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Home Selling Process in 11 Steps

If you’re planning to sell your house and looking for the steps in the home selling process, then more likely than not, you have been through the home buying process at least once before. If you find the buying process stressful, then this should serve as a warning that the home selling process can also be equally stressful, if not more. However, with careful preparation and an experienced listing agent at your side, you will be able to get through the process successfully and maximize your profit from the sale.

11 Steps Involved in the Home Selling Process

The home selling process, like the home buying process, involves many steps. From pricing your home right through marketing to the closing day, this step by step guide will help you navigate through the home selling process from start to finish. With care, time, and research, and the help of a trusted real estate professional, you can take control of the home selling process.

1. Representation

While you can sell your house yourself, For Sale by Owner (FSBO) may seem like a good way to save thousands of dollars but it doesn’t come without many challenges.  After all, selling a house is not just about putting a for sale sign in your yard. There are lots of things involved like pricing your house right, marketing, negotiating, and closing.

If you want to save yourself from all the stress, you can always hire a listing agent to help you sell your house.  By hiring a real estate professional to sell your house, your home for sale will get broader exposure, the agent can help you negotiate a better deal, dedicate more time to your sale, coordinate and host your showings, and guide you through the closing process. A real estate professional brings expertise to a complex transaction with many potential financial and legal pitfalls.

2. Pricing Your HomeWhy price your home right?

The secret to selling your house fast is ‘pricing your home right‘.  The right price is one that’s in tune with what similar homes in your market are selling for. Your listing agent is there to help you with market research, data, and accurate home value assessment and recommend the best possible listing price to help your property sell within a reasonable amount of time. Overpricing your home – or underpricing it – can negatively impact its sale.

3. Preparing Your Home

Make sure that your property is in good condition. Problems with electrical wiring or plumbing can affect your home’s value and appeal. It is good to hire a home inspector before you list your home, that way you will know first-hand if your home has issues that need fixing. You can also use it as a marketing strategy because you are being upfront about the property and that will give confidence and peace of mind to your potential buyers.  Neither you nor the buyer will be surprised by unknown problems and it can make the transaction faster and easier.

Clean and declutter and show your home in the best light possible. Make your potential buyers visualize themselves living in your home.  

Here are some helpful tips in preparing your home for sale:

4. Marketing Your Home

When you hired an experienced real estate professional to sell your home, you can be assured that your listing agent has a concise marketing strategy, such as listing on the MLS, hosting open houses, and sending out targeted campaigns to market your home. Your listing agent should also be using professional real estate photography. As most buyers do their home search online, great pictures are crucial in marketing your home. They can drive more traffic to your listing and increase the chances of your home getting sold.

5. Home Showing

Once your home is already on the market, be prepared for open houses and private showings. Opt for a lockbox or keypad to show your home so you’ll get more showings instead of appointments. If you are opting for appointments, be prepared for some buyers to see your home on weekends or weeknight. You will need to be more flexible.

You surely want your home to look at its best when showing it to potential buyers. Make sure your home generates the best first impression. Stage and accentuate your home’s positive attributes.

Also, work with your listing agent to prepare for upcoming open houses.  If you like to have an open house, ask for buyer feedback as you can use them to adjust your price or make more improvements for your home for sale.

6. Purchase and Sale Agreement

Be prepared to receive multiple offers if your home is priced right. Consider making a counteroffer if your price is competitive. Work with your listing agent to negotiate on your behalf to make and accept the best possible counter-offer. Negotiations may go back and forth between you and the buyer before both parties are satisfied. Once you and the buyer have signed the purchase agreement, then it’s considered to be “under contract.”

Here are some basic items that should be included in your purchase and sale agreement:

  • Buyer and seller information
  • Property details
  • Pricing and financing
  • Fixtures and appliances included/excluded in the sale
  • Closing and possession dates
  • Earnest money deposit amount
  • Closing costs and who is responsible for paying
  • Conditions under which the contract can be terminated
  • Contingencies or conditions that must be met for the sale to go through

7. Escrow and Title

Your agent, the buyer’s agent, or the transaction coordinator will open the escrow process as well as order the title insurance for you.  The title company’s first task is to investigate the property’s history of ownership, or chain of title, and identify encumbrances on the title.

8. Home Inspection

Get ready for the home inspector and ask your agent to provide you a home inspection checklist. This checklist can help you understand what the home inspection report will focus on and what you should do to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

Because there are typical issues found during the inspection, check around your home beforehand. Deal with some of the minor stuff so that there will be less in the inspection report to put off your buyer. Tidy areas of your home that they will need to inspect. The basement and the attic will need to be accessed, so make sure they have a path through to water heaters, the electrical panel, heating system, etc.

9. Home Appraisal

An appraiser comes to your house to determine its fair market value. The appraisal makes sure that the negotiated purchase price was fair and parallelled to the actual property value. Be sure that your house is clean and organized before the appraiser arrives, and be sure to ask your agent regarding your rights in the case in which the buyer chooses to cancel the contract based on the appraisal result.

10. Request Release of Contingencies

Contingencies are conditions that must be met before the sale can go through. The most common contingencies include financing, inspection, appraisal, and home sale contingencies. Buyers are free to cancel the contract until these contingencies are released or removed from the contract.

If the buyer had any contingencies in their contract, ask them to “release” them. The buyer isn’t obligated to provide a contingency release if you don’t demand it.

11. Closing

This is the last step in the home selling process. Your listing agent should prepare you by walking you through all the documentation and paperwork you will be reading and signing during the closing. Once everything is signed and verified by all parties, the property has officially been sold.

Your property deed, reconveyance, and deed of trust will go into the public record, and depending on the date of buyer possession (this should be specified in the contract), you might be required to move a day or two after the home closes or even in advance.

The sale proceeds will be wired to your bank account minus agent commissions and other fees noted on your closing documents.

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