Selling Your Home for the First Time: A Guide for Important Terminology

Selling your home for the first time? It doesn’t matter if you’ve only owned your home for a couple of years or 40+. Selling a home can feel daunting. If you’re like most of America, your home is one of your largest assets, and you don’t want to make any mistakes! But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’re going to start today’s blog by discussing words and terminology you may come across when selling your home. Think of this as a glossary if you will.

The Who

Listing Agent: This is your superhero in the home-selling story. They are responsible for helping get your home properly exposed in front of the right people and in a position to generate the highest price with the most favorable terms for you. They wear many hats and your listing agent must be proficient with marketing, negotiation, and sales skills

Buyer’s Agent: This agent is like the superhero for the person buying your home. They help the buyer find the perfect place (which could be your home!) and provide suggestions when it comes to negotiating the price and terms. 

The Tools

Multiple Listing Service (MLS): Think of this as a giant digital bulletin board where your home’s sale news, specs, and price are posted for all to see. This is exactly where the sites we all know such as Zillow, Redfin,, etc pull their info from. Listing agents input all of the information directly into the MLS.

Docusign/Digisign: Imagine being able to sign all those important papers with just a click on your computer or tap on your phone, from anywhere, even if you’re hanging out on the beach. That’s what DocuSign lets you do! It’s like a magic pen that makes paperwork super easy and fast, without needing any actual paper or pens.

The Moments

Home Inspection: A super-thorough check-up of your home to make sure everything’s in tip-top shape. I’m sure you had one when you purchased!

Termite Inspection: Make sure those little wood-munchers haven’t made a snack out of your home. If you don’t have regular maintenance or your home hasn’t been tented in the past 8 years, just for the sheer fact we live in California, termites will more than likely be found.

Escrow: Think of it as a safe spot, neither in the hands of buyers or sellers,  where important documents and monies are kept until everything is ready to go.

Closing: This is the big finale, like the last scene in a movie where you hand over the keys, and the new owner takes over.

The Money

Asking Price: This is like setting the price tag on your home, hoping buyers will say, “Yes, please!”

Market Value: Imagine how much people would be willing to trade for your home in a giant marketplace. Could be more than the asking price, could be less.

Appraisal: This is when a licensed professional comes to give your home a valuation, letting the buyer know how much it’s really worth (according to them).

Closing Costs: These are the costs it takes to complete a home sale transaction such as Escrow, Title, and Broker Fees.

Earnest Money Deposit (EMD): This is typically wire transferred by the buyer to escrow within the first 3 business days after an offer is accepted. It’s the buyer showing good faith, putting a little skin in the game, and getting the escrow going.

The Offer(s)

Contingency: These are the “but first…” moments. Like, “I’ll buy your home, but first, I need to sell mine.” Or “But first I need to inspect the home.” We see several contingencies buyers add to the terms of their offer such as Loan, Appraisal, Investigations, Inspection, CC&Rs, Title, Seller Disclosures, etc.

Counteroffer: If you’re not thrilled with the first offer, this is your chance to say, “How about this instead?”

Multiple Offers: When more than one buyer wants your home. In CA, you can send them back what’s called a “Seller Multiple Counteroffer” form. This does not obligate you to one offer, but rather allows all offers received to come back for another round either agreeing to your price and terms or presenting you with their own. Then it’s up to you to select which one you’d prefer to go with.

The Extra

Home Staging: It’s like setting the stage for a play, making your home look its best for potential buyers.

Open House: A party where potential homebuyers come to see your home and imagine living there.

Seller Disclosures: Telling the truth about your home, like if there’s a leaky faucet or a ghost in the attic (just kidding about the ghost!). This set up paperwork informs the Buyer of everything needed to know before buying your home.

In Conclusion

Selling your home is a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be scary or confusing. With this guide, you’ll be chatting about escrows and appraisals like a pro in no time. So take a deep breath, team up with your listing agent (hopefully us), and get ready to make your home-selling adventure a hit!

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