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Curious about how a house sale works in the US? This article provides a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process successfully.


Selling a house can be a complex and overwhelming process, especially if you're a first-time seller. Understanding how a house sale works is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful transaction. In this article, we will break down the process into manageable steps, answering frequently asked questions along the way.

Step 1: Preparing Your Home for Sale

Before putting your house on the market, it's important to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers. Here are some essential steps to consider:

  1. Declutter and Depersonalize:

    • Remove personal items and excess clutter to create a neutral and welcoming environment.
    • Consider renting a storage unit to temporarily store extra furniture and belongings.
  2. Repairs and Maintenance:

    • Address any necessary repairs, such as leaky faucets, broken tiles, or malfunctioning appliances.
    • Enhance curb appeal by mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and adding fresh flowers or potted plants.
  3. Staging:

Once your house sells, the amount of money the buyer purchased it for is used to pay off your remaining mortgage, the seller's and buyer's agents' commission, and any other fees or taxes from the transaction. After that, any money left over is profit and becomes yours.

When you sell a house do you get all the money at once?

The full amount of the home's final price doesn't go right into your pocket. In fact, all in all, you might only realize only 60 to 70 percent of the home's value in net proceeds. Let's look at where the money goes, and how much you get to keep when you sell a home.

What are the stages of a real estate deal?

Real Estate Buying Process
  • Shopping.
  • Offer.
  • Negotiation.
  • Inspection.
  • Insurance.
  • Financing and Appraisal.
  • Closing and Possession.

What happens to my equity when I sell my house?

When the market value of your home is greater than the amount you owe on your mortgage and any other debts secured by the home, the difference is your home's equity. Selling a home in which you have equity allows you to pay off your mortgage and keep any remaining funds.

What to do first when selling your house?

How to sell your house: A step-by-step guide
  1. Set a timeline.
  2. Hire an agent.
  3. Determine upgrades.
  4. Set a realistic price.
  5. List with pro photos.
  6. Review offers.
  7. Weigh closing and tax costs.
  8. Consider an attorney.

How do I prepare my house to sell?

Preparing Your House For a Showing in 11 Steps
  1. Get Your Home Inspected.
  2. Interview Real Estate Agents.
  3. Ramp Up Curb Appeal for a Good First Impression.
  4. Make Minor Repairs.
  5. Tone Down Vibrant Paint Colors.
  6. Organize and Declutter.
  7. Give the Junk Room a Purpose.
  8. Hire Professional Cleaners.

How much should you spend to get your house ready to sell?

Overall, when preparing a house to sell, a safe number to stay below is 10% of the asking price. When budgeting, allocate 1%–3% of your asking price each for staging and lawn and landscaping, and use comps to help determine the best home improvements to invest in.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to list a property?

9 Real Estate Listing Tips to Get Your Property Noticed
  1. Use good SEO practices.
  2. Take excellent photos.
  3. Use your email list.
  4. Share your listing on social media.
  5. Reach out to your personal network.
  6. Cold call and knock on doors.
  7. Reach out to past clients.
  8. Host an open house.

How do I sell my house by owner in Missouri?

Craigslist: Posting your home on Craigslist is free and simple. Just go to the Missouri page, find your city, and create a "real estate — by owner" listing. FSBO websites: There are multiple FSBO listing websites that allow you to post your home for free or a few hundred dollars.

How do you write a house listing?

A great listing is written to cast the property in its best light.
  1. Create An Engaging Headline. This is the first thing potential buyers will see, so make sure it's clear, concise and enticing.
  2. Provide A Straightforward Introduction.
  3. Highlight Key Home Features.
  4. List Any Promotions.
  5. Write A Captivating Call To Action.

How do I make my real estate listing stand out?

9 Proven Ways to Make Your Listing Stand Out
  1. Hire a pro (or two!) Real estate agents exist for a reason: they know best how to market your property.
  2. Stage it.
  3. Create a shot list.
  4. Be honest.
  5. Keep it simple (and clean)
  6. Go 3-D.
  7. Take a sunset stroll.
  8. Know that there's no such thing as too many photos.


How do you present a real estate property?
6 Step Guide for Giving the Ultimate Real Estate Listing Presentation
  1. The Goal of the Presentation.
  2. Plan to succeed.
  3. Ask the right questions and listen carefully to the answers.
  4. Position yourself as the local expert.
  5. Highlight your marketing plan for the client's home.
  6. Showcase why you're the right agent for the job.
What is the number one rule in real estate?
For a potential investment to pass the 1% rule, its monthly rent must be equal to or no less than 1% of the purchase price. If you want to buy an investment property, the 1% rule can be a helpful tool for finding the right property to achieve your investment goals.
How to list house for sale?
Sep 30, 2023 — Determine how long it will take you to sell; Understand the costs of selling; Hire the right listing agent; Prepare your home for sale; Complete 
What are the three most important documents in any sale of property?
However, the most important documents in real estate are offers, agreements, and contracts between the buyer and seller.

How does a house sale work

How do I sell my house checklist? Real Estate Survival Guide: Seller's Checklist
  1. Gauge your need to sell.
  2. Calculate your selling expenses.
  3. Plan your selling strategy.
  4. Determine your home's fair market value (FMV) and set a price.
  5. Advertise and market the home.
  6. Prepare and stage the home.
  7. Set up showings and open houses.
  8. Review purchase offers.
What are the three most important things in real estate? To achieve those goals, the three most important words in real estate are not Location, Location, Location, but Price, Condition, Availability. Let's look at the first word – Price.
What documents are issued by the seller? An invoice, bill or tab is a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer, relating to a sale transaction and indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller had provided the buyer. Payment terms are usually stated on the invoice.
How to list house for sale Oct 26, 2019 — Takeaways: Understand FSBO pros and cons; Set a fair price; Prepare your house; Invest in marketing and advertising; Act like a professional 
  • How do I land my first listing?
    • 8 tips and tricks for getting listings as a new real estate agent
      1. Call everyone you know.
      2. Talk about real estate in person.
      3. Contact local major developers.
      4. Cold call and door-knock.
      5. Post about it on social media.
      6. Get recommendations.
      7. Go to local real estate offices.
      8. Invest in yourself.
  • Should you sell your house to the first offer?
    • Casey Napolitano, real estate agent, broker and founder of NDA Real Estate in Southern California, says the first offer is usually the best, but every situation is unique and sellers should assess the strength of the offer before making a decision. But there could also be drawbacks.
  • How to make $100,000 your first year in real estate?
    • To make $100,000 a year real estate agents will need to focus on constant lead generation to maintain and grow their database. Taking action on priority tasks, not getting distracted by shiny objects. And be extremely consistent even when busy or when things don't feel like they're working.
  • What steps to take before selling the house?
    • 5 Things To Do Before Selling Your House
      1. Find a Real Estate Agent. This is an important first step.
      2. Declutter and remove personal items from your home.
      3. Make small repairs and improvements.
      4. Clean and then clean again.
      5. Maximize light.
      6. Don't rush to put up the “For Sale” sign.

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