5 Tips for First-Time Home Sellers in the East Bay

5 Tips for First-time Home Sellers

Tips for first time home sellers aren’t hard to come by. One or two factors won’t guarantee a successful sale, and thus, the internet is littered with advice. 

We’ve organized some of the most helpful tips and staged them here in this article.

Landscape view towards East Bay

A shot towards the East Bay - via Mike D

This real estate transaction should be profitable and stress-free. By working with those who know the market (East Bay or Bay Area realtors), you’ll be poised for value when you sell your home.

A first time home seller will start with the decision and finish with closing. Here are some tips for each step of the way. 

1. Decide if Selling Makes Sense and Select an Agent

Pondering passing on a property? Congratulations. Whether or not you sell now or later, it’s good to have the freedom of choice (and knowledge). 

That means this entire transaction has to be right for you. There’s got to be a plan in place, with a clear motive. Why are you selling this home and what is your next move? We guarantee our client’s sale price ahead of time, so there’s no concern about being empty-handed. 

A new job in California might be driving the sale; a valid reason indeed. Whatever the motive, there’s no need to rush, collect less profit, and deny yourself well-deserved equity.

The whole For Sale By Owner (FSBO) vs. Realtor debate might seem like it’s been raging on forever, but there’s less debate than you’d think. Studies have shown that sellers often collect far more profit, but not by selling privately. 

FSBOs accounted for 10% of home sales in 2021. The typical FSBO home sold for $225,000 compared to $330,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

A vital early step for first time home sellers is choosing a local realtor

Don’t outsource this work to someone who is out of touch with the East Bay real estate market. No  - this is a job for the locals. You need your property to be in the hands of professionals who understand local property values, trends, and have a proven track record. 

(A Bay Area realtor’s testimonials can paint a clear picture).

2. Prepare for the Sale 

We’ve written countless articles on preparing homes for sale. This “preparation” ranges from scuff removal to ceiling repairs, so keep your eyes wide. If something seems like an issue to you, the buyers will probably feel twice as strongly about it.

The Basics:

Cosmetic touches and cleanliness go a long way, so don’t take shortcuts. A clean home signals to buyers that the property is maintained and cared for; a feeling you want them to have. It goes without saying that fixtures, faucets, doorknobs, and latches should all be checked as well.

Californian Home Interior

A Californian home - Ryan McKibbin


Some homes need more than a splash of color-matched paint and a manicured garden. The more complex repairs may be hidden away, but home inspections will reveal them. Don’t let a faulty fuse or leaky shower seal ruin your sale. Usually, the costs of those repairs are insignificant compared to the home’s listing price.


Any realtor worth their reputation will arrange a superb showing of your property. Showing and staging properties is basically a science at this point. The right lighting, layout, and decor can swing a buyer’s perspective in the right way. At this step of the process, you’re leading the buyers up to the finish line.

3. Accept Offers from Potential Buyers (or Don’t)

Your realtor’s analysis of the market and the value of your home will produce a listing price. Now, this may not be the same number you end up accepting. Throughout the process of selling your home, conditions might arise and you’ll receive different offers. With each one, you and your agent can evaluate, using their valuable experience in these situations.

By the way - you can reach this step a lot faster by tapping into our network of buyers

Even though you’ll get multiple offers, some may offer added benefits, like non-contingencies and such. It’s not just two parties asking for different things - real estate negotiations can be complex and competitive. Again, the realtor (who has been here countless times) will navigate these waters. 

During the negotiations, your realtor will seek the home’s maximum value and close the deal at your discretion. 

Here’s one of the most valuable tips for first time home sellers: Don’t accept offer based on emotion, especially if a friend or acquaintance wants to buy your home. Treat this as a business transaction and consider what the correct price is - and that’s not necessarily the same as what feels right.

4. Complete Inspections and Appraisals

You may have already conducted your own home inspection ahead of time, but buyers will do their own. There may be different specialists who look over appliances, HVAC, foundations, etc.

Inspection of large appliances

Larger home appliances require a knowledgeable technician to inspect - via Los Angeles District USACE

If the agreement depends on some kind of financing, lenders will almost always require an inspection, for simple reasons. To lend against something and determine the value of the loan, there must be an agreed-upon appraisal. 

A closing agent may step in at this point and all contingencies will need to be met. A contingency is something that must be rectified before the contract is legally binding. This could include minor or major repairs, among other things.

It is possible, that after all of this, the buyer may ask to renegotiate some aspects of the contract, perhaps, the price itself. If they do not and you have checked off all of the contingencies, you’re almost at the finish line.

5. What to Expect at Closing Time

You’ve almost reached the end, where the first time home sellers efforts will be bearing fruit. There are different fees that both buyer and seller will need to cover, though not always in equal shares. Transfer taxes, wire transfer fees, HOA fees, and various others will be explained by any worthwhile realtor.

The buyer is likely to do a final inspection, which is more of a formality than a strictly enforced contractual agreement. They’ll check that the property is in suitable condition. Since you’ve gone through repairs, inspections, and stagings, that’s almost guaranteed. Home services are canceled and transferred to the new owners, as well as the utilities. 

You’ll receive a settlement statement, which both parties can sign. Finances from the sale can be electronically deposited or paid by check.

When you arrive at this point, congratulations! If you’ve just started thinking about selling your East Bay home (or a mid-way through the process), just reach out if you need expert advice.

More Questions? Follow-up With Us!

If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

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