I obtained my real estate salespersons’ license on February 20, 2003. That means this week marks the end of my first 20 years in the real estate industry. It’s been quite a wild ride, and I think the next 20 are going to every bit as exciting, if not more so.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned quite a bit about buying and selling homes in the Bay Area. In fact, I’ve probably forgotten more about buying and selling real estate than most people will ever know. That’s because I’ve had to block some of it out. 🙂
With all these years under my belt – and after some 400 successfully closed transactions, you may be wondering what keen insights I can share, which you might find valuable.
Now that I think about it, I do! There’s a lot I could say, but I’ll try to keep it short. I’ll probably fail, but I’ll do my best to be brief. I’m going to limit this to just four key insights I think you’ll appreciate.
Insight #1 – for Everyone
The most important thing I’ve come to grips with is that buying or selling Bay Area real estate is very unpredictable. There are just too many variables to ever be sure what exactly is going to happen.
And that’s maddening, because our minds crave certainty. And when we don’t have it, we feel stress and anxiety. That’s why this first key insight is so important to maintaining sanity when buying or selling a home:
Regardless of whether you’re buying or selling, your focus needs to be on doing the right things, at the right time, and the right result will inevitably come about. Even if it’s not what you’d initially been planning on.
In other words, focus on the process, not the result. Be present. Take each step consciously, deliberately, making sure you’re going the right direction. If you do that, you can be sure you’ll end up in the right place.
Insight #2 – for Sellers
When it comes to selling a home in the Bay Area, perhaps the biggest insight I can offer is that the price you get for your home is determined to an enormous extent based on how you sell your home. There really is no one set price for your home. The truth is, your home’s price is genuinely elastic.
It is worth somewhere within a range of values, and the manner and process by which you decide to sell it will determine where on the spectrum of prices it ultimately sells for. That’s both good news and bad news, but you do have much more control over it than you probably believe.
Insight #3 – for Buyers
When it comes to buying a home in the Bay Area, there is one thing that matters more than anything else. It’s something you’ve probably heard a million times before, and that’s because it really is most important. So you probably already know what it is: location.
I tell my buyers over and over again that location is what really matters. But I see many people sacrifice location for lot size and square footage – and that’s OK, because the second most important thing is lot size.
Square footage is important too, but it’s a distant third. That’s because if your lot size allows it, you can always increase the square footage.
Many buyers are seduced by surface-level attributes (like condition, flooring, fixtures and appliances, recency of updates, etc.) – and these are important considerations, to be sure. But these are things which will inevitably wear out over time. And even if they don’t wear out, they can just as quickly go out of style.
And these are also the things which can be changed, relatively easily, over time. And by purchasing a Bay Area property which “needs” these cosmetic improvements, you’re buying a home which has another of my favorite characteristics: upside potential.
Insight #4 – get the right help
This last one is the cherry on top. I began by writing that the process of buying and selling real estate is unpredictable, and that you should really focus on taking the right steps. By keeping your focus on the process, and doing the right things, you will inevitably come to the best result for you.
One of your very first steps should be choosing to work with a seasoned real estate professional. Look, buying or selling real estate can be messy, chaotic, and stressful, with many pitfalls and opportunities for costly mistakes. Having the right REALTOR® on your side from start to finish augers well for a successful and happy real estate transaction.
If you’re looking for such a REALTOR® – your search is over! Please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your plans.