Even in a hot seller’s market, not everything sells. Now, though, we have a fairly strong buyer’s market in most of Silicon Valley and the San Jose area generally. Some areas are worse than others, but all are challenged when it comes to selling.

Is there a magic formula for getting the home sold when so few are selling?  The answer is no and yes.  No, it’s not a magic formula, but yes, there are things you MUST do to move your Silicon Valley real estate. Here is a quick list of absolute necessities if you must sell your Santa Clara County home:

  • Pricing has to be perfect – plan to be in the lowest 20% of available homes for your home’s size, condition, and location (read more on pricing on my popehandy.com website)
  • Your home has to look great, starting from the front yard and continuing through the home. Buyers may forgive a scruffy back yard, but they won’t forgive a ratty looking front yard. The house or condo needs to be decluttered and clean. In some markets, buyers expect granite countertops. (If you are selling a million dollar home in Almaden Valley, Monte Sereno, Saratoga or Los Gatos, plan to have granite in your kitchen.)  This is about both repairs prior to going on the market and it’s also about staging.  Both matter.
  • Buyers must be able to easily see your home – that means not being overly restrictive (no “24 hours notice” or worse), provide a lock box (not “appointment through agent only”). Have a for-sale sign. Allow at least some open houses. If you make it difficult to see, your home will not sell at all, or if it does, it won’t be for top dollar
  • Make sure your San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos or other Silicon Valley home is massively exposed online – on the mls with multiple photos and a virtual tour, on multiple internet sites, with a broker’s tour, etc. Online exposure is key. Print ads don’t sell homes. Forget them, generally speaking. (Only exception is an ad for the open house.)
  • When you hire an agent, make sure that she or he is highly experienced and comes highly referred. Most agents try hard, but some don’t know what they’re doing. Hire carefully.

That’s it. If you understand that the odds are against your selling, and realize that this is an uphill battle, you will go into this well armed. Hire a great agent. Listen to his or her advice and act on it. Treat this aggressively and you’ll be able to sell, no matter what the headlines say. Remember, some homes are still selling. The trick is to get yours into that elite group.