Important Steps in the Home Selling Process

Learn important steps to selling your home

Rear view of a young couple looking at a house
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The home selling process is the same whether you are selling for sale by owner or hiring a listing agent. Certain details may vary slightly among the states, but I will use California as the example since the state usually sets the standard for much of the country. Some jurisdictional differences include the seller hiring a real estate lawyer rather than an agent and the buyer submitting an "intent offer" prior to executing a purchase contract.

To sell your home:

1) Choose a Listing Agent

2) Find Out How Much Your Home Is Worth

3) Get Home Ready for Sale

    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 virtual tour online.
    • Tweak marketing to increase traffic and showings.
    • Confirm that your listing is posted online. Your agent or you should saturate the Internet with photographs and descriptions of your home.

    5) Show Your Home

    6) Receive Purchase Offers and Negotiate

    7) Open Escrow and 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 or 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 California, sellers have the right to cancel the contract.

    14) Sign Title and 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 identification.

    15) Close Escrow

    • Your property deed, reconveyance and deed of trust will record in the public records.
    • The title company will notify you and your agent when it records the deeds.
    • Depending on buyer's possession rights specified in the contract, you may be required to move on the day the home closes.

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

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