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9 Frequently Asked Questions for First Time Home Sellers in California

Selling a home for the first time may be a bit stressful, as there can be many unknowns. Many first time home sellers don’t know what to expect or don’t know all the components that go into selling their home. 

If you are a first time seller who feels unsure about the whole home selling process, you came to the right place. Here are 9 frequently asked questions from home sellers.

first time home sellers checklist

1. When is the best time to sell my home?

When the best time to sell a home is typically one of the most popular questions sellers ask, however, the answer varies by location. In most areas, the best time to sell your home is in the spring.

For example, June and May are the best months to sell a house in California, while the worst month is January. 

June is the best month to sell based on price, as the median sales price in June is around $21,000 higher than the annual average! May is the best month to sell based on speed, as the median days it’s on the market in May is 8 days less than the annual average.

Since every location is different based on when the best time to sell is, you should talk to your real estate agent to work out the details specific to your case.

2. How is the real estate market right now?

The real estate market is constantly changing throughout the year and can be hard to keep track of. This year, the home prices in California are expected to increase by 7.6%.

Since the market has many factors and is constantly changing, you should identify some of the top indicators on the market condition. These indicators include average days on the market, market absorption rates, average sales prices, and average list price to sales price ratio. 

Be sure to hire a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about the market who can give you information on the current real estate market condition so you don’t have to figure it out all on your own.

3. How should I prepare my home for sale?

There are many must-do’s to do before listing your home for sale. Some of them include:

  • Get professional pictures taken
  • Declutter
  • Decorate
  • Fix any blemishes

Your home must be eye-appealing for potential buyers if you want your home to sell quickly and for the price you are looking for. So make sure you take the time to tidy up and decorate your house in a way that highlights its best features.

4. What information about my home should I disclose to potential buyers?

There are many things you must disclose under your state’s real estate disclosure laws, including:

  • Deaths on the property
  • Roof leaks
  • Lead-based paint (federal law)
  • Known toxins
  • Water damage

These are just a few things on the list, and may not apply to the state in which you are selling in. Make sure to do your research and ask your agent to find out what else you must disclose!

seller's disclosure

In California, sellers are required to provide the potential buyer with a Transfer Disclosure Statement once an offer is accepted. The TDS asks questions about defects in the home that the buyer should know about. Some questions the form asks are about the condition of the smoke detectors, the roof, the electrical wiring, etc.

Sellers in California must also provide multiple supplemental disclosures. Your real estate agent should tell you the specific information about these disclosures, as they vary by location.

5. What is the assessed value and why is it different than what my house is worth?

Assessed value is different from market value. Assessed value is the value placed on a property by a tax assessor for tax purposes. Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value and the local tax rate.

However, the assessed value typically has no effect on what your house is worth to others. 

Many houses are sold for much more or much less than its assessed value. At the end of the day, the amount your house sells for is based on what your buyer thinks your home is worth.

6. How do I determine how much my house is worth?

Many times, people inflate the price of what they think their house is worth based on their personal perspective. However, it is important to try and keep your own opinion to yourself when determining how much your house is actually worth.

The amount your house is worth depends on multiple factors including its size and the neighborhood. To get a good idea of how much your house is worth, you should compare it to similar houses in your area. There are also helpful home evaluation tools to use online. Simply type in your address and it will track your home value. 

7. Should I leave room for negotiations when pricing my home?

Once you determine what your house is worth, it is important to be realistic while deciding on your listing price. Pricing your home too high will turn away buyers, while pricing it too low will result in you not getting the full amount you deserve.

A popular mistake many sellers make is pricing their home a few thousand dollars higher than what their real estate agents recommend. Many times this mistake negatively affects the sale price of the home. Buyers may think the listing price is overpriced and offer a lower price or will not make an offer at all.

In today’s market, the majority of well priced homes will sell very close to the listing price, so there is no need to inflate the listing price. Be sure to discuss with your real estate agent to find the price that makes most sense for both you and potential buyers.

8. How long will it take for my house to sell?

The average time it takes a home to sell in California is 77 days. This includes 42 days to get an offer once you post the home listing, plus 35 days to close on the house. However, there are many factors that affect this timing. These factors include:

  • Market conditions
  • The time of the year
  • The property itself
  • The location of the property

Market your home listing well and price it right to have the best chance of having a fast selling home.

9. What is a real estate agent’s typical commission rate?

The standard real estate commission is between 4-6% in California, with the average being about 5.02%. 

The commission rate that different real estate agents charge varies, so make sure to discuss this rate prior to hiring them. Knowing the rate they charge is helpful so you know how much you will keep and how much you will give the once your home sells.

Next Steps with New Venture Escrow

Once you are ready to sell, it’s time to think about the escrow process and pick out an escrow company! You should do your research and have an escrow company in mind before you list your home for sale so that you can hire them by the time you get an offer.

Here at New Venture Escrow, we make the process stress free for you as our team is very experienced and offer innovative solutions, such as our mobile app VentureTrac4.0, designed to make escrow as easy as ever.

For more information or to get started, contact us at New Venture Escrow!

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