Regardless of whether you decide to sell your home for sale by owner, or FSBO, or whether you choose to hire a listing agent or not the home selling process is going to be the same. The home selling process most likely will vary a little, from state to state, but because California sets the pace for most of the country, this post will describe how the home selling process happens in California step by step.
The basic procedures will be identical regardless of whether you employ a real estate lawyer and whether buyers submit offers of intent prior to executing a purchase contract.
Here is the Step By Step Home Selling Process:
Be sure to check out the Home Buying Process.
Step 1. Select a Listing Agent
It is always a good idea to hire a listing agent because the have a responsibility to look out for your best interests and they will represent you throughout the home selling process.
Meet and interview no less than 3 listing agents and negotiate your listing agreement.
Step 2. Get Home Prepared for Sale
Get your home prepared for the sale by cleaning, decluttering and improving curb appeal.
Either ask your listing agent for tips or hire a professional home staging company to prepare for showings.
Prior to selling your home, make needed repairs.
While your home is on the market, make sure you protect your privacy.
If pets live in your home, make appropriate arrangements for your pets.
Step 3. Find Out How Much Your Home is Worth
Overpricing is a home seller’s biggest error. Avoid doing that.
Price your home in accordance with sold homes identified in a comparative market analysis report.
Consider whether the housing market is hot, cold or neutral, and price according to the market temperature.
Step 4. Marketing Your House
Yourself or your agent should select the sizzling selling points and decide upon advertising words to sell.
Either decide on your own or approve your listing agent’s marketing campaign.
Employ a professional company to take quality pictures and perhaps even put a 360-degree virtual tour online.
Adjust 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.
Step 5. Show Your Home
If you’re thinking about lockbox vs. appointments, you’ll have more showings if you let agents use a lockbox.
Your house will show better if you are selling in spring than selling in winter.
It is very tough selling a home during the holidays, regardless of what your agent says to you, because the market is very slow.
You’ve got only one opportunity — and sometimes only three seconds — to make a good first impression.
Get ready for an open house and use the approach sparingly.
Ask for feedback from potential buyers so that you may adjust your price, condition or marketing campaigns accordingly.
Step 6. Get Purchase Offers and Negotiate
Ensure that buyers use the correct form for writing a purchase offer.
Even if you get a lowball offer, negotiate by issuing a counter offer. Don’t just ignore offers.
Ask for a kickout clause or first right of refusal if the buyer’s offer is contingent on selling a home.
Think about making a counter offer contingent on buying a home, if market conditions warrant.
Don’t be afraid to make a full-price counter offer, if you are priced competitively. If you are priced correctly, get ready for many offers.
Step 7. Order Title / Open Escrow
Your agent or transaction coordinator will open escrow and order a title policy.
Document the contact information for the closing agent.
Pick a date to close based on when the buyer’s loan will fund.
Ask for a receipt for the buyer’s earnest money deposit.
Step 8. Arrange For An Appraisal
Clean the house the day prior to the appraiser arriving.
If you receive a lower appraisal than expected, ask your agent about alternatives.
You do not have any rights to receive a copy of the appraisal because you did not pay for it.
If the buyer elects to cancel the contract based on an appraisal, ask your representative about your rights.
Step 9. Work With The Home Inspector
Get prepared for the home inspector.
Ask your agent to provide you with a home inspection checklist so you will know whatitems the inspector will want to view.
Expect that the inspector will require access for an attic inspection and will look for a wet basement; prepare all rooms for inspection.
Get ready for the final walk-through inspection.
Step 10. Get Seller-Required Inspections
If your contract calls for a roof certification, hire a reputable roofing company to conduct the inspection.
States that allow for pest / termite inspections make these reports public records.
The fees for all inspection reports, even if seller-mandated, are negotiable.
If your home was built prior to 1950, a sewer inspection may need a new sewer line, but trenchless sewers are cheaper to install.
Step 11. Delivery Seller Disclosures
All houses in the US are subject to lead-based paint disclosures.
If you are know of material facts, disclose them.
Your title company should provide CC&Rs, but if you are a member of a homeowner association, additional documentation will be required.
Step 12. Negotiate Request for Repair
Ordinarily, sellers do not need to accept a buyer’s request for repair; however, buyers can generally then cancel.
You are entitled to a copy of the home inspection report, if the buyers request repairs.
If you do not elect to make repairs, a buyer may accept a closing cost credit as an alternative.
Step 13. Ask Buyer to Release Contingencies
In California, for example, contracts default to seventeen 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.
Step 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.
Step 15. Close Escrow
Your property deed, reconveyance and deed of trust will record in the public records.
Title will notify you and your agent when it records.
Depending on buyer’s possession rights specified in the contract, you might need to be prepared to move out on the day of the closing.