Find An Agent
Selling a home isn’t easy. It’s a high-stakes, complex transaction and requires a considerable amount of time and expertise to get a good outcome. If you’re looking to sell your California home for the best price — and minimize stress along the way — you need to find a top-rated real estate agent in your area.
The best California listing agents know exactly what local buyers want and how to reach them. They’ll offer expert advice, guidance, and support every step of the way, from the initial listing all the way through closing.
In fact, sellers who work with real estate agents net 33% more, on average, than those who list on their own.
Price The Home
You need to have data to back up your pricing decisions. With a comparative market analysis, your realtor can help you maximize your earning potential. They’ll have comprehensive data about recent and pending sales, as well as other similar homes listed in your area.
Using comps and their years of experience, your agent can help you decide on a listing price that will help you sell fast, get more money, or both.
Prepare, Market & Show The Home
Buyers now expect houses to be staged. And it pays off for sellers: staged homes sell 86% faster than non-staged homes.
But it’s important to stage your home so that it speaks to your local California market. You don’t want to stage an extra bedroom as a nursery if most buyers in your area are retirees.
No matter what home buyers are looking for, one of the most important parts of staging a home is depersonalizing it. Buyers can’t imagine themselves in your house if it’s full of your family photos or souvenirs from your vacations. Pack those items away as step one of staging the house.
While your agent will take care of most of the marketing responsibilities, you can still contribute. Build up a buzz about your listing by sharing information about showings and open houses on social media.
Your personal network can also connect you to buyers; let your friends and family know you’re selling and see if they know of anyone who’s looking for a new house. You can even offer a small prize — like a gift card to a local restaurant — to anyone who helps you find a buyer.
One of the best things homeowners can do during a showing or open house is to make themselves scarce. Your agent knows how to spot serious buyers and will be able to answer their questions.
Even though you’ve lived in the home for years, that doesn’t make you the best person to try and convince buyers to put in an offer.
Instead of finding time in your schedule for showings and open houses, focus on making sure the house stays clean and decluttered. That way whenever a potential buyer wants to stop by, you’ve done your part to make the home look fantastic.
Take Offers & Negotiate
Once you receive an offer on your home, don’t assume everything is a done deal. Even if you receive multiple offers at your asking price, you don’t have to accept any of them. Negotiating and going back and forth with counteroffers is all part of the process.
Know that even if a buyer won’t budge on their sales price, there are other aspects of the sale you can negotiate to ensure you get a better deal. Your realtor can let you know if making fewer repair concessions or agreeing to an inspection contingency would be beneficial in your situation.
Once all the details are ironed out, you and the buyer will sign a purchase agreement, taking you one step closer to closing the sale.
Appraisals & Inspections
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In most cases, after signing a purchase agreement, the buyer will need an appraisal of the house. Most lenders require that the home is appraised before they agree to give out a loan; they want to make sure the home is worth as much as the mortgage so it can act as sufficient collateral.
Following the appraisal, the buyer has the right to hire an inspector to see what could be wrong with the home that’s gone unnoticed. The appraiser will look at the roof, the foundation, the electrical wiring, the HVAC system, and the plumbing, among other things.
If there are major issues uncovered, expect more negotiations. The buyer is going to use the potential cost of repairs to ask for a lower price (if the purchase agreement has relevant contingencies).
Fill Out Paperwork & Disclosures
Unless you’re transferring the home by court order, as in a divorce, you’ll be required to fill out a Transfer Disclosure statement when selling a house in California. This form will let prospective buyers know about structural issues, damage, neighborhood noise, or damage. You even have to let buyers know if the home is “stigmatized” by a death occurring at the property in the last three years.
You also need to fill out the California Natural Hazard statement to let potential buyers know if the house is in a flood zone or at major risk of fires.
If there are any liens on the home, you may need to let buyers know. They also need to be informed of where to find a listing of local registered sex offenders according to a state registry. Your local realtor can help you determine how much you need to disclose to be compliant with the law.
Once both parties have fulfilled their responsibilities in the purchase agreement, it’s time to close the deal.
During closing, the buyer is entitled to do a final walkthrough to check that the home is still in good condition and that all requested repairs were made and that the home.
Then, both parties sign the final forms to set the Verification of Property in motion. These forms are filed with the county office. Both buyers and sellers will pay final closing costs at this time. If everything goes as planned, the buyer will take ownership of the home and you’ll receive your money.