• Encourage home sellers to view the long-term goals when setting a price point
  • Even in a seller's market, a Realtor is a valuable asset to getting top dollar for a home
  • San Francisco market is expected to flatten out appreciation in the coming months

I admit it. It’s not that hard to sell a home in today’s San Francisco real estate market, but I’m not saying that anyone can do it. As you know, real estate sales are complicated and full of risk and liability. Most homeowners are way too subjective or emotional to effectively market and sell a home themselves, ergo FSBOs are exceedingly rare in the more expensive markets like San Francisco. But, it does not take a genius real estate agent to get the job done under today’s hot market conditions.

Valeri Potapova / Shutterstock.com

Valeri Potapova / Shutterstock.com

It’s all about the benjamins

So how do we convince people to hire (and pay for) an expert when selling a home in San Francisco? Why would they hire a realtor with years of experience prepping homes for sale and over a thousand successful negotiations when it’s a seller’s market and just about any newbie or part-timer can do it?

While it’s no secret that a home seller is going to get offers on their home, it’s more about whether they will get an offer above the asking price and how to reach that sweet spot. People want the biggest bang for their buck, and that’s where we come in.

In San Francisco, it might be that extra $200,000 or more if sellers hire the expert and do it right. Getting top dollar for a home goes well beyond what the asking price is, and having the know-how to effectively market and prep the home will go a long way. This is why a realtor’s job is valuable, even in San Francisco’s seller’s market.

Help your clients visualize the long tail (We heart you, Seth Godin)

When meeting with a potential home seller, whether for a Noe Valley listing, a Mission Dolores condo, or a Bernal Heights single family home, I like to explain that every home has a fair market value bandwidth. You could do nothing but slap a lockbox on the house and put it in the MLS and the home would likely sell within this band, albeit on the low end. But— and this is a big but— if you want to make sure your client gets every possible penny out of their home, you’ll want to advise them on the very best presentation and pricing strategy.

One size does not fit all when it comes to staging and listing price. We develop a custom game plan based on the specific property, its location and the seller’s personal situation. What we are doing is figuring out the optimal way to sell the home that’ll get us to the tail end of that home’s price range. In today’s San Francisco real estate market, we often go beyond. Imagine a bell curve with a line running down and to the right. That is where we want to be.


As real estate experts, we should want the winning offer to be out beyond the norm, beyond the cluster of offers in the middle. And let’s be real, that cluster represents the home’s actual FMV (Fair Market Value). We achieve the “long tail” sales price because of the pre-sale enhancements, the listing price strategy, the relationships with other top-selling San Francisco agents, the contract negotiations and yes, the market conditions.

What goes up…

Those of you who know me know that I can be a tad cynical or at least apprehensive of prevailing mindsets. Having survived (thrived!) in up, down, and all-around real estate market conditions, I know that when news publications and my friends at the water cooler start talking about the “seller’s market,” things are going to change soon.

We have a tremendous autumn housing market here in San Francisco and 2016 is likely to be pretty good, perhaps on more of a plateau — but all markets are cyclical and we’ve been in this real estate boom for years. In other words, now is the time to motivate potential sellers who have been on the fence about selling — convince them to get in while the rate-getting is good.

Danielle Lazier, Senior Broker-Associate, Keller Williams San Francisco, is a top 10 San Francisco real estate agent. She is founder of SFhotlist.com, San Francisco’s first real estate blog.

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