The key to getting the optimum price for your home is a thorough market analysis conducted by a real estate professional with detailed knowledge of the community and neighborhood. Ultimately, the price must reflect what real estate agents, potential buyers and the overall market conditions agree are current market values. Things such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage of the home and its lot, and property sales and failed sales in the neighborhood all come into play. Qualitative elements — such as finishes, floorplan and landscaping — must also be considered. Since there is no exact formula, each property must be evaluated independently and priced according to actual market conditions and trends.
Objectivity in pricing is extremely important. That is why a professional or professional team such as John and Tammy Fredrickson should be consulted in order to eliminate the subjective, emotional pricing you — understandably as the home’s owner — believe your property is worth. Pricing in excess of the realistic market value will result in your home being ignored by agents and buyers.
Keep in mind that a home that sells quickly does not necessarily reflect that it was priced too low. It probably means that its pricing was accurate according to local market values and was made possible through the market analysis and negotiation skills of your real estate professional.
In fact, under-pricing actually can be a savvy agent’s marketing tool employed in order to generate buyer interest and stimulate multiple offers to assure the highest price.
The marketing of your property must begin with maximizing its “face.” In other words, cosmetic upgrades and attention to detail are extremely important. Those things include cleaning, painting and landscaping, as well as staging, either with your own or designer furniture and accessories. Hiring a professional staging company can actually generate at least a double return on its investment and shorten the time necessary to sell the home.
Equally as important is the presentation of your home via engaging marketing materials such as a professionally-written description, professional photographs and perhaps even the home’s own web page showcasing high-resolution photos, an expanded home biography prepared by a home historian, and a professional video tour.
Effective marketing is the result of several factors and is reliant on the expertise and experience of your real estate professional. Among today’s key marketing tools are the internet and well-planned open houses for agents and buyers. Highly visible, engaging, search engine-friendly websites and diligent agent follow-up with potential buyers and their agents are vital. In other words, it is not just which marketing tools are used, but also how they are used in combination with thorough follow-up by your agents.
Of course, the process of selling your home will be disruptive. On the other hand, the process of cleaning, sorting, tossing and storing will most likely be liberating and is a major step toward reaching your goal.
The short answer is, “No!” Think of it as forming a partnership. Your goal and that of your agents is selling your property for the optimum price according to your needs and goals. If the market is not reacting positively, or if your needs and goals change, you and your agents can come to a favorable mutual decision about the partnership and moving forward. You are the client. From the signing of the contract, through the close of escrow and beyond, John and Tammy are there for you.
Before purchasing a property, consider the market indicators. Have there been several quarters of dropping prices? Have there been few sales? Have homes been sitting on the market for a long time? Then, perhaps waiting to purchase is a wise decision. On the other hand, there are ways to “hedge.” First of all, partner with a strong, competent agent who will support you in making value choices in properties, will negotiate aggressively on your behalf and who has an excellent reputation commanding attention and respect from other agents.
Second, purchase only when you are fairly sure you will own the property for at least 5-7 years. If prices drop a bit more, you will be happily living in your own home and will not have to worry about a temporary decline. Down markets typically rebound in 5-7 years. Finally, choose a property that needs improvement such as an updating of the kitchen and bathrooms, minor floorplan changes or more appealing exterior details.
First of all, it is very important to remember that the listed price of a home might not be in line with the property’s actual market value. Some properties are undervalued and some are overvalued. Therefore, our goal is to determine for our clients how much the listing price is under or over market value.
Specific indicators of market value include construction quality, architectural details, neighborhood characteristics and proximity to positive and negative elements that can affect value now and in the future.
Statistical elements must also be reviewed. For example, the number of homes listed for sale and sold, and the chosen home’s qualities relative to the neighborhood. Those qualities might include how the home compares in square footage, lot size and so on. Is it the largest and most beautiful home in the area? Or is it the smallest and in need of repair?
Non-statistical or qualitative considerations include finishes, floorplan, landscaping and, most important, personal appeal to you, the potential buyer.
Personal pricepoint is determined by a combination of factors, including income, debts, amount of down payment available and cash in the bank. It is very important how these factors are presented. Not all lenders use the same criteria in the same way. The #1 mistake we see buyers make is shopping for a lender based solely on the lowest interest rate. On the surface this is not bad, but underwriting criteria must be considered as well. That criteria might end up causing your loan to be denied and your chosen home to be lost. The right lender might be able to underwrite the loan with the best interest rates available given the specific circumstances of the client.
Getting expert professional advice even before you make an offer is one of the best ways to avoid trouble down the road. Contractors and others will often walk through a property to provide advice for a potential buyer. They will generally do a cursory look at no cost, or a more thorough one with payment for their time. You can also do a comprehensive “general building inspection” prior to making an offer. The procedure usually takes 2-4 hours, depending on property size, and costs around $400-800. Usually, this more extensive inspection is done after price has been negotiated and escrow has been opened. There is a customary 10-17 day buyer contingency period for this.
The most important elements to consider and inspect – in order of priority and cost – are the roof, foundation, and chimney, followed by the sewer line to the street, general plumbing and electrical. If there is asbestos in the home, its remediation must be considered as well.
These inspections give the buyer useful and sometimes vital information. Although surprises can still occur, they are rare when comprehensive professional inspections have been done. The longstanding connections John and Tammy have with property inspectors and contractors means that response times and prompt action are the norm rather than the exception.
Begin your search by checking out properties online in your spare time, or by setting aside a few minutes or an hour a day. Websites such as www.sothebyshomes.com, www.themls.com, www.realtor.com, and www.johnfredrickson.com are good places to begin. A good mobile app is Redfin. Tracking your preferences of available properties is efficient and easy. Just go to www.johnfredrickson.com and access our free portal that allows you to enter your personal criteria. You will be notified whenever properties that meet those criteria enter the market. In addition, you can keep track of homes you like and dislike.
It is very important, however, to contact a competent and market knowledgeable agent. At any time, you may contact John and Tammy for their educated input on an individual home or group of properties. They can save you time and effort by evaluating all the pros and cons of the property. John and Tammy are available to meet with you at your convenience.
An actual home value is determined by many facets specific to your home such as finishes, floor plan, architectural style, and the grounds. A straight statistical analysis based on square footage and lot size does every home an injustice.
Immediately north of Pasadena and resting peacefully against a backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains, Altadena is an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County and home to just over 40,000 residents. Its peaceful rural atmosphere has been appreciated since the late 1800’s when several Chicago area millionaires built mansions on what is now the town’s Mariposa Street. These were big names in 19th century America. Scripps, of the publishing empire, and William Kellogg, for example, and Wallace Neff who was the grandson of Andrew McNally and one of California’s most noted architects. In contrast, the area is also home to a sprinkling of ultra-modern residences. Prices for Altadena homes run from $350,000 to around $2 million.
The community is also known for its Christmas Tree Lane, an international attraction since 1920 and a California Historical Landmark on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Resting at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains 13 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, Arcadia began its transition from an agricultural area to a model residential community in the 1920s and ‘30s. By the time the post-World War II period rolled around, it had become an upscale suburb of Pasadena with many of its residents the descendants of prominent California families. Today, the approximately 56,000 residents who call Arcadia home are typically relatively affluent, well-educated and have made their local school system, public safety and other factors such a priority that BusinessWeek named the community the best place to raise children. Reading and math scores in the Arcadia Unified School System are significantly higher than the state average and its high school received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10. Arcadia is home to the Santa Anita Park racetrack and the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The majority of Arcadia homes – from small residences to large estates — were built in the 1950s, with earlier examples from the 1930s still gracing the community. Home prices range form around $400,000 to $2.5 million.
Resting between the San Gabriel Mountains and San Rafael Hills just northwest of Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge is one of the most affluent communities in California. Its population of just over 20,000 enjoys proximity to all of the cultural opportunities and services of nearby Pasadena and Los Angeles while preserving an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication. Adjacency to the Angeles National Forest provides a range of recreational opportunities for nature lovers, while the town’s neighborhoods offer a variety of altitudes of up to about 2400 feet. The actual city limit extends to 3440 feet. Known for its true community feel, its traditional homes, large lots and estates are generally priced from around $800,000 to $4 million.
The location of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, La Canada Flintridge is also home to one of the top public school systems in California and to several highly regarded private schools.
An unincorporated bedroom community of Los Angeles County, La Crescenta, also known as La Crescenta-Montrose, is a collection of areas resting peacefully between the city of Glendale and the Angeles National Forest. It is a 3.4 square-mile area hosting approximately 20,000 residents living in homes built primarily in the 1940s and 50s and ranging in price from $300 to $800,000.
A San Gabriel Valley community with a “Midwestern USA” ambiance and hosting approximately 37,000 residents within its 13.7 square mile area, Monrovia was incorporated in 1887 by the vote of a small group of Prohibitionists. Their first order of business was passing a ban on alcoholic beverages. Twenty miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and 8 miles east of Pasadena, the community hosts a charming town square and quality-constructed homes built mostly in the 1930s and 40s. Prices range from just above $300,000 to $1 million.
Resting against the San Rafael Hills near the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena hosts a population of approximately 137,000. Known as “The City of Roses,” it is the traditional home of the Rose Bowl and annual Tournament of Roses Parade. Pasadena’s attraction does not end there, however. The city enjoys an international reputation for its world-class educational institutions and museums, and is loved by active locals who enjoy its many recreational venues.
Pasadena’s dynamic, thriving business community, a downtown business district that is both clean and safe, excellent schools and myriad cultural activities are among the many reasons why the city is loved by locals. Just ten miles northeast of Los Angeles, it enjoys the advantages of proximity to one of the world’s major business and entertainment centers.
Known for its residential neighborhoods offering fine examples of well-preserved 19th and 20th century architecture in a diversity of styles, many Pasadena homes enjoy a place in the National Register of Historic Places. Prices begin in the $200,000 range and extend to $6 million and more.
Pasadena is also home to world-renowned educational and cultural institutions such as the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Huntington Library and the Norton Simon and Pacific Asia Museums.
“Wistaria City,” as this San Gabriel Foothills town of approximately 11,000 residents is affectionately called, was incorporated as a California city in 1907, although its modern history truly began with the San Gabriel Mountain and Valley resorts of the 1890’s. The community and its citizens have skillfully incorporated modern amenities with traditions of the past including an absence of traffic signals, the only all volunteer fire department remaining in the Los Angeles area, and its namesake wisteria (a.k.a. “wasteria”) vine. Purchased in 1894 for seventy-five cents, the plant eventually crushed the house adjacent to it, now spans two backyards, weighs an estimated 250 tons and enjoys its own annual “Wasteria Festival.”
Homes in Sierra Madre are diverse in their ages, styles and sizes, with prices running from around $500,000 to more than $2 million, although most are in the mid-range. Adjacent to Pasadena at the city’s northeast corner, Sierra Madre residents enjoy Los Angeles and Pasadena culture and conveniences while being within minutes of myriad recreational opportunities.