Jamie has a talent for preparing a property, a knack for connecting people and a work ethic that just won’t quit.   Expect great results.

– Ruth and Martin Wilson

How I Work with Sellers

I don’t arrive at our first meeting with a fixed recipe for the sale of your home. The strategy we will choose will depend on your personal situation, your home, and your preferences for timing.

If you are selling you are already in transition. Coupling the emotional ties, the anticipation of a new future, and the sheer hard work of moving, the stress can sneak up on you. I remain aware of this, on the lookout for ways to make it easier for you.

I could hang a sign, pack your house with potential buyers and strive for multiple offers, or I could sell it privately, off-market, by appointment only. Together we will devise a strategy that achieves your goal, yet will not overstress you physically, emotionally or time-wise.

I will be direct, energetically involved and in constant communication. I will have other clients concurrently but I want you to feel that you are my only one.

General timeline

Phase One – Getting started

  • We sit down for a relaxed conversation about your objectives, the process, the correct expectations, timing
  • We walk your property inside and out, and discuss improvements/repairs/market-readiness
  • We review the paperwork that allows me to begin working on your house
  • We discuss inspection options
  • I learn about your financial needs and we have an initial discussion about the market

Phase Two – Price, Inspections and Repairs

  • We review market research and decide on a price range, to be fine tuned later
  • We select inspections – I will arrange and attend the inspections
  • We get started on city resale clearance and pest inspection
  • We review estimates and select a stager, make the installation appointment
  • We obtain estimates and select contractors – I organize the work schedule
  • We prepare disclosure documents

Phase Three – Preparation

  • Repair work is complete, City Resale and Pest clearances obtained
  • You remove extra furniture and extraneous possessions
  • Thorough cleaning including window washing
  • Staging is completed
  • Professional photography is completed
  • Offsite, I prepare MLS information, flyers, etc.

Phase Four – On Market!

  • Agent tours (Coldwell Banker and the Yolo Assn. of Realtors)
  • Private showings
  • Open houses, if preferred
  • Local advertising
  • Ubiquitous internet/Facebook presence

Phase Five – Offer Review

  • We review offer(s)
  • There may be one or two counter offers
  • The public status for future interested parties shows “pending”

Phase Five – Buyer Inspections, Request for Repair, Move Preparation

  • The buyer may have as many inspections as he/she wishes
  • They may submit a request for repair – this is a second negotiation that could result in a credit to the buyer at closing, or last minute repairs
  • Inspection, Loan and Appraisal contingencies are removed by the buyer and the deposit is increased, if appropriate
  • You finalize your moving plans

Phase Six – Signing, Leaving Home for Good

  • You will need to submit loan payoff information to the title company
  • Bring your driver license or passport to signing, expect 30 minutes to sign
  • The title officer will transfer the pay off the loan and transfer city services out of your name
  • You will contact PGE, your insurance provider and your bank to stop all future service/payments for the home
  • We arrange for staging removal and final cleaning
  • Say good-bye and hand over the keys! Your check will be in your account within 24 hours of closing

Pricing your home

Pricing is an art and science – and one of the most important aspects of our work together. Some sellers are attached to their own idea of price, others want guidance. I will both offer guidance and education, and I will respect your opinion. I may seek the opinions of other leading agents as well. YOU set the price. YOU understand the strategy. I will do my best to produce amazing results.

I will search for similar houses in your neighborhood that have sold lately, and homes that are for sale. I will weigh the unique attributes of your home. This will help you set a comparable price that will get your house shown AND help you obtain a good offer. There are a few things to consider in setting a price for your home:

Think from your buyer’s frame of mind when setting the price for your home.

If you set the price too high your house won’t be picked for viewing, even though it may be much nicer than others in the area, potential buyers won’t even see that because you didn’t make their price-range selection. You may have told your REALTOR to “Bring me any offer because I’ll take less.” But in their list of houses to view, your home simply looks too expensive to be considered and gets skipped altogether. Then when you lower your price you appear desperate to sell. 
A price that is too high results in a lower selling price. This has been proven over and over again.

Buyers may love the house but will not make a lower offer. It is surprising to sellers, but buyers are very resistant to offering lower. They will walk away rather than try. So don’t depend on receiving a “right-sized” offer if you have priced too high.

If you price too low you may short-change yourself. Your home will sell promptly, but before it has time to find the buyer who would have paid more. It’s a delicate balance of supply and demand. I will keep you continually informed on the market nuances.

Low price strategy in a hot market is an effective approach to attract many offers that bid way up. This is a recommended approach IF your house has a style or location that is in high demand, but it is risky if there are downsides to your home.

If you are pondering proper list price, contact me today and I’ll provide you with the following professional services:

  • Comparable sales data: What are similar houses really selling for?
  • Market conditions analysis: What is the supply and how long is it taking for homes to sell?
  • Determination of incentives: paying closing costs, etc.
  • Estimation of your net proceeds: How much money will you make if sold at this price.

Preparing Your House for Sale

What do you have to do to get ready? What if I said, “nothing!”. Truthfully we can sell your house as it is, and we sometimes do this. If your circumstances dictate this, or if you just want peace of mind without too much intrusion, don’t worry, someone will love and want to buy your home – at the right price.

However, you can affect the price and the number of offers if you wish to spiff your house up. This effort includes neutralizing your home, and creating a seductive space that many kinds of buyers can imagine themselves in.

It has been proven many times that a well staged home will generate more and higher offers. The cost is generally between $2000 and $3000. Fortunately we have some excellent stagers to work with.

If you want to transform your home to its ideal market readiness, but don’t have the time, rely on me. I love helping you make choices, then turning those choices into reality. Considerations for transformation include:

  • Can you move out in order to make the house entirely accessible?
  • Professional deep cleaning from top to bottom, including appliances, windows, wood treatment, carpet cleaning, removal of debris
  • Paint the interior and/or exterior of the home
  • Replace stained carpeting
  • Staging of the house interior and/or exterior (I work with several excellent stagers who can be relied upon for their expert opinion and service)
  • Prune, trim, weed and mulch the landscape, replant as needed
  • Power wash the house
  • Add annuals and flower pots
  • Clean gutters and air filters
  • Repair, repaint loose siding or interior and exterior caulking
  • Correct items on the pest and city resale inspection

While the house is on the market, you will want to maintain its fresh look:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered regularly
  • Keep the garage door closed
  • Tend to/ clean the area around the front door (buyers form their initial powerful opinion here while their agent obtains the lockbox key)
  • Have the house regularly cleaned
  • Keep a supply of fluffy white towels to put out in the bathrooms
  • If you are able, keep fresh flowers in the house
  • Empty the garbage often and clean up after pets – remember that scent is one of the compelling factors in the buyers opinion of a home

Marketing Strategy

Now that we have made such a considerable effort to make your house gorgeous, you can sit back while the rest of the world appreciates how it looks. I will be hard at work directing the world your way.

I believe in an intense, multi-faceted debut to attract the maximum number of buyers. Generally my strategy will include, but is not limited to, the following:

Photography: As a huge believer in the power of photographic images, I work with a number of professional photographers and will choose the best for your home. I sometimes like to take my own photos of the telling details and interleave them with the professional photos. I set the photo shoots for the time of day that is most flattering to your home.

Color Brochure/Flyer: I will design or have designed a colorful brochure printed on high quality paper stock – one that conveys the style of your home. I love to hear your ideas about what you would like to see included.

Video: Occasionally I will work with a professional videographer to create a video of your home. I believe one has to be careful to capture the correct feeling, to entertain, to seduce and not to bore the viewer!

MLS Listing Service: I will post your home on the Metrolist. We are allowed up to 25 photographs and a limited number of descriptive words. This listing is an important feed to other sites, and it conveys the details and public information about your home.

Internet: I am a Preferred Agent on the key two Internet sites – Trulia and Zillow. Listings must be entered manually, which I will do. Other sites such as Realtor.com, CB Moves, Coldwell Banker Doug Arnold Real Estate, Movato, etc will also feature your home.

Agent Outreach: As appropriate, I will text, email, call and meet with agents within and outside my office to let them know about your home. I make it my business to maintain good relationships with agent such that they will want to know about your listing.

Local Advertising: There is no other location that would compel me to spend $25,000/year on newspaper advertising. However, in Davis, people read the local paper. Therefore I advertise. Always. In color. With care.

Office announcements: Your home will be preannounced prior to listing to my office and to my team, and announcements will continue presenting your home in its best possible light throughout the duration of the sale.

Agent / Broker tours: Your house will be featured on the Coldwell Banker agent tour (Tuesday morning) and the Yolo Association of Realtor tour (Friday morning). Sometimes I will serve breakfast at the house.

Signage: I install a For Sale sign at your home with a brochure box. I strive to keep it filled with colorful brochures for the public to take home.

Postcards: I produce and deliver postcards to the neighborhood surrounding your property to alert neighbors that there is a home in their neighborhood for sale.

Information Sheet: I often prepare an information sheet containing the basic information about your home. This is used as a reference when discussing your home and will help buyers as they prepare their offer.

Notes from the Seller: When appropriate, a note about the things you love in your house can strongly personalize it and bring the house to life for interested parties.

Invitational Open Houses: This usually is for neighbors, but may include other invitational groups based on the particular aspects of the house.

Public Open Houses: Not everyone loves to have their house open to the public, but if you don’t mind, it is an excellent way to inspire potential buyers to casually consider “their new home” incognito. Or for people to excitedly call their friend who is looking for a home in the area…

Continual Tracking: I carefully track all parties to determine and inform you about the activity around the sale of the house. This is an important factor if we find we need to make an adjustment to price.

Consideration of the Offer

If we are able to obtain multiple offers you will be in a far stronger position to negotiate. Of course you will consider price is the primary factor in your offer, but other aspects can be equally important during the course of the transaction. Together we will weigh:

  • Net price, including offer price and shared costs
  • Time periods for close of sale, inspections, loan and appraisal
  • Allocation of closing costs
  • Is the offer “as is” or is the buyer likely to want to request repairs?
  • Cash to loan ratio – a loan of less than 80% is desirable, or of course, cash!
  • Buyers story – where are they coming from? Why? Are they in love with the house or just phishing?
  • Ability of their lender to perform – local lenders are best, internet only, the worst
  • Deposit – how much cash will they put down initially? In Davis the norm is 3%
  • I like to find out as much as I can about the buyer and about their agent, so we can be alert to any issues that we should address up front

A Note about Appraisals

Most people do not understand the role that appraisals play in the sale. A neutral third party, not by the buyer or the lender, selects the appraiser. It is always subject to change but most lenders will lend 80% of the appraised price, so it is very important that your home appraises if the buyer is depending on a conventional loan.

Appraisals are formulaic and meant to be objective. However, there is a wide range of variation in appraisals, resulting from the appraisers opinion of comparable properties. For this reason, I will meet the appraiser and if he/she is open to it, I will present the comps we used to ascertain value of your home.

In the course of business I treat it as imperative to answer appraisers random calls and questions. I strive to have great relationships with appraisers – you never know, it may make the difference in their willingness to discuss your property when the time comes – it has made a difference before now.

Your Costs & Net Proceeds

The division of fees varies by locale. In Davis, the conventions are as follows.

The buyer pays for:

  • Lender’s Title Insurance
  • 50% of Borrowers Title Insurance
  • 50% of the Escrow fee
  • Notary fees, courier fees
  • Home warranty, maybe
  • All inspection fees except City of Davis Resale and Pest Inspection/Clearance
  • Home insurance for the first year
  • New Loan charges, appraisal
  • Interest on the new loan from the date of closing to the first payment

The seller pays for:

  • Real estate commission
  • Transfer Tax ($1.10 per $1,000)
  • 50% of the Borrowers Title Insurance
  • 50% of the Escrow fee
  • Notary fees, courier fees
  • Home warranty, maybe
  • City Resale Clearance
  • Pest Clearance
  • Homeowner association transfer
  • Repairs
  • Matters of record against the seller (liens, taxes, etc.)
  • Taxes are prorated until the day of close

Seller’s Estimated Statement Example:

Agreed Sales Price: $700,000
Commission 6%: (42,000)
Transfer tax: (770)
Borrowers Title Insurance (50%): (960)
Escrow Fee (50%): (720)
Recording, notary, courier: (260)
City Resale Inspection: (375)
Pest Inspections: (220)
Repairs: (2,000)

Proceeds before loan payoff: $652,695

The Life of the Escrow

“Escrow” refers to both a period of time (for example 30 days) and a place. A neutral third party, the officer at the title company, creates or opens the escrow. The title officer holds monies, researches the property and documents, follows written instructions for how to transfer the property, and when all of the requirements have been met, instructs the county to record the transfer to the new owner. And finally they distribute the money to the sellers.

During the life of an escrow, all parties to the transaction will take required actions, such as:

The buyer will:

  • Submit a written offer to purchase
  • Deliver the initial deposit to the title company
  • Deliver the increased deposit, if contracted
  • Fulfill contractual contingencies – apply for the loan, authorize the appraisal and inspect the property
  • Read and approve the preliminary title report
  • Review and sign loan documents and other instruments required to complete the transaction
  • Deposit funds in escrow to pay the remaining down payment and closing costs

The Lender will:

  • Review and approve the executed loan package
  • Coordinate loan funding with the escrow officer
  • Review the property appraisal, credit report, verification of employment, verification of deposit, etc.
  • Submit the completed package to the loan review committee or underwriters
  • Inform Buyer of loan approval terms, expiration dates and estimate of closing costs
  • Deposit the new loan documents with the escrow officer for approval and signature
  • Obtain final loan approval

The seller will:

  • Submit loan payoff information to the Escrow Officer
  • Sign the transfer documents as required in the presence of a notary
  • Instruct Escrow Officer how to distribute proceeds from the sale
  • The Escrow Officer will:
  • Receive the order from the agent
  • Order the title search and examination of
  • Act as a fiduciary for all monies involved in the transaction
  • Review documents received in escrow
  • Act according to instructions presented by buyer, seller and lender
  • Oversee recording of property to new owner
  • Disperse proceeds

The Escrow Officer will:

  • Receive the order from the agent
  • Order the title search and examination of
  • Act as a fiduciary for all monies involved in the transaction
  • Review documents received in escrow
  • Act according to instructions presented by buyer, seller and lender
  • Oversee recording of property to new owner
  • Disperse proceeds

If you feel completely overwhelmed by the information provided here, pick up the phone and call me. Let’s make it simple.