Your Roadmap for Selling a House

You have questions, and we have answers. Learn the basics here so you can prep for your sale and land the best price possible. Let’s get started!

Seller’s Roadmap

The selling process isn’t overwhelming if you know what’s coming and when. Let’s take this step by step…


1) Interview real estate agents. Bring on the questions! We welcome them! Selling your family home can be a deeply personal and emotional process, so you want the right agent guiding you. When interviewing agents, ask how well they know East Bay property values and trends, how they plan to market your home, whether they use the web, mobile, and other high-tech marketing tools, and ask about their track record.

2) Set the price. This important decision will determine whether your property attracts multiple offers and achieves the highest return.

3) Prepare the property. First impressions can make or break your sale. Declutter and clean. And we mean deep clean. Some potential buyers look everywhere! (Get our cleaning tips here.) Consider repairs, upgrades, and other renovations. Will a kitchen face-lift boost your profit? What about fixing that leaky roof and those scratched wood floors? Ask your agent to help with a cost-benefit analysis.

4) Consider staging. A staged home makes it easy for even the most unimaginative buyer to picture themselves living there. Staging also helps buyers look past defects. In the Bay Area market, a staged home can sell faster and for a higher price. Check with Abio for staging tips and our list of stylish and vetted stagers!

5) Assemble a list of upgrades and legally-required disclosures. We’ll hold your hand through this important part of the process.

6) Write a seller’s letter describing why you loved the house and neighborhood. This is optional, but a nice touch—and sometimes the little touches really count!

7) Advertise your home. Now your agent’s expertise kicks into high gear, using his or her communication and creative skills, contacts, and relationships. The marketing process includes advertising your property on MLS (multiple listing service) and using photographs, slideshows, videos, web pages, flyers, mailers, and more.

8) Show your home. An open house is a staple selling tool, and you should skedaddle while it is happening. We know, it feels weird to no longer have your home as you knew it…and feel like you are living in a hotel!

9) You have bids! Review the offers and counter as appropriate. Factors to consider include the bid price, how the buyer plans to finance the purchase, a request for an inspection (paid for by the potential buyer), and a deadline for accepting the offer. We’re here to advise you.

10) Negotiate. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it—so go for it! Your realtor will take the lead on negotiating on your behalf, so discuss customary costs and terms with them and go from there. This is the time to make a counteroffer to ensure that you are getting the best terms and price possible, including escrow details, cost allocations, deadlines, closing date, seller rent-back agreement, etc.

11) Enter a contract with your best bidder. You now are legally bound to deal with this buyer, although you still can accept backup offers in case your buyer backs out. You’re in escrow! An average escrow lasts 21-30 days.

12) Inspections. Depending on your market, either the buyer or seller hires inspectors to evaluate the roof, basement, heating, and cooling systems, water heater, structure, plumbing, and electrical. In the fast-moving Bay Area market, many sellers provide inspections up-front as disclosures and reports. In our competitive multi-offer situations, buyers who want an edge will have inspections done in advance and then agree to take them home “as-is.”

13) Negotiate. Again. You may find yourself discussing a variety of novel issues that have arisen during buyer inspections. The buyer might ask you to make repairs or financial concessions. Be prepared for this eventuality.

14) Close! In the Bay Area, the buyers will sign their loan documents, and the lender will fund them. Then the escrow company will close escrow and officially record the sale. And we get to hand the lucky buyers keys to their happy new home.