Seller FAQ’s

beautiful residential home for sale
For most home owners, the time between buying and selling a home can be many years. Rules and regulations often change, which is why it’s a good idea re-familiarize yourself with everything that’s involved.

A good first step is to enlist the services of a professional real estate agency that knows the Sacramento housing market inside and out, such as Green Isle Properties. We can help you to get up to speed on the home selling process quickly. Below, you’ll find a handful of the most commonly asked questions from home sellers. If you have more questions, feel free to contact us for a no-obligation, free consultation. We hope to hear from you soon!

People have different theories about the best time to sell a home. While some of these theories have some merit, the bottom line is that any time can be a good time to sell if you play your cards right and follow best practices for preparing and presenting your property.

    • Spring is often considered the ideal season for home selling because, well, everything just looks better in Spring. Not only that but it comes between the winter and summer holidays, so there is more opportunity to spend time shopping for new houses.


    • Summer can be a bit more challenging with the kids out of school and families spending time on vacations together. But since the weather is usually nice, it certainly makes it easier to get out and explore the housing market.


    • The Fall can also be a good time because the weather is still mild and the changing colors can enhance the beauty of your home and neighborhood. However, the closer you are to the major holidays, the more people will start preparing for their family get-togethers and vacations.


  • The beginning of Winter is a typically slower period for obvious reasons. December is dominated by the holidays and things don’t start picking up until well into January. The good news is that buyers who are out looking at houses during these weeks usually have an urgent need to find a house and could be highly motivated to make an offer.
Every good real estate agent is part interior decorator. They can advise you on the types of changes or improvements you may want to make to your home in order to improve your chances of receiving good offers and closing a deal. Since most agents work with both sellers and buyers, they know exactly which things are going to be important to your prospects. One way to give your house that “model home” feeling is to hire a professional staging service. With their design expertise and furniture decor, they know how to create the “wow” factor that will help attract the best possible offers.

Green Isle Properties has more information on this topic on our page, Preparing to Sell, which will give you more specifics on this topic.

The extent to which you perform improvements to your home before selling depends largely on it’s current condition. The key point here is to avoid spending more money in repairs than you’ll be able to recover at the time of sale. In most situations, minor cosmetic improvements are a highly recommended investment because you want the house to “show well” when prospective buyers are looking around. So, a little paint and some new fixtures can go a long towards making a good impression.

Larger repairs, however, are a different story. At the time you receive and accept a serious offer, a complete home inspection will invariably follow and if there are any serious structural or repair issues this is when they will come to light. For instance, if you need a new roof, HVAC, garage door or foundation repair, you’ll need to decide if you want to pay for these upgrades before you list the home or disclose the deficiencies up front to any potential buyers.

Although making big repairs can often become a good selling point, the investment may end up coming right out of your home’s equity. Your agent can help you work through these issues and help you make the best decisions based on your situation.

There are several ways you can get an idea of your home’s value. One, of course, is to use the internet. Websites, such as Zillow, provide a pretty good ballpark figure on your home’s price range but it’s probably the least accurate method of knowing the actual value.

Another common method is by simply hiring the services of a professional real estate appraiser. For about $300-$400, an appraiser will provide an “official” estimate based on a number of factors, such as recent comps (comparable sales), location, square footage, age, land area and other features.

Your Realtor can also provide what’s called a “comparative market analysis”, which is less formal than an appraisal but often just as accurate. Keep in mind that there is often a difference between what a house is worth and what it can actually sell for.

There is often a difference between what a house is worth and what it can actually sell for. This is where a good agent can really help in setting your expectations. Pricing a home correctly is a critical component of the sales process. If it’s priced too high, then you can scare off potential buyers and stay on the market longer than necessary. You also don’t want to have to mark down your own house if you make a mistake.

Pricing your house too low can cost you just as much, if not more. There’s nothing worse than realizing after the fact that you could have gotten much more. For this reason, as a rule of thumb, it’s better to err on the side of higher rather than lower.

Having an appraisal is good evidence for a home’s value but, at the end of the day, market conditions will be a greater influence on your home’s selling price. Again, consult with your real estate agent if you’re not sure.

This question often depends on the state where the transaction is taking place. In California, the closing costs are often shared by both the seller and buyer, however, these details can be negotiated as part of the overall terms of sale.

As an example, here are some of the items the SELLER may be responsible for:

  • Standard CLTA owner’s Title Insurance
  • Escrow Fee (50%)
  • Real estate agent commission
  • Document preparation fee for deed
  • Documentary transfer tax ($1.10 per $1,000 of the home sales price)
  • Any FHA or VA loan fees required by the Buyer’s lender
  • Payoff of existing loan and associated fees
  • Recording charges to clear all documents of record against the Seller
  • Any unpaid Homeowners dues
  • Any and all delinquent taxes
  • Notary fees

Things the BUYER may be responsible for::

  • Title Insurance premiums
  • Escrow Fee (50%)
  • Document preparation
  • Notary fees
  • Recording changes
  • Pro-rated tax (for date of acquisition)
  • Transfer fee
  • Inspection fees (roofing, property inspection, geological, etc.)
  • Fire insurance premium for first year

These items may be paid by either party, depending on the terms of sale:

  • Termite inspection
  • Termite work
  • Home warranty
  • City transfer/conveyance tax
  • Bonds or assessments (usually paid by the Seller)
A title to a property essentially determines ownership and affirms that the person selling the property has the right to do so It also shows if there are judgements, liens or other encumbrances against the property. The title is public record and the search is usually conducted by a professional title company assigned by the listing agent.

In cases where the buyer is purchasing title insurance, they may request to choose the title company as well. The reason for title insurance is to protect the buyer in the event that there are any claims against the title once the property has changed hands.

When selling your property, it is required by California state law that you disclose relevant facts pertaining to the condition of the home. This obviously protects the buyer from inheriting costly defects, but it also protects the seller from potential legal problems.

A home inspection by a licensed professional should only cost a few hundred dollars, but it’s well worth the investment. Your inspection can reveal many things about your home, both good and bad, but having that knowledge will help you in the long run. If repairs are necessary, you can deal with them before putting your house on the market, making sure that it is truly ready for sale. If your home passes inspection with flying colors, you can move forward with confidence and use that information as a valuable selling point.

Considering that nearly all home sales are contingent upon an inspection, it’s usually best to get it done early in the process.

You’ve got your first solid offer on your home and the agent explains to you that it’s a deal, but there are “contingencies”. This simply means that finalizing the sale is contingent upon certain criteria being met. Not to worry, this is standard operating procedure and there are mainly just three types of contingencies: appraisals, home inspections and loan approvals.

The standard reason for making a contingent offer is so that the buyer is protected in the event that any of the agreed upon conditions are not met. They have most likely placed an earnest money deposit in escrow as a show of good faith and commitment, now they just need to make sure that, a) their financing goes through, or, b) the home does not have any undisclosed defects.

Many sellers will have already had an inspection done by this point but it’s not unheard of for a buyer to hire their own inspector just to be on the safe side.

In the state of California, the disclosure requirements are very strict and thorough. A seller must fill out what is called a “Transfer Disclosure Form”, or TDS, which can be obtained from your real estate agent. The form covers a wide range of topics, from structural information, to questions about the condition of your roof, appliances, room additions, damage, neighborhood noise problems, or even if there have been any recent deaths in the home.

The disclosures are important for a number of reasons, but mostly because it allows potential home buyers to learn as much as possible about the property they’re purchasing so they can make informed and educated decisions.