Real Estate: John M. Lee – Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon – Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

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Spring Market is Upon Us

2024 is here, and like any other year, people are preparing for the big push in the spring real estate market. However, unlike every year, there is uncertainty and anxiety in the air.

Last year was a time for reflection and adjusting to the new reality. Mortgage interest rates at 7% felt so high compared to 3% just a couple of years ago. Prices were declining and the market was at the slowest level we have seen for at least the last 25 years. Buyers and sellers were confused as to where prices were, where they are currently, and especially where they will be in the future.

Sellers holding out for higher prices of years past took their properties off the market. Buyers waiting for interest rates to drop sat on the sidelines. In a market in transition, this is what we normally see.

However, life must go on. There are property owners who need to sell because their life circumstances changed. There are buyers who are making the decision that, yes, interest rates are higher, but prices are lower. So, they are buying in at the lower price point with opportunities to refinance to a lower rate when it does come down. In retrospect, a 6-7% interest rate is not all that high. We have just been spoiled by the historic 3-4% rates, and that is probably not going to come back in the near future.

The first two months of 2024 started with a low amount of inventory; we saw some multiple offers and overbidding again. Where it goes is anyone’s guess at the moment. Currently, I am seeing more properties being prepared for the market and expect a decent spring selling season.

If you are preparing your home for sale during this time, there are many more factors to consider. Have you ever wondered why some homes sell at a higher price than others? The answer lies in pricing and emotional appeal. Purchasing a home is a very emotional process and usually creates a very stressful time in the life of the purchaser. Many times, buyers are making the largest financial commitment of their lives and are unsure of whether they are getting the right deal.

Thus, when other people are competing on the same property, the multiple offers reassure buyers that they are making the right decision because others feel the same way about the home as they do.

As a seller then, how do you create these emotions so that your property will sell quickly and for the highest price in today’s market? Preparing a property for sale is key because people today are busier than before, and thus they are looking for homes which are in move-in condition.

There are many inexpensive preparations which will bring returns many times over for sellers.

First of all, declutter the house. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulates over the years. By removing large items of furniture and putting belongings away makes a home show larger than it is, and gives the impression that the home is spacious and well cared for.

Painting and freshening up the backyard can be inexpensive, and yet provide the impression that a home is well maintained. Refinishing the hardwood floors will do wonders for showing off the house.

If you want to go further, staging companies are available who will bring in complete sets of furniture to complement the age and décor of the house. We have found that this adds tremendous value, makes your home show like a model and separates your home from others on the market. As Richmond and Sunset homes are selling for well above the million-dollar mark now, the staging expense is becoming a smaller percentage of the selling price and thus makes more economic sense than ever before.

Buying is an emotional process. When a buyer walks into the home, I have a good feeling about whether he or she will buy that house. In order to obtain the highest possible price, buyers need to feel comfortable and know that this is the right home for them.

Marketing in our modern world is different from the past. Online presence plays a bigger role with most buyers deciding whether to go visit a property or not based on the internet presence. Virtual tours with good photos and videos are more important than ever.

Buying and selling a home is a stressful and emotional time in one’s life, and even more so during this uncertain time. But no matter what happens, there will be people who need to buy or sell. And that’s when good advice is necessary from a professional in helping to make that buying and selling decision as easy and painless as possible.

John M. Lee is a broker with Compass specializing in the Richmond and Sunset districts. If you have any real estate questions, call him at 415-465-0505 or email at [email protected].

Richmond Homes Sold in February*
Address Bed Bath Sq. Ft. Price
689 25th Ave. 3 2 1,480 $1,308,000
114 10th Ave. 3 2 2,181 1,850,000
224 Sea Cliff Ave. 7 5 7,045 6,500,000
*Partial listing. Source: M.L.S.
Sunset Homes Sold in February*
Address Bed Bath Sq. Ft. Price
2587 20th Ave. 1 1 1,060 $1,125,000
2215 27th Ave. 3 1 1,250 1,210,000
2731 41st Ave. 2 1 1,012 1,308,000
1018 Pacheco St. 3 1 1,283 1,315,000
2317 17th Ave. 2 1 1,531 1,355,000
350 Noriega St. 2 1 1,025 1,405,000
1982 44th Ave. 3 2 1,150 1,450,000
2586 47th Ave. 3 2 1,425 1,500,000
1563 27th Ave. 5 4 2,440 1,580,000
1934 Ninth Ave. 3 2 2,136 2,250,000
*Partial listing. Source: M.L.S.

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