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Home > Buying / Selling > Seller's Guide
Seller's Guide

Pricing your home correctly is critical. If your price is too low, you won¡¦t receive your home¡¦s full, fair value. If your price is too high, your home may not sell quickly, or you may not get any offers. IMAX Realtors¡Xexperts in Southern California real estate¡Xanalyze the market and set home prices every day. IMAX Realtors will work to ensure that we get the best price possible for your home in a suitable time frame.

Before we price your house, we¡¦ll complete a free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which will provide us with the listing and sales prices of similar houses in the area (as well as information about houses that were on the market but never sold). We¡¦ll determine your home¡¦s market value by comparing it to similar properties that have sold in the past six to twelve months. Market conditions also influence price. We'll factor in interest rates, the local school system, how quickly houses are selling in your area, and whether the current market favors buyers or sellers. Houses sell quickly and for the best price when they are valued properly initially. Consider your goals:

  • Is your primary objective to obtain the maximum sales price for your house?
  • If so, are you willing to have your house on the market for many months?
  • Is your primary objective to sell your house quickly? If so, are you willing to sacrifice some of your potential profits?
  • Would you prefer to balance selling your house quickly and selling it at the highest price the market can bear?

What Influences Price?


  • Is your home near the Plaza, restaurants, shops, and/or galleries?
  • Are schools, businesses, and community services nearby?
  • Do you have a view, privacy, or access to open land?
  • Are any ¡§lifestyle amenities¡¨ (swimming pools or water features, golf courses, etc.) nearby?


  • Does your home have a discernable style?
  • Does your home have traditional characteristics or more modern features?
  • Is your home single-level or multilevel?


  • When was your house built?
  • Is your home historic?
  • Have fixtures, appliances, and other appointments been updated?


  • Does your home have any distinguishing ¡§environmental¡¨ features, such as significant acreage or landscaping?
  • Do you have access to hiking, biking, or horseback riding trails from your property?


  • Is all your paint (both inside and out) in prime condition?
  • Does all your flooring (carpeting, tile, hardwood) look good?
  • Do any walls need patching?
  • Is the roof in good condition?

A Note on Overpricing

The most common reason that a home doesn¡¦t sell is that the asking price is too high. Overpricing can

  • reduce advertising response and number of offers
  • attract the wrong prospects
  • drive away otherwise interested buyers
  • help sell ¡§competitor¡¦s¡¨ houses
  • make financing difficult for prospective buyers
  • cause appraisal problems
  • extend market time

Preparing Your Home

The condition and appearance of your home can affect our ability to get you the best price. Is your home in good condition inside and out? A buyer doesn't want to have to do anything except move in. Small repairs often don¡¦t cost much, but they can make a big difference. Remember that buyers can be motivated by emotional factors (appearance, aromas, the ¡§mood¡¨) as much as financial ones. Before we begin showing your house, consider taking these few important steps. They are easy, inexpensive ways to help you make your home look its best¡Xand more appealing to prospective buyers.

The Exterior

Experts agree that your home¡¦s appearance from the street may determine whether potential buyers ever decide to come inside. Stand in front of your home and put yourself in a buyer¡¦s shoes. Would a few enhancements draw buyers in? Is the front door hung properly and clean? Is the paint in good condition? Are all exterior lights in working order? Are all toys and tools out of sight? Should you weed and neatly edge the lawn? Prune trees and bushes? Plant colorful flowers in boxes or pots? Sweep the walkway? These inexpensive touches require very little effort but can create a powerful impact.

Interior Touch-Ups

Small flaws in a house can distract a prospective buyer and make him or her wonder about hidden problems. Freshen up paint, refinish wood or tile floors, clean or replace carpeting, and replace worn wallpaper. Repair or replace loose knobs or handles, broken or loose locks, cracked windows, broken screens, and damaged doors.


Remove all clutter throughout your house, including stacks of magazines and papers. Some pieces of furniture may need to be removed to enhance the sense of space (store with friends or family or consider donating to charity).


Open curtains and blinds. Clean all windows inside and out. Before a showing, turn on lights to create a warm, bright mood. Replace any missing or burned-out bulbs.


If you have air-conditioning or forced-air heating, change filters regularly and keep vents clean. Otherwise, on warm days, be certain your house is cooled by cross breezes. Air your house out regularly to keep it smelling fresh and clean.


Before a showing, store pet toys and bedding and keep pet areas neat and clean. Change or clean and remove kitty litter and try to control odors through appropriate ventilation. These small adjustments can make a big difference.


The kitchen may be the most important room in the house, so help it appear roomy, clean, and bright. A fresh coat of paint on the walls and cabinets will make them appear spotless. Make sure all appliances are clean and that the sink is stain-free and not leaking or dripping. Clear away clutter on all countertops. Remove everything you can from drawers and shelves (buyers will look in drawers and cabinets), and repair or replace broken drawers or cabinet doors. Consider replacing cabinet hardware or an old faucet¡Xthese small changes can improve the look of the entire kitchen.


Remove excess furniture and clutter, including clothing. Choose attractive, laundered bedding. Clean your curtains or blinds, if necessary.


Touch-up caulking around tubs and showers. Make sure all bathroom surfaces, including the floors, are clean and free of clutter. Close toilet lids. Straighten the shower curtain, if applicable, and arrange towels neatly.

Closets, Attics, Garages, and Other Storage Space

Remove all clutter from your closets, attic, basement, garage, and other storage and utility space. Organized closets appear larger, so clean out your closets and store unused or out-of-season items. Make sure your garage is neat and clean. Patch or repair walls and doors, and consider painting the floor. Brighten a dark basement with light-colored paint.


Your backyard can make an important impression, especially during warmer months. Fertilize and water your lawn. Mow and edge it frequently. Prune shrubs and trees, and consider planting a few annuals to add color. Repair and repaint fences if necessary, and replace any latches and hinges that are old or not working well. Clean up after your dog vigilantly. If you have a deck, verandah, or patio, make sure furniture is clean and neatly arranged, and add some potted plants. If you have a pool or hot tub, keep it clean and neat.

Other Touches

In winter, build a fire in the fireplace for showings. Turn off the television, dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer. Tune your radio to a classical music station and keep at a low volume. If you have time, bake some cookies.

A Final Note

If you¡¦re at home when an agent and potential buyer arrive, leave if you can (children, relatives, friends, and staff should leave as well). Buyers often don¡¦t feel comfortable viewing a home when the owner is there, and their uneasiness might cause them to overlook some of your home¡¦s best features.

Market Factors

Some homes in Southern California will sell within a few days, while others may be on the market for several months or more. Knowing and understanding the influences the market can have is key to selling your home quickly and for the best price.


The desirability of your neighborhood and its proximity to amenities and services are the greatest influences on fair market value and your home¡¦s ability to sell.


The condition of your home directly affects the price we¡¦ll be able to obtain and how quickly we¡¦ll be able to sell it. The more you can do to improve your home¡¦s appearance, the better your chances for a quick sale.


The housing market is competitive. Potential buyers will compare your home to similar properties¡Xincluding brand-new houses¡Xin Southern California and your neighborhood.


A ¡§seller's market¡¨ or a ¡§buyer's market,¡¨ a ¡§hot¡¨ market or a ¡§cold¡¨ one¡Xreal estate is in a constant state of flux. A marketing plan should be tailored specifically for your home, keeping current market conditions in mind.


The most common reason that a home doesn¡¦t sell quickly¡Xor at all¡Xis that the price isn¡¦t right. If your home is priced too high, for example, even if you manage to get an offer, the prospective buyer may not be able to secure financing. If your price is too low, you won¡¦t receive your home¡¦s full, fair value. You can rely on the experts at IMAX Realty for guidance in pricing your home properly.

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