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Can I Sell My Own Home In California?


You don't need a real estate agent or a real estate agent to sell your home in California. Although rare, thousands of buyers and sellers buy or sell a home without a real estate agent every year. In California, home buyers and sellers are typically represented by a California Department of Real Estate-licensed agent or broker. However, in other states, real estate sales are usually handled by a lawyer. In California, this is less common.

You can also market the home on your own (i.e. handle all advertising, open houses, and private displays on your own), but use the attorney to process the paperwork while paying a flat fee to have the house put on the Multiple Listing Service ( MLS) that almost every real estate agency website uses for its listings. There is another possibility, too. Check out https:/ get a fair cash offer for your home.

There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to selling a home without an agent that must be weighed down by anyone considering selling a home on their own.

By Stacey Baca - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Pros and Cons

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying or selling a home without a real estate agent. The biggest advantage of selling without an agent is that you don't have to pay a commission, which could lead to substantial savings. But doing so will require you to read as much information as possible on the Internet.

For example, real estate agents typically charge 3%. The seller also pays 3% to the agent of the purchaser, which comes out of the proceeds of the sale. You can't avoid this cost with your buyer, or else you won't have any buyers represented by agents interested in buying your home, which is a large segment of the purchasing market.

If you don't have to pay 3 per cent to your own agent for a $500,000 house, you can save $15,000. In addition, buying or selling your own home can be rewarding and educating you about the real estate process that puts you at an advantage in the future.

However, if you're not careful, there are also significant disadvantages. There is a great risk of something going wrong if you're not careful. In a slow real estate market, a real estate agent is crucial to the marketing of properties, including the placement of properties on MLS, the use of advertising, the holding of open houses and the coordination of private shows with other agents.

Another risk of not using an agent is that the purchaser and the seller may agree to a sale price that does not reflect the true market price (either too high or too low). At the end of the day, selling on your own can be very time consuming and you could be at risk of being sued after the sale or as a result of it if you failed to follow the procedures.

So if you're comfortable with your own skills, you know the market trends, and you're ready to give it a shot, here's a smart vendor checklist to help the process go smoothly.

Decision To Sell

The sale of a home to most individuals is the largest financial transaction in their lifetime. Doing it yourself involves a marketing strategy to get qualified buyers through advertising in the right marketing streams and networking with listing agents to attract buyers. Before you list your home, you need to meet with a lawyer and ask for property and tax information, along with a home inspection, to identify potential problems. Inspection services can run up to $ 200, be sure to ask for updated regulations on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and any enforceable disclosures.


Use local services to evaluate current market trends to compare your home and set a sales price. In California, fees vary from $350 to $750 depending on the value and type of residence. Local services are familiar with the area; they have access to information on recent sales and timeframes for sales. Do some of your own research by going online, reviewing public records, comparing newspaper prices, real estate publications, and the local neighborhood. The more you know the better it is.

Listing Price

Keep in mind that between 7-10 percent of the sale price of the home needs to cover closing costs, transfer and prorated property taxes. Prices are critical to ensuring that they cover all expenses. But at the same time, the worst mistake you can make is to pay too high a price for your home and end up with the home sitting on the market. Do your homework and calculate what it takes to quickly sell your home at a fair market value, set the price and make a profit. In most areas, the cost per square foot is a safe indicator of whether your home is priced for sale in the current market.

Open House for Agents and Buyers

You need to send out brochures, e-mails and flyers announcing the open house to real estate agents, friends , family and coworkers. Be sure to include photos with all the marketing information, showcasing the best features of your home. Have some refreshments in the open house, it's a nice gesture, and people tend to stay longer to preview the home. Prepare for a budget of at least $1000 for marketing materials and advertising. Get a sign on the front yard with a box to hold the flyers and put a lock box on the door so that the agents can enter the house.

The Offer

Well done, you've got an offer. Now, sit down and carefully review the documents for each offer you have received. Take a look at the proposed offer price, and don't worry about low ball offers, it's just business. Be sure there's a pre-approved letter from the buyer that you want to eliminate any delays in selling your home. If the buyer has trouble financing, there are alternatives, it is up to you to consider waiting or rejecting the offer.

Property Disclosures

You accepted the offer. Each state has its own guidelines, and California may be one of the most stringent in terms of disclosure requirements. The disclosure needs to include known home defects, property deaths within 3 years from the date of sale, and neighborhood activities such as trains and barking dogs. In particular , in the case of California, sellers must disclose potential hazards to property such as floods , earthquakes or fire using the Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement.

Closing the Sale

The property is ready to close and to prepare for the transfer of ownership. You need to choose the escrow officer; they usually search the title and ask for payment information that includes all mortgages and links to the property being sold. They prepare and record documents, close statements, hold and disburse the funds involved in the transaction. The transfer of documents in California is based on the value of the home. For example, a $500,000 sale price could cost you $500. Don't forget the cost of couriers to transport documents, transfers to the Homeowner Association, and the payment of the loan. Your real estate lawyer needs to review all documents and you need to fully understand the total cost of selling your property.


Do You Need a Real Estate Agency to Help Sell Your Home?

Sexton Group Real Estate Property Management in Berkeley, California is a boutique real estate company specializing in residential sales as well as property management services for properties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We have 2 offices to serve you, one in the heart of Berkeley and the other in the heart of Lafayette, California. The Sexton Group encompasses the essence of Berkeley’s charm and Lafayette’s family-oriented vibe all with a relaxed, down-to-earth nature. We are an amazing group of agents whose wealth of experience spans more than 25 years in the industry.  Looking to sell a home in Contra Costa or Alameda County? Contact us today for your free consultation!