28 min read Mar 11, 2022

Selling A House In California: A Comprehensive Guide For Sellers

✍️ Editor’s Note: Houzeo is America’s most advanced home selling website. Houzeo covers all major California MLS’ to give you maximum exposure when selling your house in California for the lowest flat fee.

>> SAVE: Californians have listed $1.3 billion worth of properties on Houzeo.com so far. Start your FREE listing NOW!

Selling A House In California: A Comprehensive Guide For Sellers

Home values in the Golden State have increased by 20.5% in the last year. Thus, now is the best time to sell your house. Here is a comprehensive guide for selling a house in California.

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1. Best Time To Sell A House In California

Selling your house at the right time can fetch you the best possible price. In California, May to July is considered to be the best time for buying and selling properties, though it varies across counties. For instance, in Los Angeles, by selling your home in June you can get up to 2.37% more than the annual average selling price. Also, houses are sold 4 days sooner.

2. Price Your Home Competitively

As a seller, pricing your property as per the market trends is an important step. It varies across states, thus when selling your home you need to be aware of the California real estate prices.

REMEMBER! The purpose of the LIST PRICE is to ATTRACT BUYERS to your listing. It’s not your SALE PRICE!!!

What happens if you under-price or over-price your listing?

If you price it too lowIt is most likely that you will get multiple offers. You’ll likely go for “Highest & Best Offer” or counter the best offers to finalize the sale price with the buyer. And you will sell at market price
If you price it too highYou will get little traffic. It’ll make you drop the price, and you will sell at the market price

Real estate agents create what’s called a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine what’s an ideal listing price for a property. If you are opting to sell your house on your own then you can easily create your CMA with Zillow and Redfin and understand how selling a home in California or any other state works.

» More: How to Price Your Home For Sale in 6 Steps

3. Options For Selling A House in California

You have various pathways when it comes to selling your home in California. Selecting the right one at the right time can help you save thousands of dollars.

Option 1: Sell Your Home For Sale By Owner

One of the ways to bypass the heavy Realtor commission in the state of California is to sell your house For Sale By Owner (FSBO). It is a DIY pathway under which no Realtor or listing agent is involved. Sellers have maximum control over the entire process and thus they have to handle all the proceedings.

The idea of selling your home in California purely FSBO has its drawbacks. Though you save up on the commission money, you will have to handle everything – listing, marketing, negotiations, closings, etc. – on your own.

🚩 Key Downsides of Selling Your Home FSBO:

  • No MLS Exposure: MLS is the most important tool a real estate agent has. Selling FSBO means limited exposure, so there will be less competition for your property. That will likely reduce the selling price. One study found that homes on the MLS sold for 17% more than homes, not on the MLS.
  • No Help If You Need It: If you need help with paperwork, inspections, negotiations, or closing, you’re on your own as an FSBO.

Option 2: List With A Traditional Full-Service Agent

You can always hire a full-service agent to help you sell your home. From listing to closing, the agent will help you with everything. But of course, you’ll be paying a full 2.5% to 3% listing agent commission.

🚩 Key Downsides of Listing With a Traditional Full-Service Agent:

  • Hefty Commissions Will Cost You Thousands: Realtor commissions in California are 5.5% to 6%. That’s thousands of dollars of fees in commissions.
  • Limited Control Over Your Sale: Everything will go through an agent. That reduces the risk that you will do something wrong, but will also limit the control you have over your transaction. For almost everything, including if a counteroffer was submitted, the status of your closing, and how many showings you’ve had, you’ll have to reach out to your agent.
  • Slow & Manual Process: Agents do things manually. A simple price change is several steps – the agent has to talk to you over the phone, create a price amendment, get you to sign it, then they sign it, and only then can they update the price on the MLS.

Best Option: FSBO with a Flat Fee MLS Listing

The average Realtor commission in California is around $30,000. Listing with a high-tech website like Houzeo.com saves you the listing agent commission. In addition, it gets you maximum exposure to the MLS and provides help whenever you need it.

✅ A Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Combines the Best of Both Worlds:

  • Save Thousands in Commission: Instead of paying a 5% to 6% listing agent commission, you just pay a $300 listing fee.
  • Maximum Exposure: You get full exposure to the MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, and hundreds of other websites.
  • Help When You Need It: Services like Houzeo.com offer the “Contract to Close Coaching Package”. So if you need help during the transaction at any time, a licensed broker is there to help you sell!
  • Full Control Over Your Sale: You retain full control over when to sell and who to sell. Houzeo captures all leads and displays them on your dashboard. All offers and showings are summarized online, along with the buyer’s or their agent’s contact info. It doesn’t get easier.
  • Fast Listing & Changes: Houzeo is 100% online, and allows you to request changes instantly. Contracts are auto-generated, and turn-around times are fast!
  • A-la-carte Options: Need a yard sign, ShowingTime, lockbox? You can purchase them easily from your Houzeo dashboard!

Best Flat Fee MLS Listing Company In California

  • Listing Fee: $349
  • Available nationwide
  • 5stars 4.9/5 (3,196 reviews)

Houzeo, an online real estate tech company, provides an unbeatable combination of maximum savings, cutting-edge technology, and 5-star customer support.

💰 Save Thousands on Commission: Houzeo’s plans are typically a small flat fee. This will save you thousands. If your buyer is unrepresented, you save the buyer agent commission as well.

📣 Maximum Exposure: Listings get syndicated to the MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, Trulia, and hundreds of other websites. Houzeo also has nifty social media sharing tools. No other platform gives you this much exposure.

Fast Listing & Changes: Houzeo is 100% online. Listing is easy and changes are fast. So you can focus on what is most important – your sale.

⭐ 5-Star Customer Support: Home sellers across America have rated Houzeo 4.9 out of 5 stars on major review sites like Google and Trustpilot. There is comfort in the fact that when you call, there is a live person picking up the phone on the other line.

📱 Cutting-edge Technology: Houzeo is the most powerful real estate website. Its advanced features include:

  • IntelliList Listing Management System: Lets you manage your listing 100% online.
  • Houzeo Showings: Manage showing appointments online.
  • Houzeo Offers: All offers are summarized online. You can view and compare offers, or counter an offer. In a multiple-offer situation, you can also call for highest and best offers.
  • Buyer Search: Buyers can contact you directly on Houzeo.com instead of going through a real estate agent.
  • Houzeo Settlement Agent Platform: Guides you to your closing.

👉 Our Take: Houzeo.com is our top pick because it delivers an unbeatable combination of savings, tech features, and service of any flat fee MLS listing service website we’ve reviewed.

» SAVE on Houzeo.com: Start your free listing on Houzeo.com today!

  • Nationwide coverage
  • Listings get syndicated to Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, and 100s of other sites
  • Quick listing (within a day with concierge)
  • Savings on commissions
  • 100% online – easy listing, fast changes, online showings, and online offers
  • Mobile app availability

Houzeo has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Google & Trustpilot.

Houzeo is available nationwide.

» More: Best Flat Fee MLS Companies In California

Option 3: Other Discount Real Estate Brokers

Apart from Flat Fee MLS Listing Companies, there are three other types of discount real estate brokers you can choose from.

Flat Rate Brokers

A Flat Rate is a fixed amount the seller pays the broker. Flat rate brokers are predominantly full-service brokers. They handle everything from listing to closing. These fees are fixed and do not change as per the services or the selling price of your home.

A flat rate is perfect for homes priced on the higher end. Let’s say your house is valued at $600,000 and you pick a flat-rate pricing model of a $3500 listing fee, then you can bypass a Realtor commission of around $36,000. 

Apart from the buyer agent commission, you will also be responsible for concessions, escrow fees, and warranties. 

Our Top Flat Rate Broker Pick

Copany LogoLogo image


Company Link
  • Listing Fee: $1,295
  • List within 48 hours
  • No Hidden Fee

If you are looking for a flat rate company for selling a house in California you can opt for HomeListers. Their package is pegged at a flat rate of $1,295. Though it is a little expensive, you get a broker to take care of the whole selling process.

Listed homes on Homelisters.house have a 6-month listing period with unlimited photo uploads. Listing is syndicated to numerous real estate websites, including Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia. A fixed commission of $1,295.00 will be charged if no buyer’s agent is used!

»SAVE: How to Sell a House By Owner

  • No hidden fees
  • California centric
  • Limited customer support
  • Limited coverage in California

We could not find enough reviews on credible review sites to provide a positive or negative rating for Homelisters.house.

They only operate in 10 Southern Californian markets – Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, Mission Viejo, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Aliso Viejo, Ladera Ranch.

Low Commission Real Estate Agents

Low commission Realtors or agents are discount brokers who work on a lower commission rather than the traditional 5-6% commission.

With the rise of the flat fee model and commission-based models, real estate commissions have been falling gradually. This makes low commission discount brokers more relevant to sellers nationwide.

For example, some of them offer full-service packages at 1 or 2% brokerage. This covers everything from listing to closing.

Our Top Low Commission Real Estate Agent Pick

  • Listing Fee: 1.5% of sale price
  • Available in 80+ U.S. Markets
  • Advanced technology

Redfin is one of the best low commission real estate companies out there.

Save on commission fees: When you opt for Redfin over a traditional home-selling method, you can save up to 20% – 30% on the commission fees. Though, trying to provide their service 3x faster than the traditional method could limit their ability to provide you with personalized service.

Additional services: The discount realtor has a thorough listing agreement but it takes approximately 18 days to get a property listed on the MLS. With Redfin, you get add-on services like a professional photographer, MLS listing, open house schedule, yard sign, and much more.

Good technology: It has one of the best technology among different discount real estate brokers. They have a powerful platform that is ideal for full-service brokerage. Redfin houses a fantastic user interface for sellers to make their job easier.

🔍 Explore more: Redfin Reviews: The Reality of 1% Fees, Pros & Alternatives

  • Strong technology
  • Thorough listing agreement
  • Detailed paperwork
  • Holistic services
  • Rebate of 0.5% (in case of Full-Service plan) if you buy and sell with them
  • Cash offer feature available
  • Full-service brokerage
  • Slow listing process
  • Average customer service
  • Limited agent selection

Redfin has an average rating of 3.9 out of 5 on Consumer Affairs.

Redfin has a reach in 80+ Markets giving nationwide coverage.

Virtual Full-Service Brokers

A virtual full-service broker does everything a traditional broker would do i.e. listing, marketing, pricing, negotiating, etc. The only difference is that a virtual full-service broker would do all of these online i.e. virtually.

Because of their cloud-based presence, they have many advantages. Such as lesser fees, discounted commissions, and much better management and marketing support. Many MLS listing companies like Houzeo, also provide full-service options that are 100% online.

Our Top Virtual Full-Service Company Pick

Houzeo is the best virtual full-service provider in California that offers the following services to home sellers:

  • Online showings through Houzeo Showings
  • Mobile Application
  • Fast changes to your MLS listing
  • Listing syndicates to hundreds of other real estate websites, and a lot more

*We could not find any other reputable virtual full-service company in California.

What If I Want To Sell My House Fast In California?

Due to some reasons, a seller may want to sell his/her house fast in California or any other state. Here’s what you can do in such cases:

Sell Your Home As-Is In CaliforniaSelling a home as-is in California can help you save hundreds of dollars by bypassing the repairs. This also ensures that your house is sold fast.

Selling a house as is can be done via a real estate wholesaler as well. A wholesaler is an investor who buys your house in the existing condition and sells it for a higher profit.

» More: Selling A Home As Is: A Step-By-Step Guide For Sellers
Sell Your House For CashIf you want to sell your house fast in California then selling them to cash companies can be a very good option. They can offer you cash right away and ensure your house is sold quickly. There are various types of cash companies that can ensure that the deal is closed instantly.

» More: Reviews of 13 Best Cash Companies
Offer Your House To A FlipperFlippers in real estate are buyers that buy a property in its existing condition, repair it, and sell it at a higher price. Selling your house to a flipper will help you save time and dollars.
    ✍️ Pro Tip: Consider selling your California home to an iBuyer

    iBuyers are companies that will buy your home for cash outright. They use technology to make an instant offer. This gives them an edge over the traditional cash companies. The price is decided with the help of their proprietary algorithm, recent real estate data, and their in-house experts. An iBuyer can offer and close the deal within 24 hours.

    »Explore: iBuyers Reviews: Selling Your House for Cash in 2022

4. Prepare and Market Your House For Sale in California

A clean and well-prepared home combined with the correct marketing strategy can help you attract a large number of buyers.

Get My House Ready

Whether it is California or any other state, you need to take care of certain things if you are thinking of selling your home without a Realtor. Here is what you need to do:

Declutter & DepersonalizeMake sure you eliminate anything that may bring a feeling of personalization from your perspective i.e. you need to make the buyers imagine as if it is their home. This means removing your personal belongings, etc. before the showing.
Make RepairsIf your home requires any necessary repairs, make sure it is done before you start the process of selling. This may help later when the inspection is done.
Repaint NeutralYou can attract a higher number of customers when you paint your home with neutral colors.
Improve Curb AppealGo for clear landscape, fresh flowers, or exquisite paintings because the first impression is everything!
Implement stagingHire a professional who can help you with setting up your home like arranging furniture to make the home look spacious and tidy. Staging costs in California vary across cities and counties. For instance, it costs about $4000 in Los Angeles.

Ways To Market My Home in California

Almost 95% of home buyers search and review homes online. So, being online is the #1 priority for the sellers. A good online marketing strategy can make a difference in getting your house sold.

Here’s what you need to do if you are in for selling a home in California (or any other state):

#Marketing TacticsDescription
1.List on the MLSHomes listed on the MLS sell faster and for 17% more. This doesn’t mean you need to hire a listing agent and pay that extra commission. You can work with discount real estate brokers to get MLS access. A Flat Fee MLS Company like Houzeo can be a very good option to list your home in California.

Houzeo will help you save the hefty Realtor commission and get your property maximum exposure. All of this, just for a small flat fee!

» More: Start Your Free Listing Today!
2.Get a Yard SignOpting for a yard sign can be a good investment when selling a house in California. It can help in attracting buyers from the neighborhood. On a crowded street, an attractive yard sign can drive the attention of potential buyers.

Houzeo’s yard sign can help you in this. Houzeo custom yard sign comes FREE with a selfie and it is available for $49 only!

✍️ Pro Tip: If you secure a buyer from a yard sign, chances are you’ll save on the buyer agent commission as well. In a nutshell, it is worth the $49 investment.

» More: The Importance Of FSBO Yard Signs
3.Share Your Listing on Social MediaShare your property listing on social media. This will include your contact info apart from the listing details. If you share your listing on Zillow or Redfin, all the leads your listing generates will be sold to buyer agents who’ll demand a competitive buyer agent commission. Houzeo, on the other hand, doesn’t sell your information or leads. All buyer leads see your contact info, so you might save on the buyer agent commission.

✍️ Pro Tip: If you secure a buyer from social sharing, chances are you’ll save on the buyer agent commission as well.
4Hire a professional photographerAs a seller, you can hire a professional photographer to create a portfolio of your house. Professional pictures can greatly impact the selling process by attracting more buyers.

Photographers charge on an hourly basis. For example, in San Francisco, you would have to pay around $570 for a two-hour real estate photo shoot. Whereas, you would have to shell out $636 in Los Angeles for the same duration.

✍️ Pro Tip: Professional photographer can collate a portfolio that otherwise may not be possible if you are taking up the job.

» More: Create Your Best Listing Photos
5Run adsWhen selling a house in California, running ads on print and social media can help you attract more buyers.

✍️ Pro Tip: Try to cover as many social media channels as possible to initiate ads for your listing.

With Houzeo, you can market your property to a large audience as it gets listed on the MLS and other real estate websites.

» More: Creative Ways To Market Your House For Sale

5. Manage Showings And Negotiations

Once you have prepared your house for sale in California, showing it to buyers is the next step.

How To Manage Showings When Selling A House In California?

Once your property is ready for showings, it is critical to manage the showings effectively. You can either opt for online showing tools or host an open house.

Online Showing Tools

Online showing tools provide home buyers and their agents with a frictionless way to request and schedule showings.

Houzeo Showings, a cutting-edge solution by Houzeo, helps buyers and buyer agents choose a particular showing slot as stated by the seller. The tool also provides features like rescheduling, updating, canceling, requesting, and more.

1.Home Sellers Can Set Their Showing CalendarBuyers and buyer agents should only be shown times when the property is available for showing. This saves time for all the concerned parties.
2.Buyers & Buyer Agents Can Request & Reschedule ShowingsMake sure that buyers and buyer agents can request showings at available times. In addition, they should be able to reschedule and cancel on an ad-hoc basis.
3.Buyers & Buyer Agents Can Provide Feedback on the ListingFeedback from buyers and buyer agents is critical for home sellers because it allows them to assess their property (priced too high, the backyard needs fencing, rooms need whitewashing, and more). Where the feedback is actionable, small remedies can go a long way in improving showings and attracting top dollar for your property.

🗓️ Houzeo Showings has all the required features and is available on the Houzeo mobile app!

Introducing the Houzeo Mobile App!

  • View your listing
  • Review and compare offers
  • Manage showings with Houzeo Showings
  • Counter an offer
  • NEW! Buyers can now search your property and save it in “Favorites”

Start Your FREE Listing NOW!

Hosting Open Houses

If your house is located in a hot seller’s market like South Lake Tahoe or Malibu then more buyers would be interested in buying them. In such cases hosting an open house would be more feasible.

    ✍️ Pro Tip: You might attract unrepresented buyers, saving you the entire buyer agent commission.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when hosting an open house in California:

Ensure Your House Is ReadyBuyers would not want to see a house with a leaky roof or broken doorknobs. Thus make sure you have fixed all the defects and made all the necessary repairs beforehand.
Choose A Correct TimePeople are busy on weekdays. Thus hosting an open house on weekends, preferably a Sunday, would be best. Also, you need to take care of the time of day. Usually, afternoons are the ideal choice.
Post Open House OnlineAs per the National Association of Realtors, 93% of buyers rely on the internet for their home searches. Thus, posting online will make potential buyers aware of the open house. You can also list your open house on the local MLS, real estate websites like Zillow & Trulia, Facebook, etc.
Give Visitors Their SpaceDuring the open house, you might want to stay away from the property. This would give them the desired space to explore at their convenience. Also, it will help them in visualizing their future in the house.
Get Your Neighbors Involved You can invite your neighbors to the open house. Even if they may not be interested in purchasing your California home, they would spread the word.

How To Negotiate Offers When Selling A Home In California?

Counteroffers and requesting the highest & the best offer are the two tools of negotiations when selling a house in California or any other state.

Most brokers or brokerage companies will give you complex forms to counter an offer, or to request the highest & best one. Houzeo has digitized these, so, you can counter or ask for the highest & best with just a few clicks!

#Advanced TacticWhen to UseHow to Use
1.Counter an OfferSingle or Multiple Offer SituationYour best offer is not just the highest one but is also competitive across several parameters: deposit, financing, inspection contingency, closing timeline, etc. When you want to counter an offer, you can request any of the mentioned parameters updated as per your preferences.

▶️ Learn more: How to counter an offer on Houzeo
2.Request Highest & Best OffersMultiple Offer SituationIf you have multiple offers and a timeline by which you’d like to pick an offer, you can call for Highest & Best offer from all the interested parties.

▶️ Learn more: How to request Highest & Best offer on Houzeo

Also, negotiating offers means focusing on other factors like contingencies, concessions, responsibility, and more.

6. Documents Needed For Selling A House In California

A lot of paperwork is needed to sell a house in California. Though your Realtor takes care of all the paperwork on your behalf, you need to be aware of them.

Seller Disclosures To Sell A Property In California

In California, a seller needs to disclose any information in writing that may affect the buyer’s desire to purchase the property. Failing to do so may attract penalties for the home sellers. Also, the disclosure should happen in the early stages of the purchase. In a way, the disclosure laws are pretty strict in California.

As a rule, a buyer can terminate the purchase deal if the owner is not able to furnish the disclosures before signing the purchase agreement.

Here is a list of seller disclosures you need when selling real estate in California:

Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)It is the document that is used in California to disclose all the details about the property. This could incorporate the structural information, appliances, any defects, deaths (in the last 3 years) on the property, and more.
Natural Hazard Disclosure StatementThe document should be filled out and submitted before the sale. The document is a questionnaire on that is the property located in a flood hazardous area? or earthquake fault zone? and any other hazardous area. 
Megan’s Law DisclosureIt allows the sellers to update buyers about the registered sex offenders near the property which can be found online. 
Military OrdnanceThe seller needs to disclose if any area near the property was used for military training purposes. This is to appraise the buyer that the area could have explosive munitions.
Water Conserving Plumbing FixturesA law in California requires that any home built before 1994 should have an installation of water-conserving plumbing fixtures. Disclosure of this should be made by the seller.
This disclosure documents the agent’s relationship with all the stakeholders involved in the transaction. It is provided to the buyer before signing a Purchase Offer and will go to the seller with the offer.
Carbon Monoxide Detector DisclosureParagraph 7B(1) of the RPA states that the seller will install carbon monoxide detectors if
“required by law.” However, sellers need to provide this only if they are providing TDS as well.
Mello-Roos Disclosure NoticeMello-Ross districts are tax districts created to finance an infrastructure project. An additional tax is levied on these districts. You need to disclose if your California house belongs to any one of these districts.
of Excessive
If your house in California has a presence of mold or water damage that may cause mold formation, then you need to disclose this fact.

» More: Seller Disclosure Requirements in California

Mandatory Documents For California Real Estate Transactions

Review these documents at length and understand their provisions. Here are some key documents you’ll likely need when selling a house in California:

Purchase AgreementIt is a Standard Form of Real Estate contract that details the terms of transactions to which buyers and sellers agree. It contains aspects such as sale price, financing contingencies, property description, etc.
Statement of Closing CostsThis statement summarizes all the expenses involved in the transaction. The document is not complicated and can easily be taken care of.
The DeedThis document enables the legal transfer of title from the seller to the buyer. Read this document carefully, verifying all details including the legal description of the property, the deed book, the deed book page, and the Property Identification Number (PIN), if any.
Certificate of TitleIt allows you to state that you have the right to sell the property.
Bill of SaleInformation about the seller and the buyer with the selling price. This is important as part of the process of selling a house in California because it contains all the base information about the property.

Possible Additional Documents

The below table showcases some more documents that may require in selling your home in California:

Loan PayoffIn the case of a mortgage, you need to provide proper documentation if the disbursement of the loan amount has been completed. Else, you need to provide how much you still owe.
HOA formsIf the house is part of HOA, the seller needs to give the buyer all the documentation on restrictions, fees, financials, and more.
Survey papersThe documentation defines the location and the dimensions of the property. This is important while selling a house in California.
Home InspectionContains all the details about the inspection of the property.
Repairing ProofWhile selling a house in California, if the seller has made repairs to the property before the sale, he/she needs to furnish the relevant documentation.
Home WarrantyContains all the coverage of the property, time span, and cost.
Closing DisclosureProof that the seller agreed to buyer concessions. The disclosure is provided to the lender.
Power of AttorneyIf the property is inherited, then the seller needs to furnish the details of the history and how the property was passed onto him/her.
Title AffidavitsA notarized document that verifies that a seller is the owner of the house, there are no liens, and there is no simultaneous purchase deal.
Correction AgreementIn case there are any errors in the documentation, you may be required to correct those errors.

Bring TWO Forms of Official ID

There will likely be a licensed notary involved in the closing process who’ll require you to swear on your identity. You would be required to furnish identity proof (like a passport, driving license, or any other authorized document) during the process. However, the closing process might also require you to produce secondary identity proof.

7. Closing On Your California Home

The closing process in the state of California is handled either by a title company or an escrow. Your Realtor and settlement agents usually handle the legalities. But you still need to be prepared for a few things during closing.

📝 Note: In Northern California closing is typically handled by Title companies, while Escrow companies handle it in Southern California. Though, we recommend cross-checking the closing party in your area.

Take Care of Title, Appraisal, And Inspection

TitleWhile selling real estate in California, a title company prepares a “Preliminary Title Report” to identify the rightful owner of the property. Title insurance is provided to the buyer. This report is important for the lender to give a loan to the buyer. The seller and buyer can discuss who would pay the title premium. In Northern California, the buyer pays the premium, while in Southern California, the seller pays it.
AppraisalA money/mortgage lender typically goes for a home appraisal to identify what is the appropriate value of a particular property. Based on the outcome by licensed appraisal agents, the lender decides the amount that should be part of the mortgage. This is crucial while selling a house with or without a Realtor in California (or any other state) as it keeps the buyer protected from unwanted sale prices.

Home appraisal costs $300-$500 on average. This depends on various other factors such as locations, size of the house, etc.
InspectionInspection is also part of the process where licensed individuals scan the property for any issues. If there are defects, re-negotiations might take place between the seller and the buyer. The inspection includes everything from property worth, neighborhood, parking space, and more.

Inspection cost in California varies across counties. For instance in Los Angeles, it is around $322.

Overall Cost Of Selling A House In California

It should be noted that Realtor commission and sale price are not the only two things that are involved from a real estate transaction perspective. In California, there are multiple other fees involved while selling a house that should be known to a seller and is crucial for a sale. Here’s a list to get you started:

The list will also help the seller in getting an answer to the question – how much are typical closing costs in California?

Transfer taxTransfer tax is one of the few taxes to be paid while selling a house in California. This is crucial for a real estate transaction when the title of a house is changed. On average, the tax stands at $1.10 per $1,000 of the sale price.

📝 Note: The buyer pays the transfer tax in Northern California, while it is paid by the seller in Southern California. Also, the transfer tax may vary in different cities like San Francisco, etc.
Capital gains taxYou are required to pay a tax on the capital gain of the property. A capital gain is a difference between the amount for which a property was bought and the amount for which the property is sold.
Escrow feeAn Escrow agent/company handles the closing process in California. Therefore, an Escrow agent is important for the transfer of title, and other important tasks. Escrow agents generally hold the concerned property in trust till all the negotiations, inspections, legal work, and closing processes are not completed. The escrow fee is thus to compensate the Escrow agent for the services provided. You need to understand the Escrow Process Timeline in California in detail.
Title feeIn California, you would require to shell out the title search fees which prove that you are the rightful owner of the property. This can be anywhere between $200-and $1000 based on the county and some other factors.
Closing cost concessionSome buyers may ask the sellers to cover their closing costs. If it is accepted by the seller, the cost can vary between 1-3% of the sale price.
City or County transfer feeBased on a specific county or city, there can be a transfer fee involved if the seller is relocating.
Notary feeThis fee is paid to the notary for important paperwork and establishing your identity.
HOA transfer feeApplicable only if your property has an HOA. It is paid by the seller for documentation and registration of the buyer. The fee is around $1000.
Home warranty feeClosing concession fee that is taken up by the seller for the buyer. The fee is based on location and the company providing the warranty. It can cost around $200-1000.
Termite Inspection feeThough this fee seems to be optional, is very common in California. It depends on the location of the property and the loan a buyer is using. The fee is nominal i.e. around $100, but bad inspection results mean you will have to shell out extra bucks.
Natural Hazard Disclosure ReportAs discussed earlier too, this report highlights if the property is in a hazardous area. It includes a detailed report of the hazards that the location is prone to and other nuisances. The disclosure costs around $100-150
Lien release feeIf it is verified that there are debts relating to your property then you will have to pay the dues before sale closure. A lien release document is generally required which proves that all the debts are repaid.

Who Pays Closing Costs In California?

Various closing costs are involved when selling a house in California. Most of them are customarily paid by sellers whereas a few of them can be negotiated.

Closing CostsSeller Responsibility
Realtor CommissionSellers have to pay 5-6% Realtor commission
Escrow FeesSplit between buyer and seller
Title InsuranceNegotiable between buyer and the seller
Survey FeesNegotiable between buyer and the seller
Home Warranty FeeSellers pay the home warranty fee
Home Inspection FeeSellers and buyers can negotiate
Appraisal FeeSellers and buyers can negotiate

How Much Are Closing Costs In California?

The amount of money you will spend on closings while selling a house in California depends on a lot of factors such as Realtors commissions, fees & taxes, mortgage payoff, etc.

You can calculate your closing costs using Houzeo’s Advanced Closing Cost Calculator. The calculations are based on the latest prices and it gives you a very detailed estimate of all the costs involved in the transaction.

» More: Still wondering how to sell a house in California? List it on MLS FSBO

Final Word

Selling a house in California is a complicated process, thus usually requires sellers to hire a Realtor. But due to the hefty Realtor commission sellers are moving away from the traditional full-service pathway.

Many sellers are also opting for FSBO or DIY route. It does save a lot of dollars but limits exposure and increases sellers’ responsibilities many folds. So the next best choice is discount real estate brokers.

Among these brokers, Flat Fee MLS Listing Companies are the best choice. Flat Fee MLS Service Companies like Houzeo allow sellers to control the selling process without compromising on exposure. All of these at a small listing fee!

With Houzeo, you have the option to list your property as an owner and enable a smooth closing process. You do not have to worry about complex processes as the platform is 100% online. It will help in listing your property on the MLS at a flat rate and take care of other tasks that otherwise would require manual intervention. Another big point is that due to platforms like Houzeo, the real estate agent commissions are declining. This is because of the Flat Fee MLS structure that companies are providing.

Check out some of the Houzeo reviews and how it has helped customers around the US.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sell my house in California?

Following are the steps to sell your home in California:
(1) Identify the best time to sell your home in California
(2) Price your home competitively
(3) Choose a suitable way to sell your house in California
(4) Prepare and market your house
(5) Handle showings and offers
(6) Take care of the paperwork involved in the process of selling
(7) Close on your California home

Can you sell a house in California without a Realtor?

Yes, you can sell your house in California without a Realtor. You can bypass the traditional pathway by opting for a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) or discount brokers.

Houzeo's Flat Fee MLS Services are the best available in the state of California. Houzeo ensures that your house gets listed in less than 48 hours on the local California MLS' as well as on the major listing websites like Zillow and Trulia.

Do you need a lawyer to sell a house in California?

No, you don't need a lawyer for selling a house in California.

What are closing costs in California for sellers?

Closing costs in the state of California depend on a lot of factors such as sale price, mortgage (if any), etc. You can use Houzeo's Advanced Closing Cost Calculator to calculate your closing costs accurately.

Is escrow required in California?

Escrow is needed only when selling a house in Southern California.

Who chooses title company in California?

The title company is chosen by the buyers in California.

What needs to be disclosed when selling a house in California?

You need to disclose the following things when selling a house in California:
(1) Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)
(2) Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement
(3) Megan’s Law Disclosure
(4) Military Ordnance
(5) Water Conserving Plumbing Fixtures
(6) Agency Disclosure
(7) Carbon Monoxide Detector Disclosure
(8) Mello-Roos Disclosure Notice
(9) Disclosure of Excessive Mold

Is it a good time to sell your house in California?

In California, May to July is considered to be the best months for buying and selling properties.

Who pays escrow fees in California?

Escrow fees in California are split between the buyer and the seller.

Who pays for title insurance in California?

Title insurance is negotiable between the sellers and the buyers.

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