The answer to the question, "Should I sell my Palo Alto home off market ?" is.... wait for it..... It Depends.
The way to get the highest price and the best terms for a house is to give it maximum exposure on the open market.
However, right now the inventory is so low and communication between agents so good, that off market selling of Palo Alto homes with excellent target marketing is giving good results to home owners trying to sell their Palo Alto homes.
The most common reasons for wanting to sell your Palo Alto home off market are:
1. Privacy. Some people do not want hordes of people descending on their home, or knowing what their home is worth.
2. Convenience: For some Palo Alto homeowners the amount of work that needs to be done to put a home on the open market is unreasonable. There may be someone at home who is disabled or ill. There may be sensitive pets at home.
3. Safety: Some Palo Alto homeowners are concerned that bringing strangers into their home will put their families or themselves at risk.
What ever your reason for not wanting the public in your home make sure that if you want to sell your Palo Alto home off market that you give very clear directions to your realtor. Make a decision about the following and make sure your real estate agent knows your wishes:
1. Discuss how your home is to be marketed. If your agent is going to put 2 page color ads in the local papers or on-line with your home's address, it sort of negates the privacy desire. If there are going to be ads you might want just the name of the street or the neighborhood and a picture of the back of the home or an inside room if there is going to be any advertising.
2. Be very clear about how and when the home can be shown, and to whom. It is perfectly reasonable to ask your agent to contact individual agents or offices and to set limited times for showings. There are so many people who are looking for Palo Alto homes to buy and so few homes that your agent should be able to get a good pool of potential buyers with a few emails and phone calls.
3. If you want to prevent unqualified buyers from viewing the home feel free to ask your agent to require that anyone who is going to be brought in by his or her agent show proof of funds and/or loan approvals.
4. When you sell your Palo Alto home off market pricing may be a little different than on a fully marketed home. The common practice of under pricing a Palo Alto home is not the best method in an off market sale. I believe you should price your home at market value and then if the market is appreciating you may get more. A bidding war is not really compatible with a private sale.
Remember, if you want to sell your Palo Alto home without full exposure to the market there are plenty of ways to do that. Just make sure your wishes are clearly stated to your Palo Alto real estate agent and you should be able to sell your Palo Alto home for market price or above.
If you have any questions about selling home in Palo Alto please feel free to contact me.