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Selling a House in California in 2023: Here’s How to Sell in 6 Simple Steps

Selling a house in California

Selling a house in California can be a complex process with unique challenges and legal requirements. You may want to pay attention to the latest housing market trends. According to recent data, in March 2023, home prices in California were down 7.9% compared to the same time last year, selling for a median price of $742,800.

This represents a significant shift from the previous years of consistent price growth. While these statistics may seem concerning, there are still many opportunities to successfully sell your house fast in California.

By understanding the current market conditions and following the right strategies, you can navigate the challenges and achieve your selling goals. In this guide, we will discuss the six steps for how to sell a house in California, so you can sell your home with confidence and ease.


📉 California Housing Market Update

  • Median Home Sale Price Drop YoY: The median home sale price dropped to $364,366, down by 2.3% YoY, the biggest decline in more than a decade.
  • Fewer Buyers are Applying for Mortgages: Mortgage purchase applications were down by 31% YoY. Due to expensive financing, fewer buyers are applying for mortgages.
  • iBuyers are No More a Viable Option: Several iBuyers have either shut down or are suffering massive losses. As per our research, most iBuyers are not offering more than 70% of a property’s Fair Market Value.
  • Bottom Line: In 2023, more sellers in the Golden State are opting to sell their homes by owner. By listing on the MLS with the best FSBO sites in California, your California home gets maximum exposure, and you save thousands of dollars in commissions.

Step 1: Determine How You Want to Sell Your House in California

How you choose to sell will determine all other aspects of selling your own home in California. These include the cost of selling a house in California, marketing strategy, the level of preparation you need, etc.

Home sellers in the Golden State are no longer required to work with only 3% commission realtors to list and sell their houses. You have options now – MLS listing services, discount brokers, FSBO sites, etc. – who work at lower rates. Weigh the pros and cons of each option before you choose one.

  1. Sell With a Discount Broker: A California discount real estate broker offers all the services similar to a traditional broker at discounted rates. Discount brokers in California charge a 1.5%-2% commission or a $3,000-$5,000 flat rate. They will help you with everything, from listing to closing, and offer decent savings.
  2. How to Sell a Home by Owner in California: You can sell your home without a Realtor, independently. You will save the entire 3% listing commission but won’t get MLS access. You can list your California home on For Sale By Owner websites. The best FSBO sites leverage technology to get you listed and connect you with potential buyers directly.
  3. Sell With a Traditional Realtor: We do not recommend working with a traditional Realtor. They charge a 5%-6% commission and control most aspects of the transaction. However, if you need guidance at every step, work with California Realtors in your area with expertise in the California housing market.
  4. Offer Your Home to a Cash Buyer: Selling a home as is in California can be a practical option for homeowners. California cash home buyers offer 30% to 50% of the Fair Market Value and offer flexible closing timelines.

✍️ Pro Tip: Offer your home to an iBuyer if your house is in good condition. iBuyers offer up to 70% of the Fair Market Value and make instant cash offers.

Step 2: Set a Realistic Listing Price

The listing or the asking price is the most important factor for a successful home sale. Typically, the California real estate broker will run comps and help you arrive at an asking price. However, in an FSBO sale, you can use online tools like Zestimate to determine the asking price for your California home.

Do not overprice your home. If you do, your home will spend more days on the market, and buyers may make negative assumptions about it.

On the other hand, underpricing can be a good strategy. Remember, the listing price is not equal to the sale price. The purpose of the listing price is to attract buyers for your home.

You can set the asking price at the lowest price acceptable to you. You might get multiple offers which may lead to a bidding war among buyers. Bidding wars can help you sell at a price higher than what you had in mind. Refer to this informative guide on how to price your home for sale for more such strategies.

Step 3: Market Your Home

A good marketing strategy will help you attract more potential buyers. You can work with a broker to market your home or do it yourself. Here are a few marketing tips that can increase your home sale value substantially:

  • Stage Your Home: You can sell your home for up to $40,000 more by staging it. You can either DIY it or work with local California home staging companies. They will rearrange the interiors of your house to make it look spacious and presentable.
  • Hire a Real Estate Photographer: With professional real estate photography, you could sell your home in California 32% faster. Professionally clicked pictures will make your property listing pop. It will also help you to market your home to 90% of buyers who search for properties online. Check out the top real estate photographers in California.
  • List on MLS: With an MLS listing, you can sell faster and for up to 17% more. Your property listing will also get syndicated to 100+ real estate websites. But, only licensed real estate agents in California have access to the MLS. They charge a 3% commission which can burn a hole in your pocket. You can list your house on MLS in California with California Flat Fee MLS Companies. Houzeo will get you listed for $379, and that too within 48 hours.
  • List on Free FSBO Websites: Several FSBO sites allow you to list your home on their website for free. Your California property can attract buyer traffic that visits a particular FSBO website. Some examples of free FSBO listing websites in California include Craigslist, Zillow,, etc. However, you may attract unverified buyers or scammers as well.
  • Post a Yard Sign: With a yard sign, you can attract unrepresented buyers and save the buyer agent commission. Ensure you get a yard sign with your phone number so that the buyers can contact you directly.
  • Host Open Houses: In a hot market like Jacksonville or Miami, an open house can be a great way of showing your property to home buyers. Also, you can attract unrepresented buyers.

Step 4: Show Your Home to Potential Buyers

Showings are essential when selling a property in California or anywhere. The more the number of buyers touring your home, the greater the chances of you getting an offer. But this doesn’t mean showings should be inconvenient for you. You can use an online showings management tool like Houzeo Showings.

Houzeo Showings allows you to schedule slots for buyers to tour your California house. Home buyers can also request and reschedule or cancel showings.

Step 5: Negotiate Offers

Interested buyers will send written offers to your agent or directly to you, in case of an FSBO sale. In a seller’s market, buyers might make offers above the list price. But, experts predict 2023 to be a buyer’s market. So, be open to negotiations.

As a seller, you can accept, reject, or counter an offer. A counteroffer is a way of negotiating an offer for better terms or prices. It should be in written format and have a set timeframe for the buyers to respond. In the counteroffer, you can offer seller concessions, repair credits, etc., in exchange for selling at the list price.

In case of multiple offers, weigh all of them across various merits and do not accept the highest bid right away. You may want to consider the following before accepting an offer amongst multiple offers:

In a traditional home sale, a real estate professional will negotiate for you. However, as an FSBO seller in California, you are on your own. In such a situation, you can use digital offer management tools like Houzeo Offers. With Houzeo Offers, you can counter an offer, call for the highest and the best offer, and more.

Step 6: Close the Sale

After the seller accepts an offer, the MLS listing status is changed to “house under contract“. You and the buyer have to complete a lot of tasks from contract to closing. Here are the key milestones in the closing process in California:

Allow the Buyer to Complete the Due Diligence

After you accept an offer, your California property goes off the market, and the buyer can perform the necessary due diligence. The buyer inspects their to-be-home to proceed with the purchase.

Post due diligence, the buyer works on securing a mortgage, known as the underwriting period. During this period, the lender verifies the buyer’s finances and inspects and appraises the property. An amount equivalent to the property’s appraised value is sanctioned to the buyer.

Pay the Closing Costs

As a seller, you will pay 5%-6% in California real estate commissions, equally split between your and the buyer’s agent. Additional seller closing costs in California that you may have to incur include:

» California Seller Closing Costs Calculator: Estimate the exact cost to sell a house in California.

Sign the Escrow and Title Documents

This is the final step in the process of selling a home in California. Here, you sign the escrow and title documents needed to sell a house by owner in California. Additionally, you sign the deed and closing disclosure. Ensure you bring two valid ID proofs at the signing.

After the close of the escrow, the new homeowner’s details are registered in the public records. You receive a wire transfer or a check for the final home sale price, and the sale is complete.

Final Word

The California real estate market has experienced fluctuations in recent times. As a result, homeowners are wondering when is the best time to sell a house in California

Get on the MLS with a Flat Fee Realtor or a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. With Houzeo, your home will be listed for $379 within 48 hours. Read Houzeo reviews to know what home sellers across California say about Houzeo.

Don’t let the complexities of the real estate market deter you from selling your home in California. With the right resources and approach, you can successfully navigate the process and move on to your next adventure.


1. How much are closing costs for seller in California?

Closing costs for sellers in California typically range from 6% to 10% of the sale price of the home. These costs can include real estate agent commissions, title fees, transfer taxes, and other miscellaneous expenses. You can save thousands of dollars in the listing agent commission by selling your house by owner in California. You can work with a California Flat Fee MLS company to get listed on the MLS and manage the other aspects of the home selling journey on your own.

2. What disclosures are required when selling a house in California?

There are several required disclosures when selling a house in California, including a Transfer Disclosure Statement, a Natural Hazard Disclosure Report, and a Smoke Detector and Water Heater Statement of Compliance.

3. How to sell your house without a realtor in California?

Selling a house in California without a realtor can be a viable option for homeowners who want to save on commission fees. To sell your house without a realtor, you'll need to price the home correctly, market it effectively, and be prepared to handle all aspects of the transaction, including negotiations and paperwork. You can manage other aspects of selling real estate in California using Houzeo tools like Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and more. With a Flat Fee MLS listing, you will sell fast and save thousands in real estate commissions.

4. What are the taxes for selling a house in California?

In California, the taxes for selling a house include Capital Gains Tax, which is calculated based on the profit from the sale, and Transfer Tax, which is a percentage of the sale price. The Capital Gains Tax rate is currently 13.3% for high-income earners, while the Transfer Tax rate varies by county.

Selling a House in California Near Me

Click on your city or county to understand how selling real estate works in your area.

#County/CitySelling a Home in California Near Me
1. San DiegoSell My House San Diego, CA
2.Los AngelesSell My House in Los Angeles, CA
3.SacramentoSell My House in Sacramento, CA
4.BernardinoSell My House in Bernardino, CA

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