29 min read Nov 22, 2022

Selling A House In California: 7 Things You NEED To Know

Selling a House in California

» Jump To: Best Time to Sell | Pricing | 3 Ways of Selling a House in California | Prepping & Marketing | Managing Showings & Offers | Dealing with Paperwork | Handling Closing | Final Word | FAQs

California home values increased by 20% between Q1 2021 – Q1 2022. But, due to rising mortgage rates, real estate prices in the Golden State may decline in 2022 and 2023. If you are planning on selling a house in California, it is best to do it now.

1. When is the Best Time to Sell a House in California?

The home-buying season in California starts in late spring and runs throughout the summer, peaking somewhere between May and June. These are the best months to sell a house in California. To make the best of this magic window, list your home in April. You can get up to 5% more than the asking price.

21% of the homes are listed on a Thursday as they sell quickly and are more likely to sell above the list price.

So the best time to sell a house in California is May or June on a Thursday. Several other factors like holidays, the start of school, etc. should also be taken into consideration.

Is it a Good Time to Sell a House in California?

Yes. Never try to time the market – in the long term, that’s a difficult strategy.

Mortgage rates are on the rise and home prices are expected to cool down in 2022 & 2023. Real estate commissions are declining. So, if you’re ready to sell your California home, list now.

2. How Do I Price My Home Competitively?

Pricing your home competitively is critical to a successful sale. The good part is it is simple to arrive at a list price. An analysis of the current active and recently sold similar California real estate listings in your neighborhood will get you close. And you can refine the price further to nail down the exact list price.

In a hot sellers’ market like California, you can price your home up to 10% more than the neighborhood prices because of limited inventory and competing buyers.

In a buyer’s market, you need to set your list price slightly lower than the competition as there will be more homes for sale and lesser buyers.

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 lowYou will get multiple offers. You’ll likely call for “Highest & Best Offer” or counter the best offers. 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 a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine an ideal listing price. If you are opting to sell your house on your own then you can easily create your CMA and understand how selling a home by owner in California works.

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

3. How to Sell a House in California?

You have several options to sell your house in California. For most sellers, we’ve compiled the best ones below:

3.1. Sell Your California Home For Sale By Owner

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is a DIY method of selling property without any third-party help. This means that there is no seller agent involved in the process.

By selling FSBO in California, though you save up on the listing agent commission, you have to handle everything – from listing to closing – on your own.

✍️ Note: Though the seller will save on listing agent commission, buyer agent commission will still have to be taken care of unless you find an unrepresented buyer.

» For Sale By Owner Websites: Check out the best For Sale By Owner websites in 2022!

🚩 Key Downsides of Selling Your Home in California For Sale By Owner:

  • No MLS Exposure: MLS is the most important tool an 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 a For Sale By Owner.

» How to Sell a House in California by Owner: Check out how you can sell a house in California as an owner!

3.2. List With a Traditional Full-Service Agent

A full-service Realtor will handle everything for you – right from listing to closing. But you’ll be paying a full 2.5% to 3% listing agent commission.

In the traditional sense, a seller has to pay 3% of the sale price to the listing agent and 3% to the buyer agent. And even if you find an unrepresented buyer, you’re still on the hook for the full listing agent commission.

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

  • Hefty Commissions Will Cost You Thousands: Average real estate agent commission in California is 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: Most real estate agents in California 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.

3.3. Best Option: FSBO with a Flat Fee MLS Listing

The average Realtor commission in California is around $48,000 (based on the median home value in California). 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 $340 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

BEST FLAT FEE MLS LISTING SERVICE

Houzeo.com

Houzeo Logo
  • Listing Fee: $349
  • Available nationwide
  • 5 Stars 4.9/5.0 (out of 3,533 reviews)

Why Houzeo is #1: Houzeo provides the best combination of max savings, max exposure, cutting-edge tech, and 5-star customer service.

Packages: Houzeo offers 4 Flat Fee MLS packages.

  • Bronze Package – $299: It is best for selling a lot. Your listing gets syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Redfin, and more.
  • Silver Package – $349: This includes everything competitors like Fizber.com charge $399 for. In addition, you can make unlimited changes to your listing.
  • Gold Package – $429: It is Houzeo’s signature package and includes all the technology Houzeo is known for: Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and Digital Transaction Management.
  • Platinum Package – $999+: It includes the assistance of a licensed broker to help you with negotiations, disclosures, and closing.

Custom Yard SignTo maximize exposure, Houzeo offers custom “For Sale” yard signs. It costs $49 and comes free with a selfie!

👉 Our Take: We recommend the GOLD plan. You’ll have access to Houzeo’s cutting-edge technology, making managing showings and offer negotiations easy!

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

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

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

Houzeo is available nationwide.

» Flat Fee MLS California: Research Best Flat Fee MLS Companies In California

3.4. 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.

Option 1: Flat Rate Brokers

Flat rate brokers are predominantly full-service brokers i.e. they handle everything from listing to closing. They charge a flat rate which is essentially a fixed amount that does not change as per the services or the home value.

A flat rate is perfect for homes priced on the higher end. Let’s say your house is valued at $700,000 and you pick a flat-rate pricing model of a $3,500 listing fee. If you opt for the traditional agent route, you would have to pay a realtor commission of around $21,000.

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

Our #1 Pick for a Flat Rate Company

Good Customer Rating

CA Flat Fee

CA Flat Fee - Selling a house in California
  • Fee: $5,000
  • List within 48 hours
  • 5 Stars 5.0/5.0 (out of 58 reviews)

Why it is our top pick: CA Flat Fee has an excellent customer rating and good local coverage in California. The customer testimonials show their clients had a good experience working with their full-service realtors.

Pricing: CA Flat Fee has only one flat rate package.

  • CA Flat Fee Package – $5,000: With this flat rate, sellers get a full-time agent representation, professional real estate photography California, MLS listing, negotiation support, and hosting showings. The agents also handle the paperwork and the closing process.


👉 Our Take: CA Flat Fee charges more than typical flat rate brokers in California. We recommend CA Flat Fee only if you are selling a high-end property. It will ensure you get maximum savings.

  • Decent coverage in California
  • Good customer reviews
  • Low on technology
  • Expensive than other flat-rate brokers

CA Flat Fee has a 5 star rating on Google.

CA Flat Fee covers the following areas in California:

  • Los Angeles
  • Covina
  • Pasadena
  • Monrovia
  • Duarte
  • Glendora
  • Rancho Cucamonga
  • El Monte
  • Alhambra
  • Arcadia

Option 2: Low Commission Realtors

Low commission Realtor or agents are discount real estate brokers who work on a lower commission rather than the traditional 3% commission.

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

Generally, low commission Realtors in California work at commissions like 1%-2% instead of the traditional 3%.

Our #1 Pick for a Low Commission Company

Nationwide Coverage

Redfin

logo image
  • Listing Fee: 1.5% of the sale price
  • Available in 80+ U.S. Markets
  • 3.5 Stars 3.7/5.0 (out of 161 reviews)

Why It’s #1: Commission charged by Redfin is more affordable than other low-commission Realtors.

Pricing: Redfin charges a 1% listing fee. But it is subject to the condition that you must buy with Redfin within 365 days of the closing. Else, you will be charged 1.5%.

👉 Our Take: Redfin would be an ideal choice for regular home sellers. For an investor, a real estate wholesaler, or a home flipper Houzeo’s affordable flat fee MLS listing plans would be the go-to choice.

» Redfin Reviews: The Reality of 1% Fees, Pros & Alternatives

  • Strong technology
  • Detailed paperwork
  • Cash offer feature available
  • Thorough listing agreement
  • Rebate of 0.5% (in case of full-service plan) if you buy and sell with them

Redfin has an average rating of 3.7 out of 5 on Consumer Affairs.

Redfin has a reach in  100+ U.S. markets, giving nationwide coverage.

Option 3: Virtual Full-Service Brokers

A virtual full-service broker, as the name suggests, provides all the services, but virtually. This means, there is no physical in-person support.

Lesser fees, good technology, innovative marketing strategies, and better management are some of their key features. Most of these brokers are slowly transitioning into a cloud model to enhance their services.

Our #1 Pick for a Virtual Full Service Company

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

  • Online showings through Houzeo Showings
  • Houzeo Mobile App
  • 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.

How do I Sell My House Fast in California?

Here are three options to sell your house fast in California:

1.Selling Home As Is in CaliforniaSelling a house “as is” means that you sell without any upgrades or repairs. An example could be wholesaling real estate. This technique can help homeowners save some money.

» Selling a House As Is in California: A Comprehensive Guide for Californians
2.Selling Your House for CashSellers who are in desperate need of money usually prefer cash companies to sell their houses. Though the process is quick, a home seller might end up having less money than the market price of the property.

» Cash Home Buyers California: Discover California’s Best Cash Home Buyers
3.Offering Your House to a FlipperHome flippers are the ones who are involved in flipping houses in California 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 both time and dollars.

» How to Flip a House: An Introductory Guide for Beginners

» Sell My House Fast California: Know How to Sell Your House Fast in California and for the Most Cash!

    ✍️ Pro Tip: Consider selling your California home to an iBuyer

    iBuyers are companies that will buy your home for cash outright and close quickly.

    » iBuyers Reviews: Selling Your House for Cash in 2022

4. How to Prepare and Market Your Home for Sale?

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

4.1. Getting California Homes Ready to Sell

Preparing your house for showings is the best way to increase the chances of selling it fast. Some standard preparation pointers can be taken care of while selling your home in California. These are:

  • Declutter & Depersonalize: Tidy up your place and remove the element of personalization. This means removing personalized items such as photos. It will allow potential buyers to visualize their future in the house.
  • Make Repairs: If there’s anything glaringly wrong, take care of it early. For instance, a squeaky doorknob will not be overlooked by potential buyers. It is best to get such defects fixed.
  • Repaint Neutral: Paint your house in neutral colors, as it appeals to a larger pool of people. This will help in attracting more buyers.
  • Improve Curb Appeal: Go for clear landscapes, fresh flowers, or exquisite paintings because the first impression is everything!
  • Implement Staging: The best way to sell a property is by hiring a home staging professional. They would be able to utilize the spaces and furniture cleanly and attractively. Staging costs in California vary across cities and counties. For instance, it costs about $4000 in Los Angeles.

» Home Staging California: Check out the best home staging companies in California.

4.2. Powerful Ways to Market Your 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 combined with other marketing tactics can make a difference in getting your house sold.

Here are some powerful ways of marketing your home when for sale in California:

#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 on selling a house in California. 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!

✍️ Pro Tip: Research the best For Sale By Owner websites to sell your house FSBO
2.Get a Yard SignOpting for a yard sign can be a good investment when selling real estate 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 with 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.

» For Sale By Owner Yard Signs: Check out the 7 best 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.
4.Hire a Professional PhotographerAs a seller, you can hire a professional from a number of California real estate photographers 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: A professional photographer can collate a portfolio that otherwise may not be possible if you take up the job.

» Real Estate Photography: Create Your Best Listing Photos
5.List on CraigslistCraigslist is still the biggest classified ad platform. And it’s still effective today. Here’s how to sell a house on Craigslist.

» More: Creative Ways To Market Your House For Sale

5. Manage Showings and Offer Negotiations

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

5.1. 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 buyer 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.

Houzeo Showings: How it Works

#FeatureDescription
1.Set Your 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 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.Receive FeedbackFeedback 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: See how the most powerful showing app works on mobile and web

Introducing the Houzeo Mobile App!

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

Start Your FREE Listing NOW!

Hosting Open Houses

92% of home buyers find open houses useful. If your house is located in South Lake Tahoe or Malibu or any other prime spot in the California housing market, more buyers would be interested in buying. In such cases hosting an open house would be more feasible.

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

1.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.
2.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.
3.Post Open House Online93% 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, and real estate websites like Zillow & Trulia, Facebook, etc.
4.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.
5.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.
    ✍️ Pro Tip: You might attract unrepresented buyers, saving you the entire buyer agent commission.

5.2. How do I Negotiate Offers When Selling a House in California?

A counteroffer and requesting the best and highest offers are the two crucial negotiation methods. Negotiating offers also means focusing on other factors like contingencies, concessions, responsibility, and more.

#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

California real estate broker or brokerages 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!

6. What California Real Estate Documents do I Need?

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

6.1. California Home Seller Disclosure Requirements

California real estate law is governed by the California Civil Code. It mandates all home sellers to complete certain documents and submit a copy to any prospective buyer before execution of the sale deed.

Here is a list of California real estate disclosures you need:

  • 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 Statement: The document should be filled out and submitted before the sale. The document is a questionnaire on that is the property located in a flood hazard area. or earthquake fault zone? and any other hazardous area.
  • Megan’s Law Disclosure: It allows the sellers to update buyers about the registered sex offenders near the property which can be found online. Read what is Megan’s law to know more.
  • Military Ordnance: The 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 Fixtures: California laws for selling a home require that homes built before 1994 should have an installation of water-conserving plumbing fixtures. Disclosure of this should be made by the seller.
  • Agency Disclosure: 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 Disclosure: Paragraph 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 Notice: Mello-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.
  • Disclosure of Excessive Mold: 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.

» Seller Disclosures California: A Guide to Ace California Disclosure Process

6.2. 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 in the process of selling a house in California:

  • The HUD-1 or Closing Disclosure: When homes are purchased with a mortgage, you’ll summarize the detailed costs in the Closing Disclosure. If your sale is all cash, you may get the HUD-1, which is less common. These documents detail the amounts you’re charged for, your loan payoffs if any, and the net proceeds you will take to the bank.
  • The Deed: This 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.
  • California Real Estate Purchase Agreement: It 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.
  • Bill of Sale: Information about the seller and the buyer with the selling price. This is important as part of the process of selling real estate in California because it contains all the base information about the property.
  • Statement of Closing Costs: This statement summarizes all the expenses involved in the transaction. The document is not complicated and can easily be taken care of.
  • Certificate of Title: It allows you to state that you have the right to sell the property.

6.3. Possible Additional Documents for California Real Estate Transactions

Some additional documents that may require during the closing process in California are:

  • Loan Payoff: 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 Forms: If the house is part of HOA, the seller needs to give the buyer all the documentation on restrictions, fees, financials, and more.
  • Survey Papers: The documentation defines the location and the dimensions of the property. This is important while selling your own home.
  • Repairing Proof: While selling a property in California, if the seller has made repairs to the property before the sale, they need to furnish the relevant documentation.
  • Power of Attorney: While selling inherited property in California, the seller needs to furnish the details of the history and how the property was passed onto him/her.
  • Home Inspection Report: This contains all the details about the inspection of the property.
  • Home Warranty Papers: It contains all the coverage of the property, period, and cost of insurance.
  • Correction Agreement: In case there are any errors in the documentation, you may be required to correct those errors.
  • Title Affidavits: It is a notarized document that verifies that a seller is the owner of the house, there are no liens, and there is no simultaneous purchase deal.

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. How to Close 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 real estate agents California 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.

7.1. Title, Appraisal, and Inspection

  • Title: A clear title and a meticulous transfer are key to a real estate transaction. Title insurance policy protects you if there is any problem related to the prior ownership of the property. It makes you whole in case of a legal dispute related to the title.
  • Appraisal: An appraiser does market research and evaluates the price of a specific property. The appraiser ensures that a correct price is offered by the seller and as per the market value. Read our blog on how much is a home appraisal in California.
  • Inspection: An inspector inspects the property before the home-buying process is completed. They check for any defects/repairs in the property and raise concerns accordingly. This ensures that the buyers don’t have to shell out money in case there are defects in the property which the seller did not highlight. The average home inspection cost in California is $430.

» How Much Is Title Insurance in California: In-depth guide about how much is title insurance in California

7.2. 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. There are multiple costs to selling a house in California that should be known to a seller and is crucial for a sale.

Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Transfer Tax: Transfer tax 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.
  • Capital Gains Tax: You are required to pay a tax on capital gains on selling a house in California. 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 Fee: An escrow agent/company handles the closing process in California. 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.
  • Title Fee: In 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 Concession: Some 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. Check out the estimated closing costs for buyer in California.
  • City or County Transfer Fee: Based on a specific county or city, there can be a transfer fee involved if the seller is relocating.
  • Notary Fee: This fee is paid to the notary for important paperwork and establishing your identity.
  • HOA Transfer Fee: Applicable 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 Fee: Closing concession fee that the seller takes up for the buyer. The fee is based on location and the company providing the warranty. It can cost around $200-1000.
  • Termite Inspection Fee: Though this fee seems to be optional, it is very common in California. It depends on the location of the property and the loan a buyer is using.
  • Lien Release Fee: If 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.

Closing Cost Calculator California: Know the Exact Estimates.

7.3. Who Pays Closing Costs in California?

If you are concerned about who pays closing costs in California, then you should be aware of the various closing costs that 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 CommissionRealtor fees for the seller in California are around 5% to 6%
Escrow FeesSplit between buyer and seller
Title InsuranceNegotiable between the buyer and the seller
Survey FeesNegotiable between the 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

7.4. How Much are Closing Costs in California?

If you are concerned about how much are closing costs in California then know that the amount of money you will spend on closings while selling a property in California depends on a lot of factors such as Realtors commissions, fees & taxes, mortgage payoff, etc.

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

» Closing Costs for Buyer in California: Click to know more about the buyer’s side of Closing Costs.

Final Word: Selling a House in California

Selling a house in California is complex.

You have different processes like pricing, marketing, paperwork, and negotiations, to deal with. This combined with a hefty seller agent commission in California makes the process expensive.

A good option for the sellers is opting for Flat Fee MLS or FSBO platforms like Houzeo. Houzeo makes the job of the sellers much easier. Not only putting the properties on the MLS, but these platforms also provide a la carte services that can help the sellers go the extra mile.

What is Houzeo?

An overview of what the platform is all about

Start Your FREE Listing NOW!

» NEED MORE CLARITY? Read these exclusive Houzeo reviews and learn why the platform is the best in America’s competitive housing market.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. 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.

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

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

3. Can you sell a house as is in California?

Yes. Home sellers in California can sell their houses as-is. As per the California residential purchase and sale agreement, buyers accept the property "As-Is" unless mentioned otherwise. Home sellers have to disclose all the known material facts and defects and only perform those repairs that are mentioned in the agreement.

4. Can you sell a house in California with asbestos?

Yes, home sellers in California can sell a house with asbestos. Sellers have to disclose the presence of asbestos while filling out the California Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement.

5. What must be disclosed when selling a house in California?

You need to provide the following disclosures 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

6. Are smoke detectors required when selling a house in California?

Yes, California law requires that all dwelling units meant for human occupancy have smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed in each sleeping room, and on every floor.

7. Do you have to pay taxes when you sell your home in California?

Yes, home sellers have to pay transfer tax and capital gains tax when selling a house in California.

8. What documents do I need to sell a house in California?

You need the following documents when selling a home in California:

1. The HUD-1 or Closing Disclosure
2. The Deed
3. California Real Estate Purchase Agreement
4. Bill of Sale
5. Statement of Closing Costs
6. Certificate of Title

Also Read

  • Foreclosure: Foreclosure is a legal process by which the lender or the bank tries to recover the amount borrowed by the homeowners. Check out our blog on foreclosures to know more.
  • How to Stop Foreclosure in California: Foreclosure laws differ across states. Check out our blog on you can stop foreclosure in the Golden State.

Recommended for buyers:

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