Selling a Home in Hillsborough

Sternsmith Group

As one of the country's most idyllic and gorgeous communities, Hillsborough is a true dream for anyone who wants privacy, scenic views, and easy access to all of San Francisco’s amenities. Available homes in Hillsborough rarely crop up on the market, as many are sold off market, but when they do, buyers take notice.

Even with such a high level of demand, selling a home in Hillsborough is both an art and a science requiring a lot of preparation and planning. This guide will walk you through what you need to know to sell your Hillsborough home successfully.

Preparing to sell your Hillsborough home

Proper preparation is the most integral part of your success. San Mateo County is historically a hot real estate market, with the county's median single-family home price consistently ranking among the highest in the state. By knowing the facts and working through these essential steps before you list your home on the Hillsborough real estate market, you'll be setting yourself up for a smooth sale and an easy closing process.

Interview real estate agents

Working with a Hillsborough agent is the best way to ensure that you sell your home quickly and make the most considerable profit. Consider scheduling interviews with several agents to find the perfect fit. During the interview, ask questions about their experience with selling high-value homes and what they would do to help your property sell faster.

Determine the value of your home

Accurately estimating the value of your home will help you determine what its list price should be. Your agent will evaluate recently sold properties that are similar to yours to come up with a strategic list price that’s sure to garner attention from buyers. Make sure to factor in the cost of any upgrades or renovations that you've done to the property since living there.

Consider home upgrades

To help your home sell even faster, consider tackling some home upgrades before listing. This may include installing new countertops, freshening a bathroom, a deck or patio area expansion, or a lighting fixtures update. Your agent can suggest the upgrades that will appeal to your buyers and provide guidance on which renovations are worth your effort.

The best and worst times to sell

Hillsborough is a highly in-demand area, but even so, consider what time of year you want to list your home for the best results. The springtime months of  March, April, and May are typically the best times of the year to sell a property in the Bay Area when you will see an increase in price and inventory. Reasons as to why this is the case include families like to move when the kids get out of school and many high net worth individuals travel during the summer. Typically, the holidays are  the greatest time to sell. That said, your agent will be in-the-know about effective marketing strategies that can sell your home in any season.

Is staging worth the cost

Staging can make your home more appealing to potential buyers through beautiful decor and lighting.   With effective high-end staging, each space will have a purpose and a sense of sophistication, enabling your buyers to imagine themselves living there and encouraging them to make offers.

In addition, real estate photography, professional copywriting, and videography helps showcase your home in its best light, showing off the features that make it so special. When teaming up with staging and marketing professionals, be sure to ask about their experience with luxury real estate, and don't hesitate to ask for a portfolio.

According to Zebra Google Consumer Surveys, Home staging brings in an 8-10% return on investment. A staged home spends 73% less time on the market than a non-staged home. Staging a home on the market increases the sale price of the home on average anywhere from 1-10% according to 50% of home real estate agents.

Selling your Hillsborough home

Once your property is primed and ready, it’s time to market it to your prospective buyers. Your trusted agent will help you manage all of these steps with ease, so you can focus on the big picture and move on to the next phase of your life.

Marketing strategies

The MLS is a digital suite that houses hundreds of regional databases. This helps agents from different counties and locations market your home to buyers. Notably, home sellers cannot post their homes on the MLS, as access is limited to licensed agents who pay a fee to use the service. Thus, your Hillsborough real estate agent will handle this for you.

In addition, you and your agent will discuss incorporating other effective marketing strategies, such as making drone videos of your home's noteworthy features, creating a virtual walkthrough, or sharing your home listing with your friends and connections on social media. These strategies will keep your listing circulating to reach even more interested parties.

Compass has a high-end luxury marketing department

Conducting open houses and virtual tours

Open houses allow potential buyers to get an insider's look at your home. Your agent will expertly handle the scheduling of the open house and serve as a vital resource for your buyers who attend. Privacy is of the utmost importance, and many clients choose to only have private showings.

Virtual tours are another convenient way for buyers to get a closer look at your property without committing to an in-person visit. Virtual tours can be done on request, while shorter video walk-throughs can be posted to social media or real estate listing websites.

Tips for handling offers

The way you handle offers depends greatly on how quickly you want to sell, the interest in the home, and your needs. If you aren't in a rush, you could counter or reject offers that don't measure up to your standard. Either way, you should know your bottom line when handling offers and be willing to negotiate. Of course, your agent will be by your side at every point, helping you field offers and working with you to determine the best fit.

The inspection and appraisal process

The mid-peninsula is a very unique market compared to the rest of the United States. For most properties, the listing agent and owners will prepare a disclosure package that includes inspections. By providing inspections prior to listing the property, it helps mitigate the possibility of receiving a contingent offer. When a buyer is interested in your home, they will request the disclosures package as well as inquire about how you will be managing offers. If there are no inspections available, the buyers agent will most likely include a buyers property contingency to inspect the property once in contract.

An appraisal is another crucial step in which the buyer receives an expert third-party assessment of the property’s value. Typically, this is scheduled quickly, usually within a week of accepting the offer through their lending team. The value of the appraisal impacts the loan that is available to the buyer. If the home is purchased with all cash, an appraisal will not occur.

What to know about escrow

Escrow is a legal arrangement in which a licensed third party holds the money for the home until any set conditions have been met. Escrow protects the buyer and seller until the transaction closes.

Closing costs

Closing costs vary depending on the sale price of your home, the loan chosen by your buyer, and any specific terms that were negotiated as part of the sale. In San Mateo County, there are very clear standards and norms for who pays for what in closing costs. This being said, most things can always be negotiated.  Here is a great resource for San Mateo County closing costs.

Frequently asked questions about selling your home in Hillsborough

Whether you're new to selling real estate or a seasoned real estate investor, you might still have some questions about the process. Here are answers to several commonly-asked questions.

Is staging worth it?

Staging might be an extra step in the process of selling your home, but it is nearly always worth it. According to the National Association of Realtors, 81% of buyers' agents said that staging a home made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their own future home. So, if you want to create an alluring space and get more offers, staging is an important piece of the puzzle!

How can I get the most money for my property in Hillsborough?

Hillsborough homes sell for millions of dollars, with the median home price of $5 Million and active listings range from $3 million to $68 million as of October 2023. To get the most money for your property, team up with a local expert who has deep insights into the area and vast experience in selling luxury properties just like yours. They will have the proficiency and prowess to guide you through proven marketing and listing strategies.

Can I sell my Hillsborough home without an agent?

While you can sell your home without an agent by your side, this can make the process much more challenging. Not only will you have to manage listings, showings, and open houses on your own, but you'll have to deal with all the paperwork and negotiations without the assistance of an experienced professional. Working with a trusted Hillsborough real estate agent is the best way to streamline your sale and achieve the goals you’re after.

Sell your home in a flash with the help of the Sternsmith Group

If you’re hoping to experience a successful sale, partner with the Sternsmith Group for the best results. As local Hillsborough real estate experts with over 18 years of experience, this top-tier team ensures the highest value for your home through proven strategies that have consistently achieved excellence. Contact the team today to learn how they can assist you in selling your home in Hillsborough.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock


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