Here’s How to Effectively List & Market Your Home in the “Hot” Season

The most popular time to list your home in the Silicon Valley in 2017 is coming up… on March 31, in fact. And if you want to stand out amongst the crowd and sell your home (without having to drop the price), you’ll need to employ the best home-selling and marketing tips out there. Are you prepared?

To help get your ready to list your home during the busy season, we’ve got some tips to keep you competitive and sell your home quickly—and for more!

Price Your Home to Sell

sold sign on a houseWant to sell your home quickly yet still make the most money on it? Start with the right price. There are a lot of resources out there to help you find that sweet spot, like a neighborhood sold report, which will give you an idea of what other homes in your neighborhood are selling for, or even just searching homes for sale in your neighborhood to see prices at which similar homes are listed.

To really get an accurate read of your home value and the correct price, however, it’s always best to request a full home analysis that will take into account any renovations, improvements, or modifications you’ve made.

Make a Wow-ing First Impression

beautiful new kitchenNothing sells a home like… the home! So make your home stand out from the crowd. Start with home improvements and easy fixes that will clean up, declutter, and showcase your home. Make it look its very best, inside and out. Professional photography will give your home an outstanding online appeal (most buyers are starting their home searches online nowadays), curb appeal will welcome visitors to your front door, and superior staging will make your home’s best features stand out.

Set a Stage to Welcome, Showcase & Impress

Young couple searching for an apartmentStart with the outside and work your way in. Make your home neat, bright, colorful, and welcoming to visitors who drive up to the front of your home. Make sure your yard is neat, your front walkways and driveway are clear and easily-accessible, and everything is in good repair.

Inside, remove your personalized decor, decorations, and photos. Make your home look like anyone’s home—because it could be. Give your buyers the opportunity to imagine their own furniture and decor in your home.

And of course, make sure your home is clean, tidy, and free of clutter.

Too Much Work? Let Us Sell Your Home for You!

beautifully-staged living roomDon’t want to be bothered with pricing, home improvements, staging, or marketing? Let a top Silicon Valley team do it for you! We’ll determine the RIGHT selling price for your home, then stage it to really impress buyers. Our respected name and top-notch marketing gives us the networking and credibility to sell homes in even the most competitive markets. And of course, we’ve got the experience—and the numbers—to back our claims. Contact Gary & Robert today to get a #1 Team of agents working to sell your Silicon Valley home.

Say “Hello” to Warmer Weather: Spring Home Décor Tips for 2017

Nothing says spring quite like a bouquet of fresh flowers sitting on the coffee table and the sun streaming through the windows. Homeowners love any excuse to freshen up their home décor and welcome the new season, and if Pinterest is any indication, people love to bring the latest trends into their living spaces.

Stay on Top of the Trends with Your Spring Home Décor

vase of flowers in a homeFlowers, plants, and cheerful colors are traditional staples of springtime, but 2017 has a few unexpected twists for interior decorating. Looking for inspiration for your own home? Here are just a few home décor ideas to try.

Decorate Your Home with “Greenery”

Pantone’s Color of the Year is a vibrant, nature-inspired hue called “Greenery,” and it’s sure to liven up your living spaces.

Showcase Soft Textures

Velvet, cotton, and plush yarns are textures of choice this year. Bringing these soft, luxurious textures into your home, either with new furniture or decorations, will make you feel even more cozy and comfortable.

Use Navy as an Accent Color

One hot spring home décor idea for 2017 is using navy as an accent color for cabinets, walls, or couches. Rather than black, which can make rooms look small and uninviting, navy enhances your living spaces and creates a modern look.

living room with navy walls and beige floorsGo Neutral with Your Home Décor

Out with the bold, in with the new—muted colors, that is. A popular spring home décor trend that’s on the rise is using neutral colors like white, beige, pale gray, or even a faint pink.

These colors will help you create clean, sophisticated, and welcoming spaces that will impress both you and your guests day after day.

Spring Home Décor Impresses Home Buyers, Too

Since spring is a popular time for selling homes, many homeowners turn to spring home décor trends for home staging and curb appeal ideas.

Are you selling your home this spring? We can help! Contact us for more tips to prepare your home for showings and increase your home’s value. When you’re ready to put your home on the market, just give us a call.

7 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Place of Your Own

Living in an apartment or rental home does have its perks: You can test out different neighborhoods and locations, you have the flexibility to move, and you have access to great amenities like a gym or pool. But there’s a reason that owning a home, rather than renting one, is a highly desired achievement.

Maybe the thought of having your own place has crossed your mind only recently, or maybe you’re regularly saving a chunk of your paycheck for that future down payment. No matter where you are in the process of considering homeownership, here are the unmistakable signs that you’re ready to buy your first home.

new friends hanging out

1. You Want to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Because renters don’t tend to live in one apartment for very long, it can be difficult to meet people who live in your building. But when you buy a home and are more invested in your community, it’s easier to forge lasting friendships.

homeowner customizing his house

2. You Want to Customize Your Space

Many rental communities have limits on what you can customize in your unit. You may be able to paint your walls a different color, but you may not be able to replace the countertops or appliances that come standard in your apartment.

homeowners in a spacious room

3. You Want More Space or Amenities

You daydream about having a home with a large kitchen, dining room, basement, garage, or maybe even a home office or bonus room for your hobbies.

sign pointing to home for sale

4. You Regularly Drive by Your Favorite Neighborhoods

You have a list of at least three communities (or maybe even houses) that you would love to live in when you’re ready to buy a home. You might even attend an open house or two.

two parents and a child

5. You’re Eager to Put Down Roots

A home is more than a financial investment. It’s your own space, a private retreat, and the start of a new chapter in your life. You’ll love being able to make lasting memories with your new neighbors and enjoying all the amenities near your home.

woman scrolling through a laptop

6. You’re Constantly Browsing Home Improvement Sites

Instead of scrolling through social media, you’re scrolling through home decor websites or binge-watching HGTV. You now have dozens of ideas for how you’re going to decorate everything from the bathrooms to the entryway.

home buyers searching for homes

7. You Have Money Saved Up for a Down Payment

A down payment is essential to buying the home of your dreams. But once you see your savings account grow, you know your new home is just within reach.

We Can Help You Buy Your First Home

You have plenty of decisions to make when considering homeownership, but we can help you with all of the details. Let’s talk about your plans, and we can work together to search for homes, make an offer on your favorite property, negotiate the best price, and navigate all the steps to closing. Call us and let’s get started!

This Silicon Valley Neighborhood Makes Redfin’s Hottest Neighborhoods List!

housing market is risingThe housing market is booming—especially around some of the high-growth job cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose. The job markets are growing in these areas, so new residents are flocking. However, because prices directly within the city are also growing, more and more buyers are searching in the smaller, more affordable communities around these areas, says a recent study by Redfin.com. In fact, Redfin predicts this will be the “year of the second-tier city”.

America’s Hottest Neighborhoods of 2017

Redfin calculated its “hottest” neighborhoods by number of neighborhood page views and searches, as well as saved favorites. Unsurprisingly, the hottest neighborhoods of 2017 are not in the major cities of San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose, but around them. Ranked #1 was Bushrod in Oakland, CA. And at #3 was the Silicon Valley’s own Serra of Sunnyvale, CA!

An African American couple walking on a residential street, with a young man holding a folder.  He is a real estate agent, pointing at a house, talking.What’s drawing residents to these areas? Lots of shopping and dining, access to public transportation and major commuter highways, and larger homes with more affordable price tags.

Welcome to Serra in Sunnyvale

Also referred to as “The Dalles”, Serra is located just south of Downtown Sunnyvale along the Junipero Serra Freeway (towards San Jose) and Route 85. Besides a quiet and charming neighborhood of single-family homes, buyers are drawn for the neighborhood’s access to top schools, as well as the amenities and attractions of both Downtown Sunnyvale and nearby Cupertino.

Its home sales numbers are also pretty impressive—such as a median sale price of $1,760,000, an average list time of just 13 days, and a high sale-to-list ratio of 106.8%.

Other Top Neighborhoods in the San Jose Metro Area

Besides Serra of Sunnyvale, local amenities draw residentsthe other top neighborhoods of the Silicon Valley include Sunnyhills in Milpitas (which offers a unique blend of outstanding outdoor recreation, plenty of shopping and dining, and highway access to San Jose or Fremont) and Miramonte-Springer of Mountain View (which is centrally located for access to plenty of shopping and dining, community parks and recreation, and a highway commute to San Jose or San Francisco).

Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home in the Silicon Valley?

In case you hadn’t guessed, the market is hot and the time is now! Learn more about buying or selling a home in the Valley, explore its beautiful communities, or start searching homes for sale today. If you have any questions or you’re ready to get started, just contact Gary & Robert any time.

7 Crucial Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Seller’s Agent

talking with a real estate professionalYour home is likely the largest financial investment you have, so it makes sense to carefully choose the right agent to represent you when you sell it. The best real estate agent will walk you through the whole process, showcase your home in the best light, give you feedback from showings and open houses, and let you know whether you should accept a buyer’s offer up front or negotiate for a higher price.

It’s a good idea to talk to more than one listing agent before you sign on with one. As you’re interview listing agents, ask these questions so you can determine which agent will best help you sell quickly and for the most money possible.

1. What’s Your Real Estate Experience?

A listing agent who has been in real estate for several years or has sold plenty of properties has seen all kinds of scenarios. If this agent has overcome challenging home-selling hurdles before, he or she will know how to avoid or mitigate these stressful situations during your home sale, should they arise.

2. What’s Your Sale-to-List-Price Ratio?

This percentage will tell you if this agent consistently sells homes close to or over the list price, which is the price that’s set when the home goes on market.

3. What are Your Average Days on Market Stats?

In other words, how quickly do sellers’ homes go under contract with this agent? Agents who sell homes quickly often use advanced marketing or advertising techniques and are highly skilled negotiators.

seller texting her real estate agent4. How—And How Often—Will You Contact Me?

How frequently does the agent you’re interviewing provide updates or check in with his or her sellers? The best real estate agent will keep you updated about everything that’s going on with your listing—and contact you over your preferred method of communication, whether it’s email, phone call, or text.

5. When are You Available?

If you contact your listing agent after office hours or on the weekend, is your agent going to get back to you before Monday morning? If you work regular 9-to-5 hours, getting in touch with an agent who also only works those hours might prove difficult or inconvenient.

6. How Do You Plan to Market My Home?

Marketing is key to getting your listing in front of as many buyers as possible, including those searching online for properties, glancing at magazine and newspaper ads, and driving by homes that are for sale. During the interview phase, ask for the specifics of each agent’s marketing plan.

7. Can You Give Me at Least Three References?

Ask the agent you’re interviewing for testimonials from past home sellers—which can include online reviews or video testimonials—or a list of references. Call the agent’s past clients and ask general questions about their experiences to get an idea of the agent’s responsiveness, helpfulness, and tech-savviness.

We’re Available to Answer All of Your Questions

We’d be happy to answer your questions about listing your home, whether they’re these seven essential interview questions or general questions about the home selling process. Just give us a call or shoot us an email.

9 Moments All Home Buyers Experience

You’re armed with your pre-approval letter, your wants and needs list, and your knowledge of the real estate market. Now comes the fun part: searching for homes! Like any part of buying a home, the home search has its ups and downs. But once you’re living in your new home, spending weekends shopping for furniture and décor, and enjoying all the amenities of your new location, you know you wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Here are the moments only home buyers understand.

home buyers searching for homes

1. When You Hit “Search” for the First Time

You put your price range, number of bedrooms, and a couple of must-have features into an online home search tool, then hold your breath while the results page loads. Look at all those listings! Your new home is just a click away!

sign pointing to home for sale

2. When You Make a Day of Driving Through Your Favorite Neighborhoods

You find yourself giving this excuse to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone else who wants to make plans: “Sorry, I’m busy all weekend. I’m going to open houses!”

buyers looking at homes

3. When You Fall in Love with Several Different Homes

You just can’t help it! You’re picturing yourself reading by the window, cooking meals in the kitchen, decorating the bedrooms, exploring the trails nearby, and even running errands to the closest grocery store.

buyer who's stressed out

4. When You Go Overboard on Your Must-See List

Your Realtor warned you not to have a long list of homes. Now that you’ve seen a handful of properties, each new home is starting to look just like the one before it, and trying to keep them all straight is making your head hurt. The home buying struggle is real.

parents stressed out about listings

5. When Your Favorite Home Goes Off the Market

Another buyer scooped up your favorite property before you could even call your real estate agent for a showing, or worse, the home goes off market just before you’re about to make an offer.

attic stuffed with boxes and clutter

6. When You Tour a Home That Clearly Isn’t Ready to Sell

For a second you think you’re in the wrong place. There are fingerprint smudges on the windows, dust bunnies in the corners, clutter in the closets, family photos on the walls, home décor that’s easily 30 years old… Yikes. This looks nothing like the online listing photos you fell in love with!

looking at new listings

7. When a New Listing with All Your Criteria Hits the Market

This property has everything you’ve been searching for, and it just showed up in your inbox! You scramble to schedule a showing, make an offer, and thank your Realtor for signing you up for email alerts.

buyer talking with a Realtor

8. When You Still Don’t Understand Parts of the Closing Process

Even though your agent explained everything that happens after you make an offer, you’re still confused about some things, like the difference between “due diligence fee” and “earnest money.” Due diligence is a courtesy amount of a few hundred dollars you pay the seller to take their home off the market. (You get this money back.) But earnest money, which is a fraction of your down payment, you don’t get back.

new homeowners unpacking

9. When You Finally Move Into Your New Home

All those days spent researching neighborhoods, cancelling plans to go to showings, and taking pages and pages of notes about your favorite properties have paid off. The home is finally yours!

We’ll Help You Find Your New Home

The home buying process has its ups and downs, but we’re here to help you every step of the way. We’ll sign you up for alerts of new listings, coordinate showings, and guide you from your home search to the closing table. Ready to get started? Just give us a call!

Beat the Winter Blues with Colorful Home Décor

The winter holidays and New Year’s have come and gone, and so have all the decorations. With no twinkling lights or festive ornaments brightening up its main living areas, your home can start to look a little bare. Not to worry! Here are a few winter home decorating ideas that can cheer you up and bring back the holiday sparkle. And if you’re planning to sell your home this season, these tips will also help you impress potential buyers with your warm, welcoming home.

seasonal wreath on doorKeep the Wreath on Your Front Door

A splash of color in your entryway can bring a smile to your face even on the gloomiest winter mornings. Add sprigs of holly, frosted pine cones, or a colorful bow to an evergreen wreath and hang it over your door for a fun and festive winter look. (Plus, home buyers pay special attention to your entryway, so a seasonal wreath is key to creating the best first impression.)

Get Cozy Around the Fire

Have a fireplace? Turn it on! Nothing beats a peaceful winter evening reading or sipping coffee by a crackling fire.

Spice Up Your Home

Cinnamon, vanilla, and spruce are cozy wintertime scents that can add a touch of magic to your home. The fragrances from scented candles will complement your winter home décor nicely (and create that special feeling of “home” for potential buyers).

blue and white furnishingsSwap Holiday Colors with Winter Palettes

An effortless way to transition from holiday décor to winter décor is to switch color schemes. These are color combinations HGTV recommends for decorating your living room, dining room, bedroom, and other spaces in your home:

  • Gray, white, silver, and turquoise
  • Red, silver, and white
  • Dark brown, dark purple, and reddish orange
  • Pale green, beige, and copper
  • Navy, beige, and white

Let the Winter Sunshine In

Keeping the curtains closed can make your home look dreary. Brighten up your living spaces with natural light during the daytime, and light a few candles when the sun goes down. Buyers love homes that are cheery, bright, and spacious; opening the windows not only fills your home with light, it also makes your home appear larger.

Keep Winter Blues at Bay When Selling

If you’re planning to sell your home this winter, keep these winter home décor tips in mind. Home buyers want to feel cozy and comfortable in a place they’ll soon call home; a bright and cheery interior will leave the best impression. We’re more than happy to talk with you about selling your home. Contact us if you’d like more staging tips and home selling resources.

The Top Real Estate Resolutions (And How to Keep Them)

Want to visit the gym more? Finally complete the home improvement project you’ve been working on? Save money for that new watch/car/house/vacation? January 1 is the perfect time to jumpstart your goals. If you’re like most people, according to Money Magazine, you probably have “stay fit,” “spend less,” or “enjoy the most out of life” on your list of New Year’s resolutions.

Did a few real estate goals make it on your list, too? You’re not alone. Here are a few of the most popular home-buying or home-selling goals, and a few tips on how to achieve them.

Buy Your First Home

brand new homeownersYou’re ready to take that first step to homeownership in the New Year. You likely already have an area or neighborhood in mind, and you have a few features that you’d like in your new home.

How to keep it: Buying a home is a major project. It may be easier for you to achieve this goal if you set smaller, more manageable goals, such as putting aside money every month for a down payment, reviewing your budget, and researching reputable lenders.

Make Extra Payments on Your Mortgage

If you currently own a home, you might be trying to pay it off quickly, knowing that paying even a fraction of your mortgage ahead of time can cut out a few years (and hundreds of dollars in interest). You might have even taken some time to determine how much you could feasibly pay extra every month.

How to keep it: Don’t feel like you need to make dramatic changes to your monthly payments. Instead, save up just a few dollars a week to put aside toward your mortgage.

Put Your Home on the Market

You’ve decided that 2017 is the year to sell your home. Maybe you’ve started getting rid of household items you no longer need, or maybe you’ve started making a few small home improvements. This is a great first step to achieving your real estate goals.

How to keep it: Forbes shared the secret to keeping New Year’s resolutions, and one of the top tips is to make your goals specific. If you want to sell your home for a high price, for instance, determine what amount you want for your home. Start researching which homes near you have recently sold to get an idea of market conditions and what prices are realistic. Just ask us for a Neighborhood Sold Report or a free home evaluation.

Invest in Your First Property

investing in real estateHave you been thinking about investing in real estate to make extra money? Because this type of investment requires a little more real estate and financial knowledge, you might have already started doing a little research before you begin. Knowing common terms, understanding the basics of investing, and having a good handle on your finances can save you time and effort down the road.

How to keep it: Maintain detailed records of your finances. Do your research. Give yourself a deadline to have your down payment and cash reserves (if you don’t have the cash to buy the property outright). Determine how much money you want to make. Then, set aside the time to meet with a real estate agent to talk about your goals and which properties would be best for you.

We’ll Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Goals

Whether you’re buying or selling a home in 2017, we will do everything we can to help you with your resolutions. You can take the first steps now by viewing the resources available on our website, or you can contact us directly to talk about your plans.

Selling a Silicon Valley Home in 2017? Step-by-Step Instructions to Make it Happen!

Thinking of selling your Silicon Valley home in 2017? home for sale in the silicon valleyThere’s actually quite a bit of planning and preparation involved—if you want to get the greatest possible amount of money for your home. Here are step-by-step instructions to make it happen!

Step 1: Find Your Realtor

One of the most important things you can do when selling a home in the Silicon Valley is to work with a trustworthy and highly experienced Realtor. A Realtor with the right experience and knowledge can offer you invaluable advice throughout the selling process, including home staging, marketing, and negotiation.

When to start: at least 2 months out.

Step 2: Consider Repairs & Improvements

Your Realtor will do a walkthrough of your home and make note of any features, rooms, or areas that require attention. Sometimes, the simplest repairs, minor renovations, and touch-ups can add significant value to your home. Additionally, if you know of any maintenance problems or issues with your home, you will want to fix them well before you start showing your home.beautiful remodeled kitchen in the silicon valley

Some easy ways to improve your home’s value can include painting (inside and outside), replacing old or tarnished hardware in your kitchen, bathroom, and on your doors, improving your landscaping, updating or refinishing flooring, and fixing roofing and siding.

When to start: 6 to 8 weeks out.

Step 3: Determine Your Selling Price

Work with your Realtor to compare your home to homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood to determine a competitive listing price for your home. This will take into account any improvements and repairs that you’ve completed, as well as the state of the local real estate market.

When to start: 6 weeks out.

Step 4: Start Decluttering

One of the biggest improvements you can make for your home is to declutter and depersonalize. This does take time, but it can make your home look larger, cleaner, and more welcoming. Removing personalized decor, furniture, or photos can even help your buyers picture their own personalizations in their potential new home.

When to start: at least 4 weeks out.

Step 5: Deep Clean

As soon as you’ve finished removing the big clutter, it’s time to go in deep and give your house the most thorough cleaning it’s ever had. If you’re not a big fan of cleaning, hire a professional maid service. If you have pets or stained carpet, it might also be beneficial to enlist a professional carpet cleaner.beautifully staged living room

Step 6: Stage & Photograph

Work with your Realtor to stage your home to be welcoming, neat, and organized. Proper staging can be used to highlight your home’s best features, make your rooms appear bigger and brighter, and truly make buyers feel welcome. Additionally, professional photography will paint your home in its best light—and allow buyers to view it from their computers, tablets, and phones.

Step 7: List Your Home Online

It’s time! But don’t just throw your listing online at any old time. Fridays and Saturdays tend to be the busiest online buyer-browsing days, so it can be beneficial to post your listing on a Thursday or Friday morning so it’s ready for the weekend. Additionally, never post an incomplete listing (without professional photos, detailed description, and home statistics), as buyers aren’t likely to click.

Are You Ready to Start the Silicon Valley Home Selling Process?

If you’re thinking of selling your Silicon Valley home in 2017, then it’s time to start now! Contact Gary & Robert today—we’re your Silicon Valley expert Realtors, and we’ll help you sell your home every step along the way, from home staging to marketing and negotiations.

Selling Your Home in 2017? Here are the Latest Market Predictions

notebook with new year's goalsIt’s that time of year: Many homeowners are looking to the New Year and planning their 2017 real estate resolutions (sell the house, move to the suburbs, buy that dream vacation home, etc.).

If you’re planning your own New Year’s real estate resolutions, you might be researching 2017 housing market predictions to figure out when you should sell your home and what tomorrow’s home buyers are searching for. After all, you’ve invested your time and money into your property. Don’t you want to see your hard work pay off?

Here are a few real estate predictions for 2017 that may come into play when you sell your home.

Buyers Want the Best of Both Worlds

If you live in a suburban community that’s surrounded by urban amenities, chances are good that your location will be a selling point for buyers. MarketWatch predicts that buyers want “surban” homes just steps from shops, restaurants, schools, and parks.

These Home Features are “In”

Formal dining rooms and dark kitchen cabinets are out. Open layouts, white kitchens, and first-floor master suites are just a few of the “in” real estate features of 2017, according to Builder Online.

Don’t have any of these features in your current home? Don’t worry. We can help you add value to your home so you can sell for the most money possible (no costly renovations required).

Sustainable and Smart Homes are a Priority

house with smart entertainment systemEven though green homes aren’t a new idea, the trend will likely continue into 2017. Since many buyers are eager to save money on monthly energy bills, energy-efficient home features and “smart” home systems are inching toward the “needs” column on buyers’ wants and needs lists. REALTOR® Magazine’s 2017 design trend predictions include more efficient HVAC systems, low-E window film, and even circadian lighting.

Thinking about making “green” upgrades to your home? We can help you determine which energy-saving features will give you the highest return when you sell.

Determined to Sell Your Home in 2017?

We can help you check “home selling” off your list of New Year’s resolutions. We offer invaluable resources on our website about preparing your home for sale, understanding the current market, and pricing your home. Contact us and we’ll help you get started.