10 Frequently Asked Los Angeles Home Seller Questions

You are thinking of selling your Los Angeles home and probably have many questions.

Let’s see if I can answer some of them:

Q:  Can I sell my home on my own as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO)?

A:  There is nothing to stop you doing this, but it is not recommended.  Around 80% of FSBO sellers end up using a Realtor?  Why?  Even in a sellers’ market selling a home is more than just sticking a sign in the yard as is explained here.

Q:  Do I have to use one agent to sell my home?

A:  Yes.  No agent is going to spend the time and money marketing your home with no guarantee of getting it sold.  And there is absolutely no benefit in using more than one agent. Your home will be entered into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) where all other member agents will have access.  However, make sure you hire the right agent.

Q:  What is an Exclusive Listing Agreement

A:  An Exclusive Listing Agreement means that you are giving the listing to one agent to market and sell your property.  You may exclude those who have previously expressed an interest in purchasing the property by providing the names to your agent in writing.  However, during the course of the Agreement period, even if someone approaches your privately, your agent will be entitled to their commission.  Also, if the property is not sold during the contract period your agent will provide you with names of those to whom they have shown the property and if they choose to purchase the property within a specific time period, usually 180 days, the agent will be entitled to their commission.

Q:  What do I have to do before I sell my home?

A:  Your agent will discuss with you the best way to get your home ready to sell.  Whether you stage you home or not will depend on the condition and budgetary factors.  And you will find a discussion about fixing up your home here.  In addition to preparing the home for sale you will need to prepare yourself.  Your agent will most likely be holding open houses and will want to show the home upon request.  You should not be present during either. The more flexible you are the easier it will be to get the home sold.  If you have pets try and make arrangements not to leave them in the home during showings.

Q:  What happens when offers start coming in?

A:  You will decide with your agent how you would like offers handled. You can set a date to review all offers at once or ask to see them as they come in.  In a sellers’ market it is probably better to pick a date upon which all offers will be due and review them all at once.  Read more on multiple offers.

Q:  Should I take a backup offer?

A:  It is always good to have another buyer in place should the first one not work out for one reason or another.  The terms of the backup offer will have been agreed and a new escrow can be entered into immediately upon cancellation of the first offer.  This will avoid any further delay in getting your home sold.

Q:  What happens during escrow?

A:  Just because you are in escrow does not mean that the negotiations stop.  The home inspection can bring up issues for the buyer which may need addressing and you will need to work with your Realtor® to address them.  The escrow process is explained here.  

Q:  What if the buyer’s demands are unreasonable during escrow?

A:  If you feel you have given enough and the buyer still wants more, and still has not removed their contingencies, you can issue a Notice to Perform which requires that the buyer remove their contingencies and move forward, or a Cancellation of Escrow.   The buyer will need to sign the latter which it would be in their best interest to do since escrow is holding their deposit.  This will not be released until both parties sign.

Q:  When do I have to move out of my home after closing?

A:  Unless otherwise agreed per the contract, you will have to move by 5:00 p.m. on the day of closing.  The house will be delivered, at the very least, broom clean, and you will have arranged to have your name taken off all the utilities on the same day.  That is the day the new owner will change it to theirs.

Q:  Can I stop the sale if I change my mind?

A:  No. You cannot back out of selling your home once you are in escrow for any other reason than buyer non-performance.  So be absolutely sure you are committed to the sale before you enter into a contract.


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