Interested in selling your Silicon Valley home? The home selling process has changed dramatically in recent months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and Shelter in Place orders (which have been lightened a little, but not fully, and with cases rising may roll back to stricter terms again).
We need to start by understanding what can and cannot be done and to factor in what will improve the odds of your successfully selling your Silicon Valley home for top dollar under the current, strange market conditions.
Selling your Silicon Valley home during Covid-19 restrictions
Since mid-March 2020, we had a prohibition on the showing of occupied homes. As of May 4th, occupied homes were able to be shown as long as the seller is not present (from mid March until May 3rd, only vacant properties could be shown).
This has made it far easier on home sellers, who were sometimes moving out just so that their homes could be seen by buyers and their real estate agent. (That still may not be a bad idea to move out to sell, but at least you will soon have the practical option to continue living at home while selling.) The market began heating up in May and became hot in June and July. Homes in Santa Clara County are selling about as fast as they are coming on the market – as long as there is space. It’s harder for condos, and harder still for very small condos with no outside space.
There are other, additional restrictions which will stay in place for showings, but I do not think that they will really hurt sellers. For instance:
Only two home buyers (or one buyer plus a friend or family member) may see the property with one agent.
Whatever can be done to help make the home better known from video, photos, and floor plans will be a huge help to unsure home buyers, or their close relatives, who may be weighing in on the decision to buy or skip a given home.
Open houses and broker opens are not allowed in the traditional way.
Prior to visiting the home, everyone going inside must sign a PEAD-V form, which the buyers’ agent must email to the listing agent.
Some listing agents of occupied homes are restricting showings further, requiring a pre-approval letter for buyers who will get a loan, or even requiring proof of funds for cash buyers. (I don’t recommend the latter and have had my own buyers refuse to see homes when their bank statements were demanded just to look at the property.)
In terms of the family and friends, who often help to confirm the home selection, having a video walk through, a floor plan, and extra photos (even of things not normally shown) can be a huge help.
In lieu of open houses, some agents are now doing virtual, live tours for both the Realtor and home buying community. That entails the listing agent being at the property and doing a walk through as others ask to see particular features. For instance, a buyer might ask if the kitchen cabinet corners are dead space or if they have lazy Susans in them. The listing agent can walk over and check it out live.
What do home sellers need to do differently to sell now?
- Paperwork: Naturally, there is additional paperwork to sign. For home sellers, there’s an addendum to the listing paperwork (LISTING AGREEMENT CORONAVIRUS ADDENDUM OR AMENDMENT ) which gives permission for your home to be shown. There’s also a document (the PEAD form, CORONAVIRUS PROPERTY ENTRY ADVISORY AND DECLARATION ) for buyers, home inspectors, photographers, or other visitors to sign before visiting any properties for sale which underscores for them that they are increasing their risk by entering homes during the pandemic. Additionally, there’s an addendum to the purchase contract for unforeseen delays due to the pandemic (NOTICE OF UNFORESEEN CORONAVIRUS CIRCUMSTANCES). These are all documents to review with your real estate agent.
- Stay away as much as possible: If you plan to be selling your Silicon Valley home during this pandemic, for your safety you’ll want to stay away from the house or condo as much as possible.You may want to consider moving out if possible since having the home buying public visit your home will increase the risk of transmission. If it is not possible, it would be wise to not just leave during showings, but stay out awhile longer. Better still, take a 1 week vacation when the property comes on the market so most of the showings will happen when you are gone.
- Extra everything: Home buyers are supposed to see homes in person as kind of a last resort. The more that they can view and investigate the property upfront, the better. Sellers are already in the habit of providing upfront inspections and disclosures, and the agents usually provide professional photography. But more is better now – additional images (even of things not normally shown, like the side yards), videos, floor plans, and documentation. A thorough battery of inspections is even more important than usual.
- Fix what may need fixing: buyers are wary of having repair people working on the home after they move in. If something needs fixing, discuss with your listing agent the pros and cons of doing it upfront. In my experience, whatever makes buyers more confident is key right now.
- Disinfect: the buyer’s agents are supposed to disinfect, but don’t count on it. For your own health and safety, please disinfect doorknobs, surfaces, and commonly touched items to protect yourself.
The coronavirus impact on real estate sales has been huge. We do not know if there will be a “second wave” in the fall. If it follows the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 – 1920 there could be three waves. I truly hope not. But in the event that there are multiple waves of intensity, there could be future lockdowns with more restrictive home selling rules. All that to say that this topic is a moving target. We hope for the best but try to plan for the worst.
Selling your Silicon Valley home in more normal times
What about normal home selling? What if you’re not going to put your home on the market until 2022, when things should finally be normal, we hope? Here are some of the more typical, ordinary home selling questions that property owners may be mulling over
- What do you need to do to prepare your San Jose area home for sale?
- What inspections will you need to have before selling your home?
- How important is staging the home? Do I have to move out to get top dollar for my property?
- What will it cost to get the home ready to sell?
- What happens “in escrow”?
- Who pays for what in Santa Clara County?
Particularly if you haven’t bought or sold a home in Santa Clara County (or nearby areas) in recent years, there are many unknowns to the whole home selling process. Some Santa Clara County home sellers will be content to hire an agent and be guided through the process. Others, though, would like details on what to expect when selling a home upfront, before they talk with an agent or are asked to sign paperwork.
I do offer a 1 hour, no obligation, free consultation. If you would like to talk by phone or otherwise, please reach out to me and we can set up an appointment to go over your most important questions.
If you are one who’d like to get a head start by reading up on selling homes in the Los Gatos, Saratoga, and San Jose areas ahead of time, I have several resources for you, including a book I’ve co-authored with you in mind. Or google your question with Pope-Handy and you’ll probably find something I’ve written on the topic. Below are some links to get you started.
Online Home Seller Resources – articles by Mary on this & other sites
Would you like to see homes for sale in your area of Santa Clara County? This provides more detailed info on Silicon Valley properties, including lots and lands, commercial real estate, residential real estate, some rentals, and more:
View Silicon Valley homes for sale by map (no registration).
What Is My Silicon Valley Home Worth
in Today’s Market?
Perhaps the biggest question is this: “what’s my home worth“? Even if you aren’t thinking of selling just yet, but would like an estimate of what your Silicon Valley real estate is worth in today’s market, I can help with that. Ask for a ballpark valuation online to get a “sight unseen” range. The more details you provide, the more accurate my information will be. Also, you can see what’s listed, sale pending and sold near any address in Santa Clara County on the property analysis tab of my REReport. Please note that it loads slowly, so be patient! It’s worth the wait as you will get photos and great descriptions as well as a map showing all relevant properties. It does this automatically – immediately see listings, pending sales, and solds from the last year in your immediate neighborhood or around any Santa Clara County address you input.
If you would like the most precise valuation for your San Jose, Saratoga, or Los Gatos area home, please call or email me for an appointment. I will visit your home, take notes, and get back to you with a probable buyer’s valuewithin a short period of time.
What about real estate market statistics for Silicon Valley?
If you’d like to see monthly, quarterly or annual reports on closed sales for condos, townhomes and houses in San Jose, Campbell, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, and all over Santa Clara County, please visit my online Silicon Valley Real Estate Report, which is updated each month somewhere between the 5th and 8th for all of the county, by cities/town, and major areas of the city of San Jose.
Additionally, you can view my printable, 4 page report on the state of the current market by clicking on the following link: http://rereport.com/scc/print/Mary.PopeHandySCC.pdf
For in-depth real estate market commentary on many areas of Santa Clara County, please visit my blogs, where I focus on Los Gatos, Almaden Valley, Cambrian Park, Campbell, Willow Glen, Monte Sereno and Saratoga but include many other areas as well (mostly those in the “west valley”) atwww.ValleyOfHeartsDelight.com/blog.