Selling your Silicon Valley home in a cooler market?

2019 Predictions: milder appreciation

The real estate forecasts point to a softer market with maybe 3% – 5% appreciation. Those “peak and valley” patterns continue, so the 3% may mean it shoots up a bit and then drops, or perhaps is just barely better than flat. One year during the downturn, we had exactly 3 good weeks in March, and the rest of the year it was really hard to sell homes. So we do not know for sure how the market will be, except that no one is expecting it to be anywhere near as strong as 2018 (let alone the hyper on fire 2017).

Home selling in cooler conditions

House Heart Money collageIf you need to sell when the market is not “hot”, it’s imperative to realize that buyers will have much more choice. Perhaps only a few homes will sell each month of all the available homes. What are the odds that your home will sell? One way is to look at the last calendar month and see what became of the listings that came on the market then. Here’s a quick case study:

October 2018 in zip code 95032 (Los Gatos), there were 24 single family homes that came on the market. Of those,

  • 8 are still unsold as of November 20 2018 (1/3 have not sold)
  • 3 are currently pending with contingencies in place
  • 6 are pending with all contingencies removed
  • 7 have closed escrow

So that’s not too bad that only 1/3 have not yet sold. In a buyer’s market, though, it could be the reverse and only 1/3 would sell.


If the market changes so much that most homes are not selling, how do you make sure that your home will be the one which buyers do want, and which their agents want to show if there can only be a “short list”, since there will be far too many of them out there to see them all? Here are some quick tips, followed by links with more information.

  1. The correct PRICE is paramount. If your price is far too high, buyers won’t see it at all – it won’t make that “short list”. If it is a little too high, they will see your house and not bid on it. (Or you will get low offers.) Should the market be declining, this is a  truly expensive mistake to make and you can find yourself chasing the market down.  (If you hire a good, experienced, and skilled agent, he or she ought to be able to assist you in pinpointing the pricing.)
  2. Good PHOTOS and STAGING are the second most important requirement for getting your home sold. They are tied together because great photos of a horrible looking abode won’t help you to sell the home at all, let alone maximize your return.  Think of the online viewers as being open house viewers. This is how they screen what to see – and what to skip. Take the time to clean thoroughly, clear clutter, close the toilet lid, move the car out of the driveway, and do everything in your power to make the property looks like it would fit in on  magazine spread. OK, that is a slight exaggeration, but in a buyer’s market, you have to sell what you have, and that means making it attractive.  Anything that isn’t photographed, such as a bathroom, will be assumed to be in terrible condition.
  3. Make your property EASY TO SEE. If there are 20 properties that might work for a buyer, and 10 are vacant, staged, and can be seen with little notice, those may pop to the top of the list. If you require 24 hours notice or create even bigger hurdles, not only do you make it harder for buyers, but you send out a message that you and your agent may be a pain to work with.  If you are living there, you might make it easier by giving clear, simple instructions to facilitate showings, such as “Between 10 am and 7 pm, please call with 1 hour notice, all other times by appointment only”.  That way, you won’t be on call 24/7, but can make the house reasonably accessible.

There are many more considerations, including the commission offered to the buyer’s agent (think of it as a marketing dollar), the odors in the home, the presence of pets (which may scare some buyers), needed repairs, and much more.

If you are interested in selling a home anywhere in Santa Clara County, please reach out to me for a confidential, no obligation consultation. We can discuss market conditions, local sales, and much more.


Related Reading

What’s My Silicon Valley Home Worth? Estimating the Probable Buyer’s Value

Tips for selling your home in an El Niño year

Lighten up your dark home and sell for more! A few tips for Silicon Valley home sellers.

How To Make People Line Up And Beg To Buy Your Home (on popehandy.c0m)

Things which will make a home buyer RUN from purchasing your home (on popehandy.c0m)