Insights into Today’s Home Selling Process

By Michael Edlen
Special to the Palisades News

Have you wondered how the home sale process works today? If you haven’t sold a home in the last 10 years, you’ll find it’s changed quite a bit.

The process begins with the selection of a qualified agent. Ten or 20 years ago, many homeowners “gave their listing” to a neighbor, social group friend, or perhaps the friendly agent who happened to knock on their door. Today, sellers usually interview two or three prospective agents, based upon the agents’ presence in the area where the property is located.

The interviews should be based on what is important to you and you can expect that each agent will skillfully ask a lot of questions about the timing and location of your planned move. They will provide basic counseling regarding the current marketplace, sale process and other actions required of a seller.

Michael Edlen

Agents generally will have prepared a comparative market analysis before meeting with you, so they can discuss your home’s 

theoretical value. They will need to explain how automated home valuations systems (such as Zillow) work, why these are of little benefit in our particular area, and how the appraisal process is done.

Once you have selected the agent, he/she should discuss pre-inspections, ideas about home preparation, alternative marketing and pricing strategies, and the timing.

Your agent may discuss with you what items could be repaired, how to handle the volume of required disclosures, and what to expect during marketing and escrow.

The process may begin with the agent helping you prepare your property for pho- tos that will be taken prior to marketing, and to be used in advertising for greater ex- posure in print and on the Internet.

The agent will arrange for brokers to preview your property during “caravan,” which is typically a three-hour period during which real estate agents and possibly their clients tour your home without having to make an appointment.

The marketing period may be as short as a few days or as long as several months, largely depending upon: 1.) the ease or difficulty of showing, 2.) property appearance, and 3.) competitive pricing in the current marketplace.

Showings are generally arranged with you in advance and usually a day ahead. A typical showing might require 15-20 minutes, and you can expect second showings to take 30 minutes or more, depending on the size of your home and property.

Once an offer is received, your agent will discuss all of the various aspects, strengths and weaknesses, and will suggest various alternative counter-offers. If you are fortunate to receive more than one offer at the same time (which has often occurred in the last several years), hopefully you have selected an agent who has experience handling multiple offers.

Ideally you would want your agent to help you attain the best quality contract, and to have the next best offer/buyer be in a back-up position in case the first buyer cancels escrow.

The next phase consists of the buyer arranging for various property inspections, in- cluding sewer-line scoping, chimney and roof inspection, pest-control inspection, as well as a general checkup of the entire property.

Even though the standard purchase contract now states that the buyer is purchasing the property in its “as-is” present physical condition, nearly every buyer will do at least a basic general inspection.

The buyer typically will have up to 17 days to perform investigations (although in this current market, the time frame is usually closer to 7-14 days), and then to decide which requests or credits they may want to ask of you.

Ideally, you will arrive at an acceptable agreement regarding any requests the buyer makes, and escrow will continue towards closing.

It will be your choice whether to accept, reject or negotiate a compromise regarding requests. During this same period or shortly thereafter the buyer’s lender (assuming they will be obtaining a loan) will have an appraisal done to ascertain the value of the property for financing purposes.

The moving process itself can be complex. However, if organized and planned well in advance, it can be accomplished efficiently. An experienced real estate agent will often provide suggestions about preparations for moving before starting the marketing process.

The entire sale process can be rather challenging for most people, requiring a great deal of patience and a good sense of humor.It is always helpful for you to keep the end goal clearly in mind, ask clarifying questions no matter how silly or small they may feel to you, and be fair-minded in the negotiations and any later resolutions.

Michael Edlen has been ranked in the Top 10 of all Coldwell Banker agents in the country. Call: (310) 230-7373 or email: or visit:

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