Sell for 21.3% over the Zillow Zestimate

In a blog post last week, I highlighted the San Jose Mercury News article about the 17.3% spike in Bay Area home prices in March. That’s an eye-catching number, but it’s important to understand that the increase they cited was from February 2023 to March 2023 – or, month-over-month versus year-over-year.
The fact that prices rose so much in a single month is really only interesting in that it was the first month since April of 2022 that we have seen any month-over-month price increases in the Bay Area. However, year-over-year, prices were down in the Bay Area on average between 8 and 14%. And then there’s Santa Cruz, which was down a jaw-dropping 25% year-over-year in March.
The final numbers for April aren’t in yet, but I expect that they will likewise show a notable decrease in prices year-over-year in every county in the Bay Area.
And that’s what makes what I’m about to tell you so interesting…to me, anyway, and I hope it piques your curiosity as well.

Earlier this week, I helped my clients close the sale of their home in Fremont, which they had owned for 22 years. They had intended to put it on the market in spring of 2022, then summer, then fall, then at the beginning of this year…

Anyone who has ever thought about selling a home has probably seen this same pattern: you get the idea to sell, you want to sell, but life gets in the way, and you push the sale off, probably more than once.

Imagine though watching the spring market of 2022 explode and then deflate in spectacular fashion – it was clear to see, month after month, that prices were dropping. That precious equity you’d spent years building up suddenly seeming to melt away.

My clients though still had considerable equity in their home, and they had better plans for that money. Despite the headlines news about a soft market and evaporating home values, they pressed on with the sale.

Everyone wants to know…

They’d kept the home up over the years. It had a good roof on it, dual pane windows, no deferred maintenance, and had been built to last in the late 1950s. It didn’t need much work. They painted the interior, refinished the floors, spruced up the landscaping, swapped out the kitchen counters…and cleaned, and scrubbed, and made their home shine.

When it hit the market, it was pristine, fresh, and move-in ready. It was a quality home, ready for its next owner.

But it lacked some of the modern amenities homebuyers favor today. The whole house was only 1,148sf – it had three bedrooms, and two bathrooms, but none were what you’d call large. The kitchen had oak cabinets from the 1980s (clean and freshly oiled), but lacked a dishwasher. The washer and dryer hookups were in the garage – but there was no interior access from the house into the garage.

The home also had a beautiful, good-size swimming pool, taking up about half of the back yard…which sounds nice, except that most buyers in that neighborhood today don’t want pools.

And it was perhaps a bit closer to Highway 880 than some buyers would prefer, with road noise audible from the yard (although it was quiet inside).

Sell your home in a weekend

Make no mistake: it was a solid home in great shape, but not one that checked every box for every buyer. Yet even so, demand for the property was absolutely off the hook. Offers came in almost immediately. The open houses were a mob scene. Bidding was intense, with the seller negotiating from an incredibly strong position – dictating the terms that were most favorable to them, and extracting a sale price that was almost unbelievable.

The home went into contract after just four days on market; it closed escrow 17 days later. Zillow had pegged the property as being worth $1,154,000. The sellers had it appraised in April of 2022 – when the market was at its peak – at $1,350,000.

It closed escrow at an even $1,400,000 – 21.3% above the Zestimate, and 3.7% over the value it had appraised at a year ago, at the dizzying heights of the insane market of 2022.

It almost sounds too good to be true! But it is true, every word of it, although it runs counter to the narrative peddled by the media that the Federal Reserve has decimated the real estate market.

The truth is this: inventory is still near historic lows. Demand significantly exceeds supply. With judicious and careful preparation, a strategic pricing strategy, savvy negotiation, and help from the right real estate professional…anyone can have very similar results in this, or any other, real estate market.

If you’re worried you won’t be able to sell your home at an amazing price and with very favorable terms, give me a call. I’d be happy to discuss how I can help you sell your home quickly and easily, with similarly incredible results.

Time to talk to a REALTOR?

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About the Author
Seb Frey helps long-time Bay Area homeowners make their next move easily the next one yet. If you're looking for a minimum of hassle, maximum net cash on sale, and certain results, contact Seb today.