Heckenberg Realty’s Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Home in San Mateo

John Heckenberg | April 2, 2023

About 20 miles south of San Francisco, San Mateo embodies the best of the Bay Area, mixing an urban and suburban atmosphere in this vibrant community. Residents enjoy access to miles of pristine beaches, parks, nature reserves, and the iconic Half Moon Bay. For anyone craving culture and entertainment, the city is home to numerous museums, theaters, and performance spaces as well.
With its unmatched beauty, it is no wonder this California city is popular with anyone looking to relocate. If you are planning to sell your San Mateo property, however, it is necessary to understand what is involved in the process. This guide is an overview of the process so that you know what to expect when beginning your seller's journey.

Preparing your house to sell

The first part of selling your home is preparing it for the market, including learning about the local real estate scene and finding an expert agent to work with. Then, it is necessary to ensure the house is in the best shape possible through staging, cleaning, and performing any home improvements. Preparing your home effectively helps you sell it faster and get the best price, as it will be more appealing and valuable in the eyes of potential buyers.

Working with a real estate agent

Although it is possible to sell your house independently, teaming up with a real estate agent is a wise investment for navigating the complex process of selling your home. Experienced agents understand the local market and can provide expert advice on pricing, marketing, and negotiations. By managing all aspects of the sale, combined with their expertise, market knowledge, and professional networks, your agent will be a highly valuable asset when selling your luxury home.

Determine your home's value

After finding an agent, they will perform a local market analysis. This analysis includes researching market trends to assess where the market stands and where it may be headed in the future. The assessment will also involve evaluating how long local homes have remained on the market and their closing prices. Other key factors in performing a market analysis are researching historical data and evaluating the quality of the neighborhood, the home's proximity to amenities, and the property values of other houses in the area (specifically, comparable listings to your property).

Perform upgrades to improve your home value

Some improvements will increase the overall value of your home and lead to top-dollar offers. However, not all upgrades are worth your time and effort before listing. Your agent will provide insight into which renovations or upgrades will provide a solid return on investment, as they are knowledgeable about the features buyers are expecting to see during their house hunt. Before starting any home improvement projects, it’s important to get multiple price quotes to determine the right direction to go.

Staging your home and taking photos

The next step is to clean and stage your home thoroughly. Perform a deep clean of the inside and outside of the house, from top to bottom and in every corner. You want your home to sparkle at every turn so that nothing seems out of place. As part of this process, it’s also important to declutter and clear out extraneous personal items.
Next, you will stage your home for photographs and tours. An expert stager can provide advice on furniture arrangement, decor selection, lighting, and more to create a space that’s appealing and neutral for buyers. You want to create a sense of purpose for each room. It may also be beneficial to hire a professional real estate photographer, as they are trained to understand how to take the best pictures utilizing the light, color, and space available to them.

Selling your home

Now, your home is ready to make its grand entrance on the San Mateo real estate scene. You can look forward to open houses, whether in-person or virtual, followed by an appraisal and the real estate transaction closing.

Marketing your home

Your agent will list your home on the MLS to reach the widest audience and connect your home with serious buyers. They will devise a savvy marketing strategy that works well within your local market.

Open houses and virtual tours

There are a few options for showing your property to potential buyers, such as in-person open houses or hosting a virtual tour. In-person tours benefit buyers, as they can walk through the house and ask questions as they arise. With virtual tours, sellers can pre-record a video or hold a live stream as they walk through the house. These recordings are helpful for out-of-state buyers who may not be able to visit the property in person.


Unless a home-buyer pays in all cash, they will have an appraisal performed on the house. The appraisal is for the lender to ensure the home's value matches the selling price to prevent the lender from overborrowing. As this is for the buyer's benefit (the loan borrower), they pay for the service. The appraisal consists of comparing the prices of similar homes in the neighborhood, assessing the current market trends, and performing a home inspection.


After the completion of the appraisal, the buyer and seller enter escrow. For real estate transactions, escrow is a legal arrangement for a third party (escrow company or mortgage servicer) to hold any money or property until all parties finalize the negotiations and contract. Escrow protects the buyer and seller if both parties cannot agree upon the contract terms.

Closing costs

The terms for closing costs vary. Buyers and sellers pay different fees within the closing costs, which are determined during negotiations. In California, buyers typically pay mortgage-related fees, including the origination fee and escrow charges. Sellers usually pay for any real estate transfer taxes.

Ready to begin your selling journey?

If you are hoping to sell your San Mateo home, reach out to the experts at Heckenberg Realty. Thanks to the team’s service-first approach, in-depth knowledge of the Bay area, and extensive network, you will be sure to find the right buyer for your home. Get started today!

*Header photo courtesy of Heckenberg & Realty Associates

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Whether you’re a homeowner, navigating all the emotional and physical transitions of selling your house, or a buyer trying to get the best deal in a competitive environment, John offers both the expertise of a seasoned real estate agent and the genuine care of a reliable friend.

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