Success strategies changeEach home sale or escrow is going to be a little different from every other one.  I’ve been selling properties in Silicon Valley for 20 years, and I can assure you that although there are many similarities from one transaction to the next, there are no exact blueprints.  Each residential real estate sale is unique.

For repeat home buyers or sellers, with one or two experiences of real estate transactions, it may seem that each purchase of sale should be just the same.  Here are some of the comments underlining that point:

  • When I sold my condo, I gave the buyer a one year home warranty.  I do not understand why this seller of the house I am buying won’t do it for me!
  • When I bought my first house, I had to pay for inspections.  There were none provided to me by the seller.  But now that I want to sell, you’re suggesting that I pay for inspections for the buyers?  That doesn’t seem fair to me that I have to do it again!
  • When my parents sold the family beach house, they had to provide a Section 1 pest clearance.  Now they want to buy another beach house, but a smaller condo this time, and the seller will not provide the pest clearance.  What gives?

In each case, the consumers are mentally tying together two unrelated transactions.  The expectation is that they should always be the same. But there are different clients involved, different properties, different areas (buying & selling homes in Silicon Valley is a little different than southern CA or elsewhere in the U.S.), sometimes different contracts and forms (CAR vs PRDS) and different markets or market conditions.

 In a cold buyer’s market, a home buyer may make a lot of demands and the seller has little choice.  The opposite is true in a hot seller’s market: the seller is not pressed to provide home warranties, pest clearances, or most repairs because there’s so much demand by other buyers.    Sometimes you’re lucky and you sell in a hot segment of the market and move up into a cooler one.  When that happens, you can call the shots on both sides!  But it can go the other way, too: perhaps you’re downsizing from a part of the market that’s cool and buying into one which is hot.  And you get a little stuck paying the same types of things on both sales when that’s the situation. It seems very unfair.

(Additionally, some fees or costs may be customary by area.  If you move from one California county to another, the way escrow and title costs are normally handled may be varied – or even opposite.  It’s unfortunate when someone gets slammed with the same fees both when selling and when buying, but that can happen.  The sense is always that “it’s not fair”.  We empathize! )

Talk to your Realtor about what is the norm or customary in successful purchases and sales for whatever you are trying to accomplish.  Unhappiness is usually the result of expectations that aren’t quite in line with reality.  The more information you have about the market today, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the end result. Communication is vital to your happiness.


  • Mary Pope-Handy

    Silicon Valley Realtor, selling homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, Silicon Valley, and nearby since 1993. Prolific blogger with a network of sites.

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