In case you haven’t noticed lately, the Santa Barbara real estate market is hopping. Realtors are very busy assisting clients with virtual showings and some in-person showings while strictly adhering to the Best Practices Guidelines during the COVID pandemic.
Properties that are priced correctly are receiving multiple offers, with additional pressure on our inventory from “urban flight” — a deluge of buyers to our market escaping from cities.
Many of these buyers are used to seeing reports before making an offer.
This is very typical for example in the Bay Area, where the document section of a listing is “frontloaded” with a home inspection, pest inspection, natural hazard disclosure, and preliminary title report, to name a few, along with instructions to submit a Receipt for Reports along with the offer to verify that buyers have read all information prior to submitting their bid.
While this might make one flinch as a seller — paying for reports, and learning about the issues therein — this approach can actually save thousands of dollars and headaches later over requests for repairs, reductions in price or credits, or even worse, a cancellation and starting over on the market.
There are other reasons specific to the pandemic also making the practice of frontloading a good one. It can reduce the amount of time and visitors to the property, if much of the information has already been provided. The document tab of the MLS will already include the coronavirus disclosures, which must be signed by all who enter the property.
Many Realtors are advising their clients to also require buyers to have reviewed floor plans, virtual tours and videos online, and to provide proof of funds before entry along with the signed disclosures.
Having your disclosures ready can also help to strengthen the buyer’s commitment. Your Realtor can provide these to you prior to going on the market, rather than waiting until escrow is opened. They can issue these to the buyer upon acceptance, or even better, provide them to qualified, interested parties before receiving offers.
This can head off repeated questions and requests and possibly shorten the inspection contingency offered by the buyer.
The more information provided at the outset, the more likely a buyer is to stick with their bid, rather than asking for concessions once in escrow. Call your Realtor to find out how to be best prepared to receive quality offers when selling. Contact the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors at sbaor.com for the virtual open house directory.
— Staci Caplan is the president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact her at email@example.com.