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11 Steps to Selling Your Home Successfully in San Francisco- Step 2: Get Your Property Evaluated, Then Do It Again!

dollars-small.jpgSo, you’ve read Step 1 to Selling Your SF Home, and you’ve defined your needs. Now it’s time to figure out what your home might be worth!
There’s lots of ways to go about this. First, start with something like’s Zestimate. Keep in mind that this is a VERY rough idea of how much your home will cost. Yahoo has a similar feature which I used to look up a home in Golden Gate Heights. Yahoo’s estimate came back between $264,902 (for a HOUSE in the City with over 3,000 sq feet of living space) to $1,935,128 (for that SAME house!) I think these sites are a great place to start, but as you can probably see from the ridiculous range of values these sites provide, you NEED to get a professional opinion, or two, or three.
So… how DO you get a professional evaluation of your home? Start by asking friends, neighbors and relatives that have had good experience with a REALTOR® for a referral. Hopefully, you can get one or two solid names. Next, search the internet, read Yelp Reviews (could I help but put in a shameless plug somewhere in this post?), and call around to the real estate agencies in San Francisco that ring a bell. (Zephyr, Zephyr and Zephyr?) 🙂 Open houses are also another safe and non-threatening way to meet an agent.
An agent will come to your property, take a look at it, and then return with an in-depth market analysis of your home showing comparable properties to yours. This report should have a range of value for your property. (Just an aside, if an agent shows up at your home and gives you a value off the top of their head without giving you an in-depth evaluation, they are short-changing you. You can just about throw their evaluation out the window!)
You want about three evaluations of property to get a really good feel for its true value. Do NOT assume that the highest priced evaluation is the best price. In fact, oftentimes, agents give you a ridiculously high evaluation of your property (and promise the moon and stars) just to get you to list your property with them. Then, weeks after your property is on the market without a single offer, you start wondering why every property on the market except for yours isn’t selling.
What they say in real estate about “location, location, location” is true to a degree. But what’s even MORE important is “price, price, price!” If you don’t price your property right, it will not sell!!!
So why three evaluations? A couple of reasons, really.
First, you want to get a range of what your property is worth. No REALTOR®, no matter how good, can tell you what your home will sell for to the exact dollar. But the agent evaluating your property, should, in theory, have an idea of the market value of your home. If you get three values (or so), you should have a ballpark value of what your property may sell for. This is by no means exact. The REALTOR® can’t set the actual sale price, only the buyers in the market can! But a good REALTOR® should be able to interpret current market conditions and evaluate comparable properties to let you know how much moolah you may expect to get for your home.
Second, you are not just getting an evaluation of your home’s market value! You are also preparing for Step 3 to Sell Your Home Successfully in San Francisco: Choosing YOUR Agent.
So stay tuned to read about what questions you should be asking the REALTORS® that provide you with a market evaluation of your home. Choosing your agent may be the most important step you take during the home selling process, and you want to be sure you do it right!