Selling a home might seem like a pretty complex process, and it certainly can be if you’re not prepared or aren’t sure what to expect. But if you take some time to prepare and read up on the home-selling process, you’ll find that it’s pretty straightforward.
Here are 10 simple steps to selling a home in LA.
Step 1: Find a Listing Agent
This is the #1 most important step. Why? Because when you enlist the help of an agent, you know you’ll get the next nine steps right! A good selling agent will walk you through the entire home-selling process to make sure you’re on track, you’re making financially smart decisions, and you ultimately sell your home as quickly as possible for the greatest amount of money possible.
Step 2: Consider Repairs or Improvements
One of the first things your agent will likely do is take a walk through your home to see what looks good… and what might need some work. Your agent might make some recommendations, like painting brightly-colored walls, refinishing worn floors, replacing old hardware, or possibly even some bigger improvements, depending on your goals, budget, and the overall condition of your home.
A good agent can also let you know which improvements are worth the time and money… and which are not.
Step 3: Price Your Home
Once you’ve made any necessary or logical improvements or updates, it’s time to determine how much your home is worth. Guess what? Your agent is about to come in handy again! An experienced local agent will be able to help you find a price that strikes a balance between being competitive (and appealing to buyers) and profitable.
Remember, the value of your home is determined solely by what a buyer is willing to pay for it—not by what you think it should be worth, what you paid for it, how much you owe, or even what your neighbor’s home sold for—which is why automated estimators will NOT be as accurate as a Realtor who understands the local market.
Step 4: Stage and Prepare Your Home
Before you launch off into listing and showing your home, you want to make sure it’s really looking its best! This is likely going to be the most work on your part—you might need to break out the bleach and start scrubbing—but it’s a very important step. You can start by doing some decluttering, getting rid of anything you’re not using or that is taking up too much space. And yes, you are going to want to do a deep clean, too.
Next, your agent will make some staging tips and recommendations, which could mean moving furniture, removing or adding decor, or even adding place settings to an unused dining room table. At this point, your agent will likely want to have a professional photographer come in to take some pictures, too.
Step 5: Market Your Home
They key to selling a home for top dollar is finding the right buyers. And the more buyers you tell about your home, the more likely you are to find that right buyer. Marketing is where your agent’s experience, skill, and professional network are really going to come into play; a successful local agent is going to have a TON of marketing and advertising resources at their fingertips and will be able to get the word out about your home quickly and to a huge array of buyers.
Step 6: Show Your Home
If your agent’s done their job right, you’ll likely have several interested buyers who want to come take a look at your home. Keep your home ready and your schedule flexible to be able to best accommodate buyers; you don’t want to discourage anyone from falling in love with your home in person!
Your agent will likely handle the showings themselves, which leaves you two jobs: ensure your home looks (and smells) awesome… and make yourself scarce!
Step 7: Negotiate and Accept an Offer
If a buyer loves your home, their agent will likely submit an offer to your agent within a few hours or days of the showing. This offer will be a formal contract known as a Purchase and Sale Agreement, and it’ll have a number of details, not just a price. When you receive an offer, you and your agent should review all the fine print—the price, the closing dates, any contingencies, and buyer financing.
At this point, you have three options. You can reject the offer (if the price is far too low or the buyer doesn’t seem qualified), you can accept the offer (if everything looks good), or you can return the Purchase and Sale Agreement with modified terms—otherwise known as a counteroffer. Should you submit a counteroffer, the ball’s in the buyer’s court and they may accept or issue another counteroffer. This back-and-forth of counteroffers is known as negotiation.
Step 8: Cooperate with Inspections & Negotiate for Repairs
Once you and a buyer come to an agreement and both sign a Purchase and Sale Agreement, the buyer will likely want to move ahead with an inspection and appraisal. Your job during this process is basically just to keep your home clean and in good condition.
Should any issues come up in either the home inspection or the appraisal, the buyer may request repairs, ask for credits (i.e. you pay some of the closing costs), or require a price reduction.
Step 9: Enter Escrow
This will likely be happening around the same time as the inspection and appraisal. You or your agent will arrange to have an escrow account opened. An escrow account is basically a place where any funds are kept during the selling process—so you’re not holding onto or responsible for a buyer’s money.
During this time, you’ll likely have some additional paperwork to fill out, and you may be required to obtain additional information, certifications, or inspections. On the flip side of the transaction, the buyer will be working to get their loan or financing finalized.
Step 10: Close!
On closing day, you’ll meet with the buyer, your agents, and your attorneys to sign all the legal documents related to the transfer of the property and its title. Once the final signatures are complete, you’ll hand over the keys to your buyer and get a check for the equity of your home (less your closing costs, of course).
Congrats! You just sold your home!