Selling a House

Once you've decided to move or upgrade to a larger home, you will come face to face with the preparation necessary to sell your Huntington Beach house. Notice that we said "house" -- not "home". You don't sell a home. You live in a home. You sell a house. Emotionally, this is an important point to bear in mind. You've decided that you are not going to live here anymore.

Too often, home sellers attach emotional value to their residences and are unable to arrive at an asking price that will insure a quick sale. This type of logic pushes the price up near or above the top of the price range for the local area. As a result, there is a significant loss of interest on the part of the local population of real estate agents searching for properties on behalf of buyers. If a home needs work at the time it is purchased, the new owners will frequently ask for a price discount amounting to 2 or 3 times the cost of the work needing to be done.

If your listing agent has done their job well, they will promote your house heavily to all the real estate agents in the Huntington Beach area. When your house first comes on the market, there is a fair amount of excitement generated by the new listing. There will be a flurry of previews and some "Open House" events for your property, and if "priced right, all the buyers' agents will show your house to their current portfolio of prospective buyers - where your house fits the buyer's needs. Two things are paramount in selling a house: it should be in mint condition and be competitively priced. Of the two, the latter is the more important. If a house is not in mint condition, that problem can be overcome with competitive pricing.

What this means is that your best chance to sell your house comes quickly, right after you've first listed it. This is because a large population of hungry buyers - an accumulation of hungry buyers - is going to be exposed to your property. Why are they hungry? Because they still haven't bought a home, and most of them have already seen everything in the Huntington Beach area. Your house is new. Maybe it is just what someone is looking for. Also, there may be buyers who are just about to commit to another house when they are suddenly exposed to yours. If your house has a slight edge over the one they are already close to buying, then in many cases, they'll switch their decision to your house, and because they are emotionally ready to sign on the dotted line - you'll grab (or "steal?") the purchase!

Keeping the above psychology and one-time market condition in mind, you don't want to blow your best chance at an opportunity for a quick sale. Several national surveys by the National Association of Realtors indicate that the most likely buyer(s) for your house will be one of the first 20 or 30 parties to view it. If your asking price is unrealistic during those 1st 20 or 30 showings, you'll miss your best opportunity to secure a buyer. The main herd of hungry buyers will likely NOT be exposed to your home because their agent has simply written it off as overpriced and unrealistic. Don't lose sight of the fact that everyone wants a good deal. Don't you? Or do you brag about the fact that you paid more than something was worth? If you don't offer a good deal, you're likely to end up as shopworn inventory that has been looked at by dozens of buyers, but is still on the market. Buyers may think that there is something wrong with a property that has been on the market this long without a sale. Your house will get exposed only to the occasional new buyer coming into the area - even if you lower your price later.

A caveat here. Beware of the agent that promises you a sale price much higher than any other Realtor has mentioned. This is sometimes a gimmick just to "buy the listing," as Realtors say. As soon as the listing is signed, the Realtor may begin to push, or pressure, you to lower your price to a more realistic one. It is extremely unlikely that your listing agent will be the one who finds a buyer. The real buyers will most likely be someone working with the agents who have a portfolio of home buyers they are trying to find a home for. These agents are not naive and know a mediocre or even poor value when they see one. Most of the time, after previewing your home, if they feel that it is overpriced, you'll never even see one of their buyers. So there you will sit, with your "highly valued" home at an asking price that no one is willing to agree with you on.

You are selling a house. Price it to sell! Dispose of it.

How can you get your house ready to sell?

First, regard it as an investment that you are disposing of and want to make a profit on. What this means is that now is NOT the time to remodel the house, but IT IS the time to fix anything that is broken, worn out, or unsightly! Save your money for your new home. That being said, there are still certain things you can do in order to make your house show well. We suggest the following:

  • If this is a neighborhood where significant numbers of campers and RV's are parked along the curb and in out front driveways, there may be days when they all have to be off the street. Let your listing agent know about this so they will schedule previews and Open Houses on those days if possible.
  • Check the landscaping and landscape plumbing. You may need to touch it up a bit and/or make minor repairs.
  • Verify that all exterior faucets are functional and do not leak.
  • Mend any breaks or obvious deterioration in your fences.
  • Clean the driveway and fill in any large cracks.
  • Make sure the outside lighting works.
  • Inspect every single outside electrical outlet and verify that it works. Clean them up, brighten them a bit, without electrocuting yourself!
  • You may need to touch up the exterior paint and finish. Don't repaint the house unless your agent tells you that they don't think the home will sell with the paint in its present condition.
  • Check to see if there is any obvious deterioration of the roof such as missing and broken shingles. These can be replaced easily and inexpensively.
  • Clean up the exterior window frames, rubber insulation and screens. Hint: clean up the tracks and grooves as well. They get filthy quickly, but make a good impression when they are clean. Not much money involved here, but a lot of elbow grease. Consider putting your child or children to work. This is one they can handle. Tell them that they will get first pick of the bedrooms (after you, of course) in your new home if they help out a lot.
  • Sliding exterior glass and screen doors. Same advice. Clean 'em. Clean the grooves and make them shine.
  • Check under eaves and along the base of the house for obvious water damage and cracks. This may be a tough one. If it's bad, you may need to spend a little money here. But again, check with your Real Estate agent for advice on current practices and how it will affect your chances for a good sale.
  • Visually inspect cable TV connections for obvious deterioration; ditto for broadcast reception antennas. Clean them up and repair as necessary.
  • Make sure your garage door opens easily and as quietly as possible. A quiet garage door is rare and always makes a great impression.
  • If you are leaving the washer and dryer, clean them up and make sure the hookups look new and functional.
  • Inspect your water heater for obvious leakage and clean up what you can. If your water heater is clearly on its last legs - and looks it - this may be one situation where a replacement is in order. This will cost several hundred bucks but could also be a "deal killer" if the new owners notice that it is leaking or generally old and in bad shape. Trust us! They aren't going to tolerate being without hot water in their new home for even one hour.

  1. The general real estate market is poor.
  2. The location is poor.
  3. The condition of the property is poor.
  4. There is poor or no financing available.
  5. The broker does a bad job of marketing the property.
  6. The price is too high.
When the property does not sell, most sellers want to pick Number 5 as the reason. The vast majority of the time Number 6 is the reason the property does not sell. The seller has refused to recognize the reality of the marketplace, i.e., nobody is going to pay more than the fair market value of a property. And "Value Is In The Eye of the Beholder."