by Kelsey Lane

Various reasons may be prompting you to sell your home, or to look into the possibility of what it would take to sell it. Some examples would be clients who need to move further away from the urban center to get more space, or to downsize after kids going to college, etc. Others may be going through a life transition that is a catalyst for change to their housing needs. Whatever the situation, it can be helpful to know the steps involved in selling your home.

1) Schedule a preliminary walk through with your Realtor 

The first step is typically to have a trusted Realtor that you know or that you've been referred to come to take a look at your house, so they can help you with a list of what preparation work would need to be done in advance of selling. The Realtor can help you determine a budget for any prep work, and give you an idea if you'd be coordinating the work or if their team handles it.


2) Comparable sales report

Enlist the Realtor's help to give you a report of an average of the sales prices in your area for similarly sized homes with up to the minute data. And concurrently, a report of home sale prices in the area you'll be moving to (if you're moving well out of the area, your Realtor can give you a referral to a good agent in the new area, who can provide this report).


3) Start organizing, packing and storing

We typically advise clients to pack away 1/3 of their belongings if they'll be living in the home while it's on the market. If you move completely out of the house before putting it on the market, you'll receive the highest price for your sale. Circumstances don't always allow for this, but it's the most profitable way to sell a house.


4) Perform priority repairs and remodeling work, if doing.

If you've moved out already your Realtor team will likely coordinate any repair work that you've decided to do. If you're still living in the home, you may need to personally collect bids from contractors to get everything going.


5) Cleaning, staging, inspections, and disclosures

These all belong in the same phase because they take place around the same short timeframe the week prior to going on the market. You'll be filling out your disclosures while work is being done in your home. Staging is highly recommend -- it's documented that your market time will be shorter, and your net profit will be significantly higher. Having inspections done ahead of time also helps you in the long run - your negotiating power is higher since there are no surprises and it puts you in control of owning the documents that note the condition of the home.


6) Launching the listing

Your Realtor will be putting your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and employing a full panel of marketing strategies to draw in showings and offers. During this time period, potential buyers and their agents will be making appointments to tour the property, and your Realtor will give you updates and feedback about the showings.


7) Negotiating an offer

If your price is in line with the market, given the condition and location of your home, you'll likely have a buyer in contract during a standard amount of days for your area. Check with your Realtor to find out the typical days on market for your neighborhood.


8) Escrow time period

Once you have a signed contract, it takes anywhere from 10 days to close (for a cash offer) or up to 30-45 days for a closing involving a buyer who's getting a loan. At the beginning of escrow the buyer's good faith earnest money deposit will be sent in to the escrow/title company and will stay there until closing time. During this time, often repairs are re-negotiated as well. Mostly, it's the time period for the buyer to finalize their financing.


9) Closing and recording

Right at the very end, you'll do your final sign-off of closing documents. Don't forget to call your utilities and let them know to release it out of your name on the estimated closing date. Make sure all your keys are at the house or with the Realtor, and generally sweep and wipe down any surfaces to remove significant debris (have the yard tidied up as well). The buyer will send the rest of their downpayment in to the escrow/title company. Once their loan funds arrive at the escrow/title company the transaction will be recorded at the local county level. Then it will be closed!



Kelsey Lane has been a Realtor in the Silicon Valley since 2003 and is a Master Certified Negotiation Expert through the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, specializing in listings. She works at Compass. She is also coaching certified through the Life Purpose Institute and approaches her real estate business through the eyes of a life coach. Cal-DRE #01390557