Do you love scrolling through Zillow? I do! I love looking at homes to dream, get ideas on how to style my home, or just to see if I can figure out what my current home may be worth. While Zillow is a great way to pass the time and to see the homes that are now on the market, it really isn’t the most accurate representation of the real estate market.
For serious home sellers – who will likely also be home buyers – nothing can replace working with a real live agent in your area. There are many benefits to working with a real estate agent in Richmond when selling your home. Here are a few:
1. Zillow Zestimates Only Go So Far
About two years ago my husband and I started planning to put our home on the market and we did what most people do: we downloaded the Zillow app, typed in our neighborhood, and looked at all of the homes for sale around us to see what we could expect to get for our home. Fortunately, I have several great friends who are Realtors® and we picked one to come over and review our home. What she said our home was worth was completely shocking… our home was valued around $30,000 OVER the Zestimate. What made the difference? Well, there were several factors.
Zillow couldn’t see our home improvements. We had a 1978 ranch home and we had completed several updates including new windows, new countertops, laminate flooring throughout, resurfaced bathtubs and showers, new landscaping, and other aesthetic upgrades. According to Zillow, this is how they get their Zestimate:
“Home details like square footage, location and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
On-market data such as listing price, description, comparable homes in the area and days on the market.
Off-market data such as tax assessments, prior sales and other publicly available records
Market trends, such as seasonal changes in demand.”
They have the facts from documentation but not the real life details that a hands on real estate agent sees. They could be comparing a home that was updated 15 years ago to your home which was remodeled within the last six months. Furthermore, Zillow doesn’t know the real value of what each neighborhood is really like. For example, my home was in a well-kept area that had a low crime rate. Just across a main road and about a mile away was a lower end area with shabby homes, more crime, and a school with lower testing scores. Zillow saw that we were just a mile apart. Any local real estate agent would know that one side of the main street was vastly different than the other even though it was a short distance away.
2. Prepping Your House for Sale
This market has felt like a rollercoaster over the past few years. When COVID hit we were at a standstill, then in 2021 homes were in such high demand that they went well over asking price, then interest rates skyrocketed and the market cooled again, and now….??? When demand was high, home sellers could forego spending time and money on upgrades such as painting, landscaping, and flooring. At the end of 2022 when the market leveled, home sellers had to compete with more homes on the market and stand out to buyers with moderate upgrades. One of the benefits of working with a real estate agent in Richmond is that they know your market and they know what buyers expect. Is a full kitchen renovation needed and will you get your money back? Probably not. Would it be worth it to just paint the cabinets from oak to white? That may appeal to a broader audience to get you more bids and a higher price. A local Realtor® will guide you on where to invest your dollars and where you can save them.
3. The Price is Right
Obviously pricing your house right is one of the most critical parts of selling your home. A real estate agent in Richmond, CA will know the area and how much to price your home at. Too high and buyers will move on by and think they can get a better deal elsewhere. This means that your home will be on the market longer, you’ll have to take a price reduction, and who knows what the market will do in the months of waiting and how this will impact buying your next home.. Too low and you’re leaving money on the table (and no one wants to leave money behind!). The right price can get qualified buyers through the door, multiple offers submitted (but remember, you only need one really good one!), and closing within a reasonable amount of time.
4. Local Market Updates
If you watch the national news, then you’ve heard a lot about the housing market lately. From mortgage rates to the high cost of rent, real estate is a constant topic of discussion. However, we know that living in the San Francisco Bay Area is a different animal than the rest of the nation. We have people renting closets in San Francisco as apartments, business people commuting an hour plus each way to work, and families who are looking into multigenerational housing because the price of homeownership is so expensive. A real estate agent in Richmond knows the local market down to the neighborhood. They’ll listen to your wishlist and the things you won’t compromise, and give you options for you to choose from based on their experience. Maybe you want a bigger home and you’re willing to commute. You may have to move a little farther out. Or maybe you want to be closer to San Francisco and all that the City has to offer. You’ll get less square footage but you’ll be in a hot spot. Only a local agent can adjust to your unique specifications.
If you’re looking for a great real estate agent in Richmond, CA, call the Rick Fuller Team! Our agents are ready to guide you every step of the way!