A Step-by-Step First Time Seller's Guide

Putting your home on the market can be a stressful process, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced agent and this easy to follow guide, you can smoothly complete the process. Following these steps will help you prepare so you can get organized and sell your home for the best price possible.​​​​​​​


Step 1: Understand Why You're Selling

What do you want to accomplish with the sale of your home? Do you want to make a certain amount of money that you can put toward a larger or nicer home? Do you need to sell it as soon as possible to facilitate a move to a new city or area? Once you understand your needs, you can better craft your offer. For example, if you need to sell quickly, you might want to price your home lower than if your goal is to make a certain profit margin. Make sure you convey these needs to your REALTOR® once you choose one so he or she can adjust your selling price accordingly.


Step 2: Determine Selling Price

Knowing how to price your home is one of the most important parts of the selling process. When you set a fair price in the beginning, you’ll get the most interest from other real estate agents and prospective buyers. Overpricing your home could lead to reduced interest, and underpricing leads to receiving less than what your home is worth. Working with a real estate agent is the best way to determine the right selling price for your home. An agent with experience can determine what other comparable homes are selling for, evaluate the current market, and may even suggest a home appraisal.


Step 3: Start Preparations

If you’ve kept your home in showroom condition since you’ve lived in it, you’re in the minority of homeowners. Once you price your home, it’s time to start getting it ready to be shown to potential buyers. This includes getting rid of clutter, depersonalizing the space so that buyers can envision themselves in the space, making any small repairs, and doing a deep clean to make sure your home is in pristine condition.


Step 4: Develop a Marketing Strategy

I will develop a marketing strategy that is perfect for advertising your home. This involves listing the home and then driving the right people to that listing through social media campaigns, agent-to-agent referrals, traditional media, or SEO advertising. My team creates a marketing campaign that aims to get the most possible traffic to your listing in the first three weeks after becoming a client.


Step 5: Evaluate Offers

Receiving an offer is an exciting part of the process, but it doesn’t mean the journey is over. I will evaluate each offer and make sure the party making the offer is prequalified or pre-approved by a mortgage lender and that their offer is acceptable to you. If the offer is too low, you can make a counter-offer or offer other ways to bridge the gap, such as covering some or all of the closing costs, making repairs, adjusting the move-in date, or leaving some appliances or fixtures for the new buyer.


Step 6: Accept an Offer

Once I deem the offer is acceptable, I will review the proposed contract to make sure it’s all in order and includes the necessary components such as deposit amount, down payment, financing, inspection rights and repair allowances, contingencies, settlement date, and a list of fees and who will pay them. When both parties have agreed to the term, a final contract will be prepared by your agent.


Step 7: Get Ready to Close

You have accepted an offer and are now very close to the end of your selling journey. But first, you and the buyer must make a list of what needs to be done before closing. In some cases, your home may need to be formally inspected, surveyed, and appraised. In other cases, major or minor repairs will need to be made before the house can close. I will head up efforts to develop and execute this list, get each action item paid for by the correct party, and make sure everything is in order by the closing date. A few days before the closing date, we will call the company closing the transaction to make sure everything is ready to go. If you haven’t done so already, you also need to make arrangements to move out of the home so the new buyer can take possession.


Step 8: Close

You’ve reached the last step in the seller’s process. When you close on a home you are selling, you are legally transferring ownership of the property to the new buyer. I will meet with the company closing the transaction to sign the final paperwork and go over any issues that have not yet been taken care of. During this time, you can also make plans with your REALTOR® to handle final details such as canceling utilities, cable, and lawn or trash services, changing the name on accounts that the new owner is retaining and ensuring the new owner has instructions for all appliances that will remain in the home.


Once you have sold your home, you’re free to take the next step on your journey. Whether this is relocating to a new city, moving into a larger home, or downsizing and enjoying your life as empty-nesters, knowing all your selling responsibilities have been taken care of will help you achieve peace of mind for your new path.

Connie R.
Jon & Jaimie C.
Ellie M.
Brian S.
Kim L.
Carol T.
Greg B.
Brett L.
Matt H.
Todd C.
Fred S.
Debra R.
The Branan Family
Karen K.
Ron & Shari
During the interview, we recognized that Joanie both thinks quickly and thinks outside the box. She minimized several concerns we had. She suggested things that others had not, such as listing our home after we moved so as to eliminate our exposure to COVID. She also recommended doing inspections upfront, and that led to a quicker sales agreement and earlier closing. Clearly, Joanie came to the interview...

— Connie R.

Joanie knows the neighborhood well. Joanie closed the deal in record time! Joanie understood that selling/leaving our home was an emotional endeavor. She handled every step of the way with such compassion and patience; she also understood that we wanted the most financially out of the sale so she worked hard and kept us moving forward in one of the most emotionally draining and difficult things we have e...

— Jon & Jaimie C.

Joanie understood that selling/leaving our home was an emotional endeavor. She handled every step of the way with such compassion and patience; she also understood that we wanted the most financially out of the sale so she worked hard and kept us moving forward in one of the most emotionally draining and difficult things we have ever had done. She always had time for questions, reassured us when our nerv...

— Seller

We were grateful to have Joanie by our side throughout a fast but arduous home purchase process. In addition to being an expert on the local market, Joanie was attentive, communicative, and tremendously supportive. Due to reasons beyond her control, our closing occurred about a week after the anticipated closing date. During this delay, Joanie advocated on our behalf to get answers from the various parti...

— Ellie M.

Joanie is the type of person who takes care of business with excellent follow-through, communication skills, and commitment to get the job done. With a no-nonsense approach, she says what she'll do, and does what she says with no exceptions. Joanie had my best interest throughout the entire process and went way above and beyond to ensure the home purchase would be completed by providing the home warranty...

— Brian S.

Joanie is fabulous! She is very knowledgeable and was highly motivated to sell our home. She is flexible and was willing to work around our schedule. She worked quickly and walked us through the process of getting our home ready to sell. She had great ideas and even provided finishing touches (plants, decorations, a new doormat, etc.) to make our home looks its best. She was easy to reach by phone, text,...

— Kim L.

We met Joanie through a coat drive she ran in the neighborhood the year before our sale. Turns out she lives around the corner from us. From the moment we met her we had confidence she could help us to quickly sell our home. We relocated to another state which made things much more complex. Joanie helped to coordinate between three agents and two title companies for sales that went off without a hitch. I...

— Carol T.

Joanie is extremely thorough. From our first appointment to look at homes where she showed up and gave us a binder with information on each home we were going to see and the buying process, to helping us figure out the best offer price to get the home we wanted to walk us step-by-step through the buying process. I would highly recommend her to buy or sell your home. She has helped us with both sides of t...

— Greg B.

Joanie Cubias has high integrity and is a true professional. She has vast experience and knowledge of the industry and the specific geographic area which we were selling and buying. She was very good at understanding our needs and concerns to help us identify a great strategy to transition from preparing our home for sale, selling our home, and finally to finding a replacement home in a highly competitiv...

— Ron

Joanie was referred by a family member and exceeded every expectation we had. Joanie was wonderful and really helped walk us through the home buying process as first-time buyers. Joanie was very personable and we always felt comfortable with her. Top-notch! Joanie was the best and I look forward to recommending her to others. Even our parents were impressed with how smooth Joanie made the home buying pro...

— Brett L.

If you want to experience the gold standard of Realtors® - hire Joanie Cubias. She took us to view over 50 homes before contacting someone who did not have their house listed for sale. She made several attempts and ultimately ended up brokering us a great purchase. She remained in contact with us frequently throughout the entire 3-month process and there is not another Realtor® I would use other than Joa...

— Rowan

Confidence in your Realtor® is key. Confidence that they are competent, advocate for your best interest, and family is critical. Joanie Cubias has proven again and again to exemplify rock sold honesty and the ability to help through her extensive knowledge of real estate. Strongly recommend her to anyone seeking real estate in California.

— Matt H.

Joanie Cubias was amazing throughout the whole process. We appreciate her hard work. I would highly recommend Joanie Cubias. Her knowledge of the area as well as her ability to stage our homemade selling process easy. We also understand the time away from her family during the buying process helped make the process seamless.

— Todd C.

The top-notch agent will definitely call on her again for our next real estate transaction! Got our house sold in a few days, at full price and even handled a tangled mess with our solar company for us. Thank you, Joanie, you're a gem!

— Seller

I am a real estate broker and handle a lot of transactions. I would say Joanie was probably one of the best I’ve ever had. I highly recommend her, she is very competent, detail-oriented, and handles the transaction very well!

— Fred S.

Joanie was recommended to me with glowing reviews. "Use Joanie she is knowledgeable of the area" "Joanie has great contacts in the area to assist in your home buying experience" Thank you again, Joanie, a job a well done!

— Debra R.

Joanie is absolutely amazing. She helped us buy and sell a home. We had worked with Realtors® in the past that did not compare to Joanie in the least bit. I would recommend Joanie a hundred times over.

— The Branan Family

Joanie is awesome and worked with us to find the right neighborhood and home for us. She walked us through every step of the process and made sure we made a fair offer and got what we wanted.

— Buyer

We had an exceptional experience with Joanie as our agent. She was very detailed and professional. We would recommend her to anybody in the future.

— Karen K.

Joanie's experience, knowledge of the area, and understanding of our needs were key in her finding a property for us in a timely manner.

— Ron & Shari

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