Sell Your Stockton Home by Neutralizing the NuancesTo Sell Your Stockton Home: Go Boring!A Boring Palette Helps Sell Your Stockton Home

It may sound paradoxical, but one proven way to sell your Stockton home is to make it boring…or at least, a little bit more boring.

The principle here stems from buyer psychology—specifically, the difference between a house that would make a great tourist attraction and one whose first impression is more apt to lead to a sale. At first blush, the flashy version might seem to be not only memorable, ­­­but more valuable as well. But that’s not typically true.

A potential buyer can remember your house in two different ways. One memory might be of striking red walls and purple tile that call to mind images from an architectural magazine. That sort of memory will be vivid, but it doesn’t necessarily help to sell your home. A different type of memory could be of a living room that is just the right size for a couch, with a bare spot over the fireplace mantle that would be perfect for…whatever—the specifics will be personal for every potential buyer.

To sell your home, the odds are good that the second impression will sell your Stockton home to more prospects than will the first. The better result is to leave buyers with the mental image of a home they could see themselves living in—rather than one they might admire as a design exhibit.

The difference between these two types of memory is highlighted in an analysis published by Consumer Reports. Their research found that homes painted in neutral colors sell at a premium of up to $5,000 more than similar homes painted in brighter, more distinctive colors. Results came from an analysis of thousands of photographs of homes for sale. Today’s neutrals tend toward greys, taupes, and beiges—but even when fashions change, the underlying wisdom remains. The principal reason these colors help sell a home is that they form unobtrusive backgrounds to buyers’ own imaginations—in other words, “boring” becomes “memorable” when it allows onlookers’ own imaginations to take over. Neutral colors accomplish that by creating a canvas onto which potential buyers can paint their own masterpieces.

First impressions are important for laying the groundwork, but it’s your Stockton real estate agent who makes all the difference when it comes to following through. That’s where I come in. Give me a call!

 

Your Stockton Agent and the Importance of Chitchat! Easy Communication with Your Stockton Broker—It’s Vital! An Often-Overlooked Key to Choosing an Agent!

One of the most important yet seldom discussed factors that should rate near the top of your list of requirements for a Stockton agent is how comfortable you feel in conversation with him or her. What might sound like New Age feel-goodery is actually a crucial ingredient in the buying and selling of Stockton homes.

Selecting a real estate agent is more than a personnel decision—it also becomes a pivotal team-building exercise.

Professional qualifications necessarily come first. In addition to being licensed to carry out the duties and obligations required by the California authorities, the agent you tap should be able to point to a successful track record of accomplishment in Stockton as well as being demonstrably competent in the use of the latest tools in the virtual (as well as actual) real estate marketing arenas. You’ll also be looking for a full-time professional—someone whose response time is measured in hours rather than days.

But added to those professional credentials are some often-overlooked reasons why you should also select a person who is easy to talk to. Whether you are enlisting your Stockton agent to help you buy or sell, success is much more likely to follow when the channels of communications open effortlessly—and stay that way.

If you are looking to sell, the more broadly informed your agent is, the more competent that agent will be when escorting prospects around your property. A stock of amusing and informative anecdotes—the stray bits and pieces that go with living in a place—will only be available to your agent if you’ve been comfortable swapping tales during strolls around the home. Experienced agents know that buyers automatically sense when the agent in charge is a relative stranger to the property—a setup that’s antithetical to having prospective buyers feel they can trust what they are being shown and told.

For buyers, too, free and open communication with your agent is invaluable for tagging all the Stockton homes that should be considered and visited—and those that needn’t be. The best Stockton agents not only have an encyclopedic knowledge of all current Stockton listings—in short order, they also know their client.

Needless to say, I strive to be the Stockton Realtor® who qualifies on all counts. I hope you’ll give me a call to get communications flowing!

“Last Step First” Idea for Landing Stockton Homes for Sale Last Step First Planning Lands Stockton Homes for SaleIn Multiple Offer Scenarios, Last Step First Wins the Day

Particularly when the supply of homes for sale falls well below demand, house hunting can take more determination than usual. Since U.S. residential real estate markets have been long mired in exactly that lean-inventory situation—the accompanying publicity could discourage folks who’d otherwise already be in the hunt for Stockton homes for sale.

While it can take some stick-to-it-ness to locate the ideal Stockton home that’s for sale at a price that fits your budget—the truly frustrating thing would be for your offer to be passed over in favor of a competitor’s. If the other party swoops in with an over-the-top offer that would bust your own budget, there’s not much you can do about it. But if a competing offer wins out for other reasons, that’s truly crazy-making. Such a scenario might play out if the other party had prior experience in the process of landing homes for sale. They would have foreseen the value of putting the “last step first.”

The last step first in this connection refers to the steps involved in buying and selling a home. The buyer takes many steps leading up to the closing table. But a knowledgeable buyer also considers the process strategically from the other guy’s standpoint. And when you think about things from the seller’s POV, the last step comes with the weighty decision about whether to accept an offer.

When a seller gets the good news that an offer (or multiple offers) have been submitted, beyond the dollar amount, there are crucial dependability factors. If the buyer can’t actually follow through with the purchase because of credit score problems or some other factor, it means the last step in the seller’s process was a misstep. It can be an expensive one. The seller may have lost qualified buyers while the bank was deciding not to fund. And now the property may be seen as less desirable than other Stockton homes for sale which haven’t lingered unsold for nearly as long…

When the seller’s choice is between one offer from a buyer who has been pre-approved by a lender and another from someone who is just beginning to feverishly gather pay stubs and tax returns, the prudent decision is pretty clear. The first buyer foresaw what the seller’s decision might well hinge upon—and dealt with that last step first.

Part of my value as your agent is in knowing all the steps you as a buyer or seller will encounter, and helping you prepare for each in a timely and wholly stress-free manner. I hope you’ll call me!

Ageless Real Estate Advice Heartens Stockton Homeowners Real Estate Wisdom to Cheer Stockton Homeowners Millionaires & History Agree on One Thing: Real Estate

It seems as if inflation is starting a slow creep back into Stockton supermarkets and gas stations—something that hasn’t happened for quite a while. For families on a tight budget, it’s hard not to notice—especially when it comes to trying to put something extra aside as a long-term investment.

By way of partially alleviating that concern, it’s worthwhile reviving some elevating insights from past eras. They stem from a chorus of exceptionally qualified voices when it comes to sophistication in investing: namely, economists, millionaires, and billionaires.

These elevating insights can be heartening whenever Stockton householders write a monthly mortgage check that pays down the principal. That only seems like a monthly expense—and hard-earned dollars out the door. In reality, those dollars are on their way to a happier place: the long-term investment column. And there’s been major agreement among history’s titans of finance that it’s a pretty smart destination, too! Here are a few of the many encouraging dictums that appear through the ages:

The major fortunes in America have been made in land.”

That’s investment advice that doesn’t beat around the bush. It’s all the more convincing when you consider its source: the first great American oil baron—John D. Rockefeller.

Land…is by far the greatest of monopolies…and it is the mother of all other forms of monopoly.” –Winston Churchill, statesman.

“Landlords grow rich in their sleep without working, risking, or economizing.”—John Stuart Mill, political economist.

“Ninety percent of all millionaires become so through owning real estate.”—Andrew Carnegie, industrialist.

“The best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”—John Paulson, billionaire hedge fund manager.

Buy real estate when other people want to sell. Hold what you buy!”—John Jacob Astor, first American multi-millionaire.

  • — — — —

If I may, I’d like to add one more timely piece of advice,:

For any and all of your own Stockton real estate matters, just call!”—me, your Stockton Real Estate Broker

Beyond Listing Strategy: One for the Record Books Stockton Listing Blurbs and a Strategic Demonstration Last Month’s Jaw-Dropper Stockton Listing Strategy

When it’s time to put your Stockton house up for sale, one of the most important built-in marketing tools at your disposal is the write-up at the top of its Stockton listing.  Ad people call short descriptive essays like this “blurbs.” In Stockton listings, its importance is second only to the curb-appeal of the photo that appears above it.

When the blurb is thoughtfully crafted, it can shape prospects’ expectations by way of highlighting the best features while softening the importance of less desirable details. A huge backyard could be emphasized as “park-like”—while a tiny patio could be “cozy” or even “intimate.”

That’s why, after a lightning-fast sale took place last month in Sunnyvale, California, the agent who’d authored its blurb had to have been more than pleased. Realtor® Doug Larson had been working with a home that was definitely “cozy.” The blurb called it “a charmer”— a carefully-chosen adjective given its size (just 848 square feet of living space) and unremarkable lot size (about 1/8 acre). The blurb diplomatically pointed out a “large backyard patio.”

Now, the fact is that even though the single-story house clearly belonged in the “modest” category, its proximity to leading Silicon Valley campuses like Google and Apple merited a hefty asking price—even though Sunnyvale is a more affordable community than neighboring Cupertino or Palo Alto. At only $1.4 million, the listing price represented a strategic exercise in attracting motivated buyers by setting an asking price below comparables. Larson hoped that offers of $1.6 million or so would be forthcoming eventually.

The listing appeared on a Wednesday, but by Friday, despite a request that offers be withheld until a week had passed, a “persistent” Realtor® submitted her client’s offer.

If you are reading this while standing, please sit down.

“I was blown away by it,” said Larson. The offer was for a flat $2,000,000. That jaw-dropping sum works out to $2,358 for each and every one of the 848 square feet —making it not only the highest square foot price recorded in Sunnyvale; it is the highest price per square foot ever recorded in local MLS history. It generated headlines from coast to coast.

Stockton sellers might be forgiven for regarding this tale from a notoriously super heated market as somewhat irrelevant—but I’d argue that there are real-life Stockton lessons to be learned. For one, this is now the season for the kind of active market you may expect when springtime breaks out after a long, cold winter. For another, strategic under pricing can actually draw motivated buyers in a hurry. This particular example is hyperbolic, to be sure—but the takeaway is authentic.

For more ideas about maximizing your own Stockton listing’s marketing impact, give me a call!

Buying a House in Stockton, First Step First Buying a House in Stockton Means Charting Your Course Buying Your First Stockton House Takes a Game Plan

Once you’ve settled on the goal of buying your first Stockton house, it’s hard to resist getting out there and getting started immediately! No matter if you know how vital it is to stick to a realistic budget on a purchase that’s this substantial, as soon as you’ve begun to save for that down payment, you’ll be hard-pressed not to at least stop by whenever you see an “Open House” sign. Even if it’s in a neighborhood where you know prices are half again what’s in your price range.

There may be no harm in that—but realistically, only if you are already following a delineated game plan. One that’s reality-based. Hard-headed. Businesslike. If not, it’s a better idea to resist the house hunting (even pre-house hunting) until your plans are charted out and underway. The danger in getting ahead of yourself is that buying your Stockton house is at least partially an emotional undertaking—and falling in love with the wrong house is the last thing you need. What’s at stake is gaining the incomparable feeling that now you control the place where you live (rather than the feeling that it’s the house that is controlling you)!

Drawing up a game plan that sets everything in motion the right way doesn’t take Pulitzer Prize creativity. Financial guru Dave Ramsey has even boiled it down to “7 simple steps” for buying a house. I’d go further: the most pivotal parts can actually be found in his first three:

  1. Save for a down payment
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
  3. Find a real estate agent

The first step takes no more than a sheet of paper, a sharp pencil, and determination to calculate how much you can realistically set aside each month. The second step comes after your savings are nearing the percentage likely to be required for your down payment. I might disagree with Mr. Ramsey that this comes next—teaming with your Stockton real estate agent might be a better Step 2. I know that clients sometimes ask me for information on special home loan programs that support discounted down payment percentages.

Once those qualifying steps are out of the way, the remaining steps can proceed like clockwork: 4. Go house hunting; 5. Submit an offer; 6. Get a home inspection; 7. Close on your house.

Of course, this step-by-step is over-simplified, but laying out an advance strategy for buying a house does keep you in the driver’s seat. It also makes it much more likely that the Stockton house you wind up with will be one that guarantees homeownership will be a joy instead of a burden. When you call me in to help at an early stage, I’ll work hard to make sure that happens!

 

 

Easter in Stockton—Why So Late This Year? This Year’s Stockton Easter: Why So Late? Stockton Easter: Is It Really Late This Year?

Stockton real estate agents are like everyone else when it comes to Easter Sunday. There is the holiday part, the spiritual part, and the kids-searching-for-hidden-Easter-eggs part. The day can also serve as a sort of mental signpost that reads “Spring is here!” (or something like that). When I think back to major events that happened around this time in years past—like memorable spring vacations—Easter is usually the clearest mental reference point: This happened just before Easter or that happened a couple of weeks after Easter. I bet I’m not alone in that.

But for Stockton real estate agents, this time of year has some other, distinctly professional overtones. It’s the time of year when keeping a clear calendar becomes more necessary than ever because the phones start ringing like crazy, and the scheduling calendar needs constant vigilance lest appointments overlap (we don’t let that happen).

Now that we’re on the subject of Stockton’s Easter and this year’s calendar, doesn’t it seem as if the 2019 edition arrives later than usual? Checking into this yielded two pieces of information—one of which is relevant.

  • The date for Easter moves from year to year—it’s dependent on the lunar calendar, falling on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (no wonder regular people have to go to Wikipedia to figure it out). That puts it anywhere from late March to mid-April. So yes, this year it’s a little earlier than usual.
  • The second piece of Easter trivia was just something that’s always seemed a little bit irregular about the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll. Isn’t it actually more of a hunt than a roll? The answer seems to be that it’s both. A few lucky tots get to push their Easter eggs down designated ribbon-designated lanes using what look like colorful spatulas, but all the others get to stampede across the lawn, snatching up eggs (or wooden replicas of eggs) in complete and utter child pandemonium.

I hope you and any little ones with whom you are lucky enough share this year’s Stockton Easter have a delightful, appropriately colorful Sunday. But should any questions arise about how the Easter Bunny happens to have baskets full of chicken eggs, please don’t call me—I’ll never figure that one out. For Stockton real estate matters, on the other hand, please do call!

Zeroing in on Valuable Stockton Spot House Improvements Spot House Improvements Yield Disproportionate Rewards Targeting Oft-Overlooked Spot House Improvements

 

Spot house improvements can be most necessary in living areas that whisper, “I’m a refugee from the 80’s.” Examples are rooms with popcorn ceilings; with faded green or pink bathroom tiles (really more like refugees from the 50’s); or with dark, battered wall paneling. You don’t have to be a single-minded fashionista to appreciate how such artifacts from days of yore can downgrade any Stockton home’s appeal.

You don’t have to be planning to sell your home to enjoy the benefits from what you might call a few ‘strategic spot improvements.’ These are limited renovations aimed at specific areas of a house—improvements that might not seem essential to Stockton homeowners after years of living with them, but which fresher-eyed visitors see as evidence of a property in need of renewal.   

·       The single most called-upon ammunition for duty in spot improvement is just what you’d expect: paint. A gallon or two can revitalize a room, either by a change in color or simply by brightening walls dimmed through decades of service. When it comes to scarred wall paneling, sometimes paint alone can provide the simplest spot solution—a true gift, since it means avoiding a teardown. Today’s improved primers may even allow for skipping all but some light sanding between coats. Another area where paint or stain can be transformative is in the renewal of neglected kitchen cabinetry.

·       Removing a pre-1980 popcorn ceiling can also be tackled as a do-it-yourself proposition. Experts recommend scraping a test area first to see if it comes off without wetting—if so, removal will be easy. If wetting helps, the job will be slightly messier. But if water doesn’t soak in, it means that paint has been over-sprayed. That means tougher scraping—and a decision on whether professional help should be called. If a pre-1980 ceiling is suspected, lead-based paint or asbestos could be present. Stockton hardware stores sell inexpensive EPA-approved test kits for both. If either answer comes up positive, it means calling in the professionals—average cost is between $1 and $2 per square foot. Or just leaving the popcorn in place (it’s harmless if undisturbed).

·       As you would think, those 50’s era colored tiles call for a professional solution. But they may not need to be replaced. Stockton professionals can save as much as 50% of what demolition and replacement would cost. New methods have been developed that allow tiles to be reglazed or refinished, and grout cleaned or replaced—then sealed for permanence.

The result of a few strategic spot house improvements can be remarkably cheering as we emerge from the dark days of winter. And the value in real estate terms can also be disproportionate. Especially if this spring finds you gravitating toward a change in your Stockton real estate footing, now is a good time to give me a call to discuss the many options at your disposal.

Stockton’s Calendar Delivers 6 Reasons It’s Selling Season! As Stockton’s Spring Selling Season Begins, 6 Factors 6 Factors Shape Spring Selling Season in Stockton

Today Stockton calendars mark the first day of spring: the vernal equinox. The onset of astronomical spring doesn’t quite coincide with Stockton’s real estate spring selling season, which most agree should be considered to start 12 days later, at the start of April.

Just about everything you need to know about why we expect Stockton’s spring selling season to be as active (some say “frantic”) as ever can be gleaned by a glance at the calendar. After the long winter, it explains why so many homebuyers seem to come out of the woodwork. Here are six of the calendar-based factors that help make spring the peak selling season:

  1. Families with children are captives of the school year calendar. They want to get their sale or purchase out of the way so that moving won’t disrupt next semester’s activities.
  2. Nicer weather moves people to get out to investigate. That may sound like a trivial reason, but when you add in the unarguable appeal of springtime gardens, the atmospherics alone would be enough to quicken sales.
  3. Tax refund checks are headed for 83% of filers. With average amounts in the thousands of dollars, it’s no wonder they give buyers a feeling of well-being. This year, 2018 federal tax reductions have also improved many a paycheck’s bottom line.
  4. Springtime provides a natural rebound from the typical Stockton winter real estate doldrums.
  5. Longer daylight hours provide more time for showings—and in real estate parlance, “brighter” is synonymous with “more appealing.”
  6. This year especially, there’s a ‘tick-tock’ factor: economy-minded homebuyers are incented to lock in Stockton properties before prices and interest rates rise.

There are always reasonable arguments for Stockton buyers and sellers to choose some other season, but over the long haul, the single point that’s hardest to dispute is in the numbers. Nearly 40% of U.S. home sales occur between April and July.

If you’ve been thinking that springtime might be the right time to create your own Stockton selling season, it’s not too late to make it happen! Give me a call to discuss how quickly we can turn that idea into action.

St Patrick’s Day: Perfect Day for Selling a Stockton Home? Selling a Home in Stockton and the St. Pat’s Day Connection St. Patrick’s Day, Leprechauns…and Selling a Stockton Home

Many people don’t fully understand why it is that St. Patrick’s is the perfect day for selling a Stockton home, or for buying one. But if ever there were a right time to explain it, this is it. There is one drawback to any such explanation, though: namely, that it makes so little sense.

That does not seem to make much difference to a lot of real estate industry marketing supply companies. I can bear witness to that fact, in the form of the postcards and various art pieces that are pitched to Realtors en masse ahead of every St. Pat’s. As you might guess, they are green (usually very green), and almost without exception bear some rendition of a four leaf clover. Also rainbows, pots of gold, wee leprechauns wearing green top hats with buckles on them, and sometimes horseshoes (to indicate the Luck O’ the Irish, of course).

What could this have to do with selling a Stockton home, or buying one? That’s very hard to pin down. There is the simple good will postcard, that says, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” with no further connection. That’s a nice thought, certainly, and not risky. Who wouldn’t want to have a happy St. Patrick’s Day? There is one with a good-looking home at the end of a rainbow, with a wee little leprechaun holding a “Welcome Home!” sign—certainly a strong connection between selling a Stockton home and the celebration.

One of the best ones is the poster that features two shades of green, a cartoon three-leaf clover (mistake there, if you ask me) upon which is printed in Celtic-looking letters, “You don’t need to have the ‘Luck of the Irish’ to sell your home.” You have to like that one, because it doesn’t discriminate against people who aren’t Irish (the closer you get to St. Patrick’s Day, the more you run the risk of seeming to snub the non-Irish among us).

There is one postcard with a lady bug crawling over clover leaves emblazoned with a sentimental poem, but the emotionality of the poetry is tempered by the heading, “For all Your Real Estate needs just give me a call!” Balance is important on St. Patrick’s Day…but it’s not clear that the card with the green beer mugs got that message (which is “Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Remember, parade watching is like real estate. Location, location, location.”).

One that also tips the scales in the direction of crass commercialism is the picture of the big pot o’ gold brimming with gold coins. It says, “It takes more than Luck to sell your home.” I’m not sure what the St. Pat’s message is for that one—that selling your Stockton home requires you to go out, find a leprechaun or rainbow, and wangle a pot o’ gold? It’s simply not the case. If you ask me, an experienced Realtor with a great marketing plan and a reasonable price will do the trick better than pots o’ gold or four-leaf clovers. Still, that can’t keep me from wishing you a terrific St. Patrick’s Day, as too!