There’s no time like the present to sell your home in Santa Barbara County. Currently, the market is hotter than it’s ever been, and owners are getting top dollar. Still, putting your home on the market will not guarantee a sale.
Potential sellers should approach the process not only by partnering with the right broker but also with excellent knowledge of the rapidly-paced market. I recently spoke with several of the top agents from Santa Barbara-based Village Properties to get an idea of what sellers need to know when looking for an agent and the buying process as a whole.
Ask For Personal Referrals Before You Google
According to agent David Kim, one of the best ways to find an agent or broker to list your home is to ask people in your sphere of influence, whether they are friends, family, or even business associates.
After narrowing down your choices, the next step is to check reviews. This will give you a better idea of who the potential candidates are and what it is honestly like to work with them. “With so many platforms featuring online reviews, including Yelp, Google and Zillow, this is also a good place to see what other people have to say about an agent,” he says. “You will want to see that your agent has a clear strategy for marketing and listing your home for sale.”
The Santa Barbara Market Is Hyper-Local
Agent team Dianne and Brianna Johnson share that it is critical to find an experienced agent who knows everything about the specific neighborhood where your property is located. By understanding the competition, a top agent can make the listing stand out, getting the attention it deserves. “They can also help to educate buyers and their agents on relevant recent property sales in the neighborhood and the backstory of the sale. An agent who is familiar with the immediate area of your home will know the benefits and intricacies of the neighborhood.”
A broker’s hyper-local knowledge will be beneficial during regular showings and at open houses, where potential buyers may not be educated about the area.
Don’t Skip Hiring A Home-Stager
Although it is a seller’s market, it’s still essential to present your home in the best way possible. That means having your home professionally staged. “We find that most buyers are expecting homes to look almost perfect as a result of high expectations that come from watching the real estate shows on HGTV and other networks,” the Johnsons explain.
While you might be tempted to save money by skipping out on staging, it ultimately puts your property at a disadvantage. The agent duo recommends investing in a great stager whose work can eventually garner a higher sales price. “When a seller is able to stage a home with a professional stager who understands scale, placement and the best looks for the local area market, we see that the homes sell more quickly and at higher prices.”
On the other hand, if professional staging isn’t an option, there are still ways to make a home look more presentable and appealing to buyers. “The goal should be at the very least to declutter the home as much as possible,” Kim says. “Less is more should be the goal.”
Your Agent Should Be An Excellent And Frequent Communicator
Communication is critical during the sales process. According to the Johnsons, if your agent is in constant communication with you, it’s a sign you’re in good hands. “If you feel your broker has listened to your needs and they are communicating with you on a regular basis to keep you updated on the marketing of the property and the response of the marketplace to your home, then you have made a wise broker choice.”
If your agent isn’t answering your calls, texts or emails, you might have made the wrong decision. It may be best to get out of your contract and find a better fit.
Avoid Underpricing Your Home
Kim believes that some brokers opt to underprice a home to start a bidding war. However, he doesn’t think this is the best idea. “Be wary of agents who suggest just listing your home at a low price to encourage a bidding war. This is a lazy approach and will sometimes leave money on the table.”