Your Ultimate Guide: Factors to Consider When Selling a Home in San Francisco

Q: We own a home in San Francisco and are considering selling it. What are the most important factors to consider as we make our decision to sell?

A: This question is about control. Who controls what in real estate? There are many factors, both global and local, that will affect your results when it is time to sell your San Francisco home, whether it’s a Bernal Heights single family house or a Mission Dolores condominium.

Here is our Cheat Sheet to the 6 most important components that will affect your results (both sales price and time on the market) when it comes time to sell your home. I hope you find it helpful. Buzz us if you have questions!

Who controls what in a San Francisco home sale?
Who controls what in a San Francisco home sale?
  • Location, as in where your property is located.

    • Are you on a quiet block or a loud thoroughfare? Are you convenient to public transit and local restaurants & shops? Or, must you drive everywhere? Do you have a view or a pleasant outlook? Or, do you look out onto a parking lot or into another unit? You can the drift.
    • This item is FIXED. Neither you, nor I, can control the location of your property. It is where it is.
  • Financing, as in what financing will be available for the home buyer.

    • Depending on the economy, interest rates may be high, low, or in-between. Financing guidelines may be loose or strict. It may be very hard for a home buyer to qualify for a home loan or it could be easy. How much down payment will be required of the buyer? Is the property a single family home, a condo, or a TIC?
    • There are many issues to consider. While we are not mortgage specialists, we make it a point to stay current on financing conditions. We want to know what types of home loans are available and what it takes to qualify.
    • Current financing options has a direct impact on your home sale but, you guessed it, this item is also FIXED.
  • Property Condition, as in what shape is your home in?

    • A real estate professional will advise you on the condition of your property. We take the time to help our home seller clients decide what is important and what would be a waste of money when it comes to fixing up your property for sale. Generally speaking, you want your home to show as well as possible because it will mean that you will sell your property for more money in less time.
      • Some combination of cosmetic repairs, wood floor refinishing, painting, garden clean-up, and staging (both clearing clutter and furniture staging) are often on the to-do list.
    • The property’s condition is controlled by THE SELLER and property owner. We’ll give you our best advice based on what works in the marketplace to drive up the sales price but, ultimately, it is your home and your decision.
  • Market Exposure, as in getting the right offer to the right people at the right time.

    • Real estate marketing is about targeted exposure. What’s most important about marketing a home for sale is promoting your home’s listing to serious, qualified home buyers and the local San Francisco real estate agents who work with them. Although we do want some degree of broad exposure because we don’t know who will be that right buyer, we want to pin-point our efforts to create buzz amongst the folks who are most likely to buy and qualified to make the purchase at a price that will be acceptable to you as the seller. Marketing a home for sale in San Francisco is an art and will be specific depending on location, say Noe Valley real estate or Pacific Heights.
    • Aha, finally, something controlled by yours truly! Yes, in real estate, proper marketing and exposure is controlled by THE AGENT.
  • List Price

    • Choosing a correct list price from the start of marketing a home is crucial and will have a direct impact on your net proceeds or walk-away money. Correct pricing requires your real estate consultant to have savvy market knowledge. We will consider relevant properties (your home’s competition) and how many real buyers exist for a type of home like yours. We also want to consider the other items on this list: location, financing, condition, and exposure. How much home preparation and staging you agree plays an important role in choosing a list price.
    • Alas, as much as I wish I could say that the agent controls the list price, it is actually controlled by THE SELLER. We’ll do our best to help you choose a smart list price, but it is your house and your decision.
    • CAUTION: Please do not choose your agent based on the list price they promise you. This is called “buying the listing” and is a totally ineffective way to sell your home. Typically, the agent who promises you the moon is, as fellow Texan Laurie Moore-Moore would say, “All hat and no cattle.” This leads me to the final factor affecting your San Francisco real estate sale….
  • Final Sales Price

    • Real estate is a capitalist market and is governed by the Law of Supply and Demand. Ergo, the final sales price is controlled by the Market. The Market speaks through THE BUYER and it is THE BUYER who controls the sales price of your home. Of course, there is a lot that a trained real estate professional and a cooperative home seller can do to positively affect the sales price (and your net proceeds which is more important) but we don’t control it.
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