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The Home Selling Process: A Guide for Everyone


There are many good reasons to choose to sell your home. You might be moving, have a change in your life situation, or just feel like it’s time for a change. If you’ve never been through the home selling process before, it can seem a bit daunting. Fortunately, this guide can help you when you are thinking of selling your home.

Table of contents

  1. How do I list a home?
  2. Home staging
  3. What paperwork is there when selling a home?
  4. What are the fees when selling a home?
  5. How is home value determined?
  6. Are there ways to improve my home value?
  7. When is the best time to sell my home?
  8. Can I sell my home while it has a mortgage?
  9. What is the home inspection process for sellers?
  10. Should I sell my home online?
  11. Do I need a realtor to sell my home?

I’m thinking of selling my home. Where should I start?

The home selling process is largely a matter of figuring out if you are ready and then working to maximize the amount of money you make on the sale. Figuring out where to start is a matter of making an informed decision and then deciding what you’ll be able to do in order to get more money on a timeframe that’s acceptable to you. As you can imagine, selling is a little different for each person, but every seller has to start with a single choice. If you can determine that it’s the right time to put your home on the market, you can begin the home selling process.

home selling process

What is the home selling process?

What is the process of selling a home? Simply put, the home selling process is that of making a sale. As with any other sale, you’ll need to put the property up for sale, make sure that others know that it is available, and work to maximize its value. Unlike other types of sales, though, you will have to jump through a few extra hoops and deal with some serious legal considerations.

Listing your home

Listing your home is the first step on your path towards selling your home. While the term might sound like it’s particularly complex, the truth is that this is just the industry term for putting your house up for sale. Depending on how you choose to move forward, this might be as simple as putting a sign up in your front yard or as complex as working with a realtor to ensure that your home receives the maximum amount of exposure. Putting your home on the market is simply the part of the process where you make the official decision to offer your home up for sale.

Marketing your home

It’s rare that your home will be the only one on the market in your area, so you’ll have to work to ensure that potential buyers are attracted to your property. For most, this means taking some time to properly market your home. This will be a matter of both making sure your home gets the right type of exposure and preparing your home to be seen. For many, the marketing process is when they transform their house from a place that felt like a home to a product that’s meant to be viewed on the market.


Once you’ve started to market your home, you’ll start to get contacted by interested parties. People do not generally buy homes sight unseen, though, so they’ll want to visit. The process of showing is essentially opening up your home so that others can visit and decide whether or not the property can work for their needs. It has become increasingly popular for motivated sellers to stage their homes – that is, to decorate and organize their homes in a way that is more attractive to buyers. The goal is to help a potential buyer to see himself or herself in your home.

Home inspection

Once a buyer becomes more serious about the home, he or she will make an offer on the house. The vast majority of offers are contingent on a home inspection. Inspections are a chance for buyers to take a closer look at your home and to determine whether the property’s current state of repair is worth the price being asked. It’s normal for potential buyers to ask for certain flaws to be fixed at this point, or to renegotiate the price. Once the inspection is finished, you will generally know whether or not you will be able to successfully complete your sale.


The end of the home sale process is closing. For a seller, this usually just means filling out a lot of paperwork. You’ll be completing the legal process of turning over your property to another person, certifying that you have the right to do so, and acknowledging that you are receiving money in exchange. Closing tends to be a little more complex on the buyer’s side, but the end of the process is always the same. Once you are done closing, you’ll turn over your keys and receive the agreed-upon compensation for your home. This can be an incredibly emotional moment for some and always represents the end of the process.

How do I list a home?

If you want to sell your home, you’ll want to make sure that it’s listed. When most people talk about listing a home, they’re talking about getting on the MLS. Getting on the MLS is really as simple as paying a fee, but you’ll have to do quite a bit of work to enter your information and make your home look attractive. That’s why it’s usually a good idea to work with a realtor, since they will be able to list your home and ensure that the maximum number of eyes are on it at any given time.

home selling process

Home staging

Staging is the process of changing your home’s decoration to attract buyers. Staging is often done professionally, but those trying to save money can do it themselves. For most, staging is a matter of maximizing space, minimizing clutter, and removing personal effects to create more of a blank slate within the home. If you choose to stage your home, you’ll be attempting to allow prospective buyers to see the potential in your home.

What paperwork is there when selling a home?

You should always remember that the process of selling a home is, beyond anything else, a legal process. That means that you’re going to fill out an awful lot of paperwork during the sale. Some of this paperwork will be purely contractual, like the agreement between the seller and the real estate agent or between the buyer and the seller. There will also be forms disclosing certain types of maintenance that have been done, forms certifying that the property is being sold, and even forms that certify your right to sell. Each piece of paperwork goes to prove that you both have the right to sell the property and that both parties understand exactly what is being sold.

What are the fees when selling a home?

Perhaps the most misunderstood part of selling a home is the costs that are associated. When you choose to sell, you’re going to pay everyone who put in work to make the sale go through. This means paying money to the company that ensured that your title was clear, money to anyone who did an inspection for you, money to the lawyers who put together the agreement, and money to the real estate agent. While some try to skip the latter cost, the truth is that working with a real estate agent is the best way to deal with all of the paperwork and fees, as they’ll help to streamline the process in a way that will make it less stressful for all involved.

How is home value determined?

One of the toughest parts of selling a home is figuring out exactly what it’s worth. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as an inherent value for a property. There are several factors that might play a role, some of which are within the owner’s control and a handful that are not. Understanding these factors will help you to determine when to put your home on the market and how to settle upon a reasonable price.

The market

The market can best be defined as the aggregate of all of the homes being bought and sold in your area at any given time. The market is largely what determines the price of your home, because it determines how likely someone is to be interested in buying your home. When you are in a seller’s market, it means that there are more people interested in buying than there are in selling. A buyer’s market, conversely, is a market in which there is an excessive amount of home inventory available. You will generally get the best possible price when there are more people interested in buying a home in your area than there are homes available for sale.

The property

While homes don’t necessarily have an inherent value, your property will tend to have a large impact on the final value. Things like size, location, number of rooms, and even the name of your neighborhood will impact how likely your home will be to sell. While you can’t necessarily make your home larger or move it to a new neighborhood, you can make internal improvements that give the home a greater sense of value to potential buyers. The more up-to-date and reliable that your property seems, the more likely it is that a buyer will be interested in paying the price that you want.

Comparable properties

You should also remember that the home selling process is a competitive process. Buyers are always looking to find the best deal that they can get for their money, and what they base their assumptions on is the amount that others have paid for similar homes. These similar homes, called comparable properties, are going to set a baseline for what you can expect to make from your home. If you are selling a house for more than the price of a comparable home, you’ll have to show ways that your home differs from the others. Failure to do so means that the home that costs the least will always be the home that sells first.

Are there ways to improve my home value?

Since your property plays a rather large role in how much you’re going to get for your home, you should always look at ways to improve your home value. Depending on how much money you are willing to invest, you can make anything from very small changes to giant renovations in order to increase your home value. Sometimes little things like taking care of nagging repairs or refreshing the paint of your home can make a huge difference, while others home might require remodeling an out-of-date kitchen or putting in new amenities in order to meet the standards of the buyers.

home selling process

When is the best time to sell a home?

One of the things most typically sought after by sellers is an ideal time to put their home on the market. Unfortunately, there’s not a single calendar date that’s going to guarantee that you will make a better profit. Instead, the best times to sell are when people are either more likely to move or more likely to have money. As such, putting your house on the market around tax season can help you to find buyers who are getting their tax returns and putting your home up in the summer will attract those who don’t want to interrupt the schedules of their school children. The best time to sell, though, is any time when there’s a healthy number of buyers and relatively little competition on the market.

Can I sell my home while it has a mortgage?

You can absolutely sell your home when you have a mortgage. In fact, selling your home with a mortgage is incredibly common and done by more people than you might expect. When you choose to sell your home with a mortgage, you’ll have to remember that the bank which holds your mortgage will get paid before you get paid. The biggest difficulty you’ll face when figuring out how to sell a home with a mortgage is often paying off the lender, though. You’ll need to get a payoff amount and ensure that you have enough money to pay them at closing. Beyond that, the process of how to sell a home with a mortgage is the same as selling without a mortgage.

What is the home inspection process for sellers?

The home inspection process is interesting for sellers. Technically speaking, you aren’t required to have a home inspection at all. If you do get an inspection, you’ll hire someone to come out and check out your home. When he or she is done, the inspector will give you a list of things that may need to be fixed. Undertaking the home inspection process allows you a chance to tackle these issues before your home goes on the market, which in turn makes the property more attractive to buyers.

Should I sell my home online?

Selling your home online is a great idea – at least if you do it correctly. The vast majority of listings today are found online, so you’ll be hurting yourself if your home isn’t listed on a website. If you work with a real estate agent, your agent will make sure that your site is listed on relevant sites. If you work on your own, though, you’ll want to list on as many popular real estate sites as you can afford. Remember, though, that there are plenty of scams online and to exercise proper discretion at all times.

Do I need a realtor to sell my home?

When asking “Do I need a realtor to sell my home?”, you’re really asking if you need help. While you can do it on your own, an agent will make the process much easier and often much more profitable. Real estate agents are professionals, after all, and they understand the ins and outs of the process. Working with an agent gives you access to more prospective buyers and, perhaps most importantly, allows you to spend less time working on selling your home. Unless you can make the sale a full-time job, it’s recommended that you work with an agent to sell your home.

home selling process

Are you ready to sell your home?

Selling your home can be a difficult process, but it’s much better when you have an agent. A good agent will not only walk you through this process, but they will take care of most of the heavy lifting. When you’re ready to sell your home, make sure to contact CENTURY21 Northwest and try out our instant home evaluation tool to see what your home could be worth.


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