Coldwell Banker Realty 805.402.0117

In my 25 years of representing sellers, I find the same questions come up again and again. I have put together this list of FAQ’s so scroll down and see if YOUR question is here.

If not call, text or email me. It is my JOB to answer your questions and I am happy to do it. 805-402-0117 –


COVID 19 update - You probably have concerns about the virus and how how purchasing a home will work in the age of social distancing. Please be assured that we have written policies in line with the latest CDC guidelines. We have rules for showings, inspections and document signing. Many tasks can be completed online, and anything that needs to be done in person will be done with all the latest recommendations in place. 


How is the market right now?

Our local market is very seasonal, and even a week or two can make a difference to our pricing and marketing strategies. I would be happy to meet with you or email you a thorough analysis of the micro market that applies to your home.  


How much is my home worth?

Many factors will affect the eventual selling price of your home. We look at sales of other homes in the area, what a buyer would be able to purchase currently in a similar price range, and we also consider local economic pressures (expansions, new construction, layoffs or closures) and the time of year. I am happy to prepare a detailed analysis and meet with you at your convenience to discuss it.


Why is the “Zestimate” so far off?

There are many online “estimate” programs. Even Zillow admits they could be off by as much as 20%! The problem is that these programs simply look at the size and age of the home. Only an experience human being can make adjustments of condition and location.


Can I list at my price?

I never lose sight of the fact that this is your home and ultimately your decision. I find that once we have analyzed the market together I am usually on the exact same page as my sellers regarding pricing.


Should I add on a cushion to allow for negotiations?

No. Homes in our area are selling within 1% of the listing price. So buyers are only looking a little above their maximum purchase amount. If you price your home too high those well qualified buyers will not even find it or see it. Buyers and their agents know that homes are currently priced right where the seller wants to end up.


Will I get the price I want for my home?

Remember this is YOUR home and YOUR equity. You do not have to accept any offer that does not work for you. We will negotiate every written offer to the very best price and terms, and then you will decide if it works. I will assist you by preparing a “net sheet” for every offer showing you the approximate amount you will actually receive. If it does not work for you we will decline the offer and wait for the next interested buyer.


What if I get a lowball offer?

The important thing is not to feel insulted. The biggest insult is no offer, at least a buyer wants your home enough to go through the lengthy process of putting an offer together. We will simply analyze the offer, good points and bad, counter back with something that works for you and see where the buyer will come to. My advice is to counter every offer, and I am happy to take the time and effort to do it.


How long will it take to sell my home?

The average time on the market varies greatly depending on the price point of the home. There are simply more buyers in the lower price ranges than the high end. The current average time on the market for a home in our area is about 40 days. A very affordable home could sell in a week or less and a high end luxury home could take as much as a year to sell. I can pull up information about the activity in the price range of your home – call or text me 805-402-0117


How long does the selling process take?

From the time the contract is signed it will usually take between 30 to 60 days before the closing and you get your equity. We will negotiate a “closing date” in the contract.


Is the closing date on my contract guaranteed?

No, while everyone will make their best effort to close on the selected date there are many things that can cause delays. I will be checking on everything all the way through the transaction and keep you informed of progress, but be prepared to be flexible.


What is the likelihood of a multiple offer situation?

Depending on the price point and the time of year, we have seen some multiple offer situations. If we do have more than one offer, rest assured that I will analyze each offer thoroughly, discuss the pros and cons with you, and negotiate each offer to the best price and terms. I will ensure all the correct forms and procedures are used to avoid any legal issues.


Are there things I should do to my home before listing it?

If your home needs minor “sprucing up” of if there are obvious repairs needed, we always advise that you go ahead and make those repairs prior to listing the home. Unless you are selling the home as a “fixer upper” the buyer will expect most items to be functioning.


Will I need to fix everything?

Not necessarily. In California all homes are sold “as-is” in the condition you see. The only exceptions are carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and water heater strapping. Some cities may have other legal requirements, I can explain those to you prior to listing. If a major issue comes up in the inspection the buyer may ask you for repairs or a credit, but they cannot force you to fix anything. Of course as long as they still have their inspection contingency the buyer could cancel the escrow and you would have to return their deposit.


What do I need to disclose to the buyers?

Should disclose all known defects to the buyer. It is always better to disclose all you know about the property right up front. Buyers can then write an offer knowing exactly what they will be purchasing.


Do I need to give the buyer receipts for improvements?

It is always best to give the buyer copies of receipts and permits for any major improvements.


What inspections will a buyer do?

Most buyers will start with a general inspection which will cover all the systems in the house. Many will also do a specific pool inspection, and more buyers are opting for sewer line and chimney inspections. If the general inspection raises questions about an item, such as the roof or furnace, the buyer may have other inspectors come to check those items. The buyer can have any inspections they like (at their cost) during the negotiated inspection period.


What are contingencies?

Contingencies are protections that are put into place in the contract to protect the buyer and seller. A seller may have a contingency giving them a certain number of days to find a replacement home, for example.

Buyer contingencies are more common. The big ones are the inspection contingency, giving the buyer time to inspect the home and either accept the condition or cancel. And the loan contingency, giving the buyers lender time to approve their loan and ensure that the home appraises for the purchase price. Each contingency is good for a negotiated number of days, and then has to be signed off. Eventually the buyer and seller will have no open contingencies and will be committed to closing the sale.


If the buyer cancels can I keep their deposit?

If the buyer has an open contingency they have the right to cancel the transaction and receive their deposit back in full. If all contingencies have been removed the buyers deposit may be at risk.


What are my closing costs?

Closing costs include escrow fees, title insurance, county transfer tax, real estate agent fees, and possibly homeowner association transfer fees. There could be other fees depending on the location of your home. I would be happy to run a scenario for you estimating the actual fees for selling your home.


Should I be here for showings in case the buyer has questions?

It is better if you are not home for showings. The optimum is for the buyer to be in the home with only their agent. That way they can speak freely and ask all the questions they need to. If you are home it is very difficult for buyers to envision their own family enjoying the home.


What about open houses?

Open houses are just one of the ways we can expose your home to the maximum number of buyers. Just this year two of my listings sold because I was holding open house and the buyers stopped by. They both had agents, who represented them in the purchase< but for some reason their agent had not shown them that specific home. So without open house neither of those home would have sold to those buyers.


When will I need to move out?

Unless something else is negotiated, the contract calls for you to give up possession no later than 6:00pm on the closing date. Once we have received confirmation from the county recorder that the deed has recorded the home belongs to the buyer and they will receive the keys.


What is escrow?

In California we use a neutral third party “escrow” to collect all the documents, reports and monies noted in the contract. When everything is received and signed they record the documents and release the funds to the seller.


What happens at closing?

In California you do not need to be present at a closing. You will go to escrow at any time during the escrow period and sign the grant deed in front of a notary. On the “closing day” the escrow company will send the documents to be recorded. Once the recording is confirmed the keys are released to the buyer and the funds are released to the seller,


How soon will I receive my money?

Depending on what time we receive confirmation of recording, escrow may be able to disburse funds the same day. If the recording is late you may have to wait until the following day.


 If you did not see your question here – call or text me 805-402-0117 or email me I am always here to help