SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - Realtors say all the signs point to a busy spring and summer in San Diego.
"It's heating up a little bit," says Markus Feldmann, with the Pacific Real Estate Center. "We see a very active market again."
Home prices have come down from their record peak in August of 2018. That month, CoreLogic reported that San Diego's median home price was $583,000. In December, it had dropped to $550,000 (see chart above). That's still higher than December of 2017, but Feldmann says buyers see it as a more reasonable range for homes.
Meanwhile, a report from Zillow says that the best time to sell a house is the first half of May. According to their numbers, homes in San Diego sold for $6,000 more in that period than other times of the year. Zillow also says homes are on the market for six fewer days in early May.
No matter which side of the sale you're on, Feldmann says there are simple ways you can make sure you get the most for your money.
If you're a buyer, he says you don't have to keep increasing your offer. Feldmann says you can increase your deposit. You can also decrease the length of inspection time from the traditional 17 days to 10.
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Most importantly, though, he says if you have a home you like, write a letter to the seller explaining what you like about the house and why you want to buy it.
"It personalizes the transaction," says Feldmann. "This way a seller is going to see who is the buyer and they may have a preference. They may prefer a family or a couple over an investor. Without you writing a letter, how would they know?"
Feldmann says he's had several clients who beat out other, larger bids, because of a letter they wrote.
If you're trying to sell a home, Feldman says to make sure you price the property accurately and competitively. He also says there are some simple ways to spruce up the house that will make it more attractive without costing too much money.
"Be aware of clutter and maybe move some furniture out of the house to make the rooms look bigger," he suggests. "Put a little investment into the front yard. Put some color in, put some flowers in, maybe use some bark to delineate the flower beds. Just improve on the general appeal of the house. Those small things can have a big payout."
Feldmann says it's also crucial that sellers stay patient after they list a home.
"Let the property sit on the MLS for a few days, don't just accept the first offer that comes," he says. "Let it breathe like a good glass of wine. Just be patient and have faith that this will work out."
He also says buyers and sellers should have their realtors call each other before making an offer. The agents can often work out things like escrow times, rent-back agreements and other details to make sure that things go smoothly.
"Don't lose hope," he says. "There's a house out there for everybody."