re marketed differently and are sold in different conditions, their sales prices could differ by a tremendous amount, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Specific factors that influence a home’s price depend on its local market. Generally speaking, however, factors that strongly affect the price of a home are:

  • Location
  • Size
  • Features
  • Condition
  • Current trends in the real estate market
  • How it’s marketed

You might notice that many of the factors listed above are not easily changed. For example, you can’t really do anything to change location or trends in the real estate market. While it’s possible to increase your home’s size, it will require time and a significant financial investment.

With the right expertise and some strategic decisions, however, you can sell your home for a higher price. If you’re planning to sell your home on the Danville, CA real estate market (or in any other market), we’ll take a closer look at different stages of the home selling process, and what you can do at every stage to maximize profit.

Table of Contents:

Preparing and planning for the sale

Work with a real estate agent who knows the area

The idea of selling a home on your own may seem tempting. There will be no need to pay for any commissions if you don’t work with an agent.

Real estate agents, however, work hard to earn their fees and make the entire process seamless and stress-free from listing to closing. Experienced agents possess extensive knowledge of your local market. They will know how to market your property to get the most favorable results. They’ll be able to promote your listing to a wide audience and represent your best interest during negotiations, helping you get the best offers possible.

Sellers who choose to go the “for sale by owner” or FSBO route have no choice but to personally manage preparations, marketing, reviewing offers, negotiations and closing, which are all time-consuming and stressful endeavors.

Setting the right price

The price you set reveals more about your home than you realize. Price it too low and prospective buyers might think there’s something wrong with it. You also risk selling yourself short. Price it too high and some may not even consider walking through the doors.

You can count on your real estate agent for experience and comprehensive knowledge of the local market to help you set a competitive yet fair price. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, sellers that hire an agent to help sell their home end up getting a significantly better price compared to for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) sellers.

To help you come up with an ideal price, your agent can provide a comparative market analysis (CMA). This will help you evaluate sales data of similar properties within your neighborhood or area.

Highlighting your home’s location

Your home’s location affects both its price and the length of time it stays on the market.

Although you can’t change its location, you can highlight its advantages in your marketing strategy. For example, is your home close to major employment centers, parks, or the downtown area? Is it within a highly rated school district?

Desirable areas offering plenty of conveniences tend to drive higher sales prices. Try to capitalize on all of the perks offered by your location in your marketing efforts.

Creating an effective showing strategy

Although there are more sellers hosting open houses these days, the coronavirus pandemic made online house showings more prevalent. Many prospective buyers still prefer looking at photos, videos, and virtual tours before scheduling an in-person visit.

Majority of buyers will likely find your home online, so be sure your online listing showcases your home in the best light. It’s important to use only top-quality high-resolution images and videos. Hiring a professional photographer will be worth the extra cost if you want to display your home online in the best possible way.

That said, hosting an open house can still be an effective way to get the attention of buyers and buyers’ agents. Ask your real estate agent whether they think it’s a good strategy to hold an open house in your current market.

Timing your sale

The timing of your sale plays a key role in terms of how much you’ll be able to sell your home for and how long it’ll stay on the market.

Figuring out the optimum time to sell your home, however, can be a challenge. While there’s no magic bullet for analyzing trends in your housing market, there are effective ways to help you gain an advantage.

Here are several tips to keep in mind when planning the timing of your sale.

See if trends in your local housing market will work in your favor

Real estate markets are defined as either buyer’s or seller’s markets. This depends on their competitiveness for home buyers versus sellers.

Understanding market trends and current conditions will be important when you’re determining the best time to sell. Find out how quickly home prices are appreciating in your area. See whether homes are selling fast or if slower sales are causing inventory to pile up.

One of the best ways to implement a strategy that uses current market conditions advantageously is to work with a top real estate agent who’s familiar with your local area. They’ll provide insight into the trends in your market and help you fulfill your goals, whether you want to maximize price or complete a quick sale.

Set a target selling date

Once you have a clearer idea of when to list your home, the next step is to plan a target sell date. This affects other important parts of your timeline, such as relocating, purchasing a new home, or renting. It also helps you budget the time you need to prepare your home, so you can complete repairs, stage the house, and take videos and photos before listing it.

After listing your home, the time it takes between getting offers and accepting one varies from market to market. You can get an estimate of how fast your home should sell by asking your agent about the average days on market in your area. This measures how long homes remain on the market before they go under contract. Moreover, it can help determine if your home is priced correctly.

Making your home market-ready


Your home must show well to fetch a top-dollar price. This means taking time to complete repairs and making sure everything’s in excellent condition.

Before listing, resolve major issues like safety and environmental hazards. Patch up leaks and replace any faulty appliances. Next, complete cosmetic changes. These include landscaping improvements, repainting the walls of your property, and replacing old fixtures to enhance your home’s appeal.

Seeing how your home stacks up with other houses for sale in your area is also important. If many properties in your area feature well-manicured lawns and top-of-the-line appliances. investing extra time and money to have those same features in your home will be a smart move.

Declutter and depersonalize

It can be difficult for buyers to envision themselves in a home if it’s cluttered or overly personalized. Clear as much clutter, personal items, and excessively showy décor from your home.

But avoid stuffing your storage spaces with items, as most buyers will want to take a look inside. A good rule of thumb is to remove 75% of items in your drawers, closets, cabinets, and other storage spaces. This will display their utility while showing buyers how much space is available.

Stage your home

According to the National Association of Realtors, staging can increase a home’s sales price by as much as 20% on average. While it’s optional, it’s not really a step you’ll want to skip if you’re set on selling your home for the maximum price.

There are a lot of factors you’ll need to consider when it comes to traditional home staging, however. For one, the average cost of home staging is around $1,774 according to HomeAdvisor. Additionally, searching for a professional stager, consultations, and setting up décor and furniture can take several days to a couple of weeks.

If you’re looking for a simpler solution, virtual staging is the way to go. This is especially helpful if your marketing strategy is focused online. For as little as $30 for each photo, you can get gorgeous photos that will generate demand, attract prospective buyers, and boost your home’s sales price, all within 24 hours or less.

Upgrades and renovations that can increase your home’s value

While remodeling and renovating can be a worthwhile investment, keep in mind there’s no guarantee of getting back the money you spent.

The key is to focus on projects that give you a higher return on investment due to buyer demand. Consider completing these renovations to boost your home’s value.

Modern and functional floor plans

More livable square footage often increases a property’s appraised value. Many traditional floor plans that aren’t viewed as “functional” are getting more pushback nowadays. Rooms such as small bathrooms or powder rooms and kitchens that function as their own separate space are now outdated. Most buyers aren’t as eager to find solutions that can make these spaces work.

To make your home more suitable for modern living, you can add more space to existing rooms or rework your floor plan entirely. Large bathrooms, bedrooms with walk-in closets, and kitchens with tons of prep space are all features that add more functionality.

If you happen to have a spacious unfinished basement, converting it into a specialty room can give you a potential ROI of 70%.

Expansive outdoor living spaces

While functional and stylish outdoor spaces have always been a desirable feature, they’re considered even more appealing these days. According to a 2021 survey of over 2,000 U.S. homeowners, people spent an average of 14 hours in their backyards every week, which is three hours more than before the pandemic. Seven out of ten homeowners also said that enhancing their outdoor spaces became a new hobby for them.

Spruce up your home’s outdoor features by touching up your hardscaping and yard to make it more attractive. If you have the time and budget, consider incorporating sought-after features like a deck or a patio with a built-in fire pit.

Kitchens with walk-in pantries and islands

According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, more households have members with different food prep and storage requirements nowadays. Flexible pantries, multiple sinks, and additional refrigerator space are now some of the most sought-after features in kitchens.

Choosing the best offers for your home

best offers

You and your agent have done most of the hard work, from setting a realistic price and prepping your home to entertaining interested buyers. Now, it’s time to wait for offers to come in. When they do, you’ll need to review each one carefully and consider its advantages and drawbacks before choosing one to accept.

Here’s what you need to know when evaluating offers.

They’re negotiable

Your agent will tell you that all offers are negotiable. Accepting or rejecting are not the only options available. You can modify certain terms and make a counteroffer.

Establishing baselines

When you’re waiting to receive offers, decide ahead of time about the terms that are most important to you. For example, if you want to get the best price possible, you’ll likely need to be more flexible on the closing date. If you need assurance that the deal will not go off the rails because the buyer is unable to get a mortgage, you can set a requirement for only prequalified or cash buyers.

Take emotions out of the process

Putting a home on the market can be an emotional experience for some. Keep in mind that it should be treated purely as a business transaction.

In case a potential buyer mentions anything offensive about your home to justify their lowball offer, don’t be offended! Instead, treat the comment as a negotiating tactic: it’s a sign that the buyer might be interested in purchasing your home.

Set a time frame

If you’re confident that your home will get several offers, ask your agent to set a specific time frame wherein buyers need to submit offers. By doing this, you’ll give your agent more time to market the home to as many prospective buyers as possible. And later on, you’ll have the time to evaluate all offers as you get them.

Review each term carefully

Evaluate all terms in every offer you receive. Many sellers who focus solely on price tend to overlook other important terms.

For example, how much earnest money will the buyer deposit toward the down payment? If it’s a low amount, forfeiting those funds might not be a big deal for them, should they choose to walk away from the transaction in case there are problems.

Another important thing is to find out if there’s a pre-approval or prequalification letter attached to the offer, or if it includes financing or other contingencies. A prospective buyer who’s not pre-approved or prequalified by a lender can walk away from the deal in case they’re unable to get a mortgage. Plus, they’ll be able to get their earnest money back as well.

Other significant terms to keep an eye on are concessions such as requesting you to cover the closing costs, the inclusion of fixtures and other items in the sale, and the buyer’s proposed closing date.

While reviewing each term, assess whether it’s a deal breaker or if it’s something you can compromise on so you can progress towards closing the sale.

Be open-minded to every offer

In case you receive an unacceptable offer, don’t be afraid to ask questions that can help you figure out what’s most important to the buyer. Then, see whether you can take the steps necessary to fulfill those needs.

For example, if you find out the buyer is in a hurry to move, you might be able to stick to your asking price but offer to close faster. The key is to remain flexible when you’re negotiating offers.

Sell your home for top-dollar in the Danville, CA real estate market

As long as you do your research, make well-informed decisions, and work closely with your real estate agent, you’ll be on your way to selling your home for the best price possible.

If you’re looking to sell your home in the Danville, CA real estate market, Get in touch with me, Kimberly Ghazvini by calling 650.444.3148 or sending an email. You can also leave me a message here, in case you have any questions.

As an experienced Realtor and top producer with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, I specialize in Danville and other sought-after communities in the East Bay real estate market. You can count on my expertise, deep local knowledge, and personalized client service to help you get the best results, whether you’re looking for a new home or putting your current residence on the market.

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