The Home Selling Process – Step By Step
Selling your home is a big task and your house is likely your biggest asset. In order to succeed you’ll want to be engaged at every step, from preparing it for sale, to pricing it properly, to negotiating, and closing. A great real estate agent will guide you every step of the way. Here is a quick summary of what you can expect in California during the home selling process.
1) Choose an Awesome Listing Agent
- A listing agent will represent you and have a fiduciary responsible for looking out for your best interests.
- Interview agents and meet at least 3. Get a feel for how they operate. Check out any of their current/past listings.
- Negotiate your listing agreement, including the commission rate and length of time the home will be listed (5% for 6 months is the most common).
2) Find Out How Much Your Home Is Worth
- A seller’s biggest mistake is to overprice a home. Many get emotionally involved and mistakenly think their home is worth much more than anything in their neighborhood.
- Price your home in line with sold homes identified in a comparative market analysis report.
- Consider the current state of the market (buyer’s market, seller’s market, or neutral) and price according to the market temperature.
- What’s my home worth?
3) Get Home Ready for Sale
- Prepare your home for sale by cleaning, decluttering and improving curb appeal.
- Consider hiring a professional stage your home, or ask your real estate agent for help with staging.
- Make repairs before listing it for sale. A general rule is to repair anything that is broken or a safety issue.
- If you’re selling a home where pets live, make alternate plans for them.
4) Market Your Home
- You and your agent should identify the home’s best selling points and choose advertising words to sell.
- Audit your agent’s online marketing campaign and tweak it as necessary to increase traffic and showings.
- See how your listing is posted online (just Google your address!).
- Your agent should saturate the Internet with photographs and descriptions of your home.
5) Show Your Home
- If you’re wondering about lockbox vs. appointments, you’ll always get more showings if you let agents use a lockbox. Make it as easy as possible for them to show it to potential buyers.
- Try to allow for agent open houses.
- Ask your agent for buyer & agent feedback. You may need to adjust your price or condition accordingly.
- Selling during the holidays will likely result in a slightly lower sales price.
6) Receive Purchase Offers and Negotiate
- Even if you receive a low-ball offer, negotiate by issuing a counter offer. Don’t ignore offers.
- If your home is priced right, prepare yourself for multiple offers.
- Buying another home? Consider making a counter offer contingent it, if market conditions warrant.
- Don’t be afraid to make a full-price counter offer, if you are priced competitively.
- Remember, a counter offer isn’t just about price, but terms of the sale as well.
7) Obtain Seller-Required Inspections and Disclosures
- You will likely need to pay for a termite inspection.
- Your agent will help with various disclosures, such as lead-based paint, carbon monoxide, Megan’s Law, wire fraud advisory, etc.
- If you are aware of material facts, disclose them. This will decrease your liability and help avoid future legal issues.
- Your title company should provide CC&Rs, but if you belong to a homeowner association, additional documentation will be required.
8) Escrow and TItle
- Upon accepting an offer, your agent or transaction coordinator will open escrow and order a title report.
- Escrow and title companies are neutral 3rd parties in a transaction.
- Escrow and title costs are normally split between buyers and sellers.
- Ask for a receipt for the buyer’s earnest money deposit.
9) Allow for the Appraiser Appointment
- Clean the house the day before the appraiser arrives. You want the highest price possible.
- If you receive a low appraisal, ask your agent about alternatives.
- You are not guaranteed a copy of the appraisal because you did not pay for it, the buyer did.
10) Cooperate with Home Inspection
- Get ready for the home inspector. This is a time when the inspector, the buyers, and their agent need to be in the house alone.
- Ask your agent to provide you with a home inspection checklist so you will know which items an inspector will want to see.
- A home inspector’s job is to be very detailed. Don’t be insulted by them nitpicking the small things. Reasonable buyer’s won’t sweat it.
11) Negotiate Request for Repair
- You are not required to accept a buyer’s request for repair; however, buyers can also cancel the contract. Compromise is key.
- You are entitled to a copy of the home inspection report, if the buyers request repairs.
- If you do not choose to make repairs, a buyer might instead accept a closing cost credit.
12) Ask Buyer to Release Contingencies
- California purchase contracts default to 17 days for a buyer’s inspection contingency. After that period, the buyer should release contingencies.
- Releasing contingencies puts a buyer’s earnest money deposit on the line-should they later cancel the contract.
- If buyers do not provide a release of their contingencies, sellers have the right to cancel the contract.
13) Buyer Loan Documents
- After a buyer’s loan is fully approved by the lender, loan documents will be issued for their signature.
- After signing the loan documents, the loan normally funds 1-2 days later.
14) Close Escrow
- The buyers and their agent will perform a final walk-through inspection, which takes place within 5 days of closing.
- Your property deed, re-conveyance, and deed of trust will record in the public records.
- The title company will notify your agent when it records.
- Depending on buyer’s possession rights specified in the contract, buyers normally take possession the day the deed records.
About Me: I am a full time agent and I dedicate 100% of myself and my time to my valued clients in addition to the San Diego communities that I serve. It is imperative that I continuously evolve with local and national trends in addition to always looking ahead of the industry. It is a must to always provide the best service to my clients, their families and friends.