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Home Selling Path A to Z

The Complete Home Selling Process


Path to Selling a House

Ask your agent to help you navigate the home selling path.

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Whether you are selling for sale by owner as a FSBO or hiring a listing agent, the home selling process is identical. It may vary slightly from state to state, but since California tends to set the standard for much of the country, this format will address how homes are sold in California.

The main differences for you may be whether you hire a real estate lawyer and whether buyers submit intent offers prior to executing a purchase contract, but the basic procedures remain the same.

Here are the steps for selling a home:

1) Choose a Listing Agent

2) Get Home Ready for Sale

3) Figure Out How Much Your Home is Worth

4) Market Your Home

  • You or your agent should identify the sizzling selling points and choose advertising words to sell.
  • Approve your agent's marketing campaign or figure out how to advertise your house for sale yourself.
  • Follow the top 10 home marketing tips for selling your home.
  • Hire a virtual tour company to take quality photographs and put a 360-degree virtual tour online.
  • Tweak marketing to increase traffic and showings.
  • Post internet listings online. Your agent or you should saturate the internet with photographs and description of your home.

5) Show Your Home

6) Receive Purchase Offers and Negotiate

7) Open Escrow / Order Title

  • Your agent or transaction coordinator will open escrow and order a title policy.
  • Write down the contact information for the closing agent.
  • Select a date to close based on when the buyer's loan will fund.
  • Ask for a receipt for the buyer's earnest money deposit.

8) Schedule Appraiser Appointment

  • Clean the house the day before the appraiser arrives.
  • If you receive a low appraisal, ask your agent about alternatives.
  • You are not entitled to receive a copy of the appraisal because you did not pay for it.
  • If the buyer decides to cancel the contract based on an appraisal, ask your agent or lawyer about your rights.

9) Cooperate with Home Inspection

10) Obtain Seller-Required Inspections

  • If your contract calls for a roof certification, hire a reputable company to conduct the inspection.
  • States that allow for termite / pest inspections make these reports public records.
  • The fees for all inspection reports, even if seller-mandated, are negotiable.
  • If your home was built before 1950, a sewer inspection might call for a new sewer line, but trenchless sewers are less expensive to install.

11) Delivery Seller Disclosures

12) Negotiate Request for Repair

13) Ask Buyer to Release Contingencies

  • In California, for example, contracts default to 17 days, at which time, the buyer must release contingencies.
  • If you do not demand a release, buyers are not obligated to provide it.
  • If buyers do not provide a release, in CA, sellers have the right to cancel.

14) Sign Title / Escrow Documents

  • In southern California, you will sign escrow documents shortly after opening escrow.
  • In northern California, you will sign escrow documents near closing.
  • Bring a valid picture ID.

15) Close Escrow

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.

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