How To - Sell a House

How To - Sell a House

Here are the steps involved in selling a house (in the United States)..

List Your House for Sale
Pick a Real Estate Agent and list your house. A good agent will provide several services, not least of which is marketing and pricing your house. Pricing is critical, do not underestimate this step. You have now "listed".

Accepted Offer
Potential buyers look at your house and some may make an offer. There's usually price negotiation, handled through your agent, until you get a price both seller and buyer agree on. You now have an "accepted offer".

Engineering Inspection
The buyer will want the house checked, so they pay for an engineering inspection. Their engineer checks your house in detail. When the results come back to the buyer they may try and negotiate fixes that are required. This negotiation can be more involved than the accepted offer negotiation. Once all this is agreed upon you have "passed engineering".

Go to Contract
Now is the time to get a lawyer. Give them the details and they will draw up a contract. It's important to realize that you, the seller, writes the contract. Seller and buyer then negotiate the contract and sign. Buyer pays the downpayment (into escrow) and you have now "gone to contract".

Buyers Find the Money
If the buyer can pay in cash things move quickly to the closing because nobody else is involved. But if the buyer needs to borrow (get a Mortgage) then things are more complex because a Bank is involved. The Bank will require a property valuation before they lend money to the buyer. Bank inspectors will check the house and provide an official valuation. It's this valuation (not the accepted offer) that determines how much the bank will lend the buyer, and thus how able the buyer is to pay.

This is just the final meeting with all interested parties present with their lawyers. Documents are signed, money is exchanged and the deal is done. You no longer own the house. It now belongs to the buyer.

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Content written and posted by Ken Abbott