The Home Selling Process

The process of selling your home has many steps. You may want to sell it quickly and easily, but netting the highest possible price requires planning, thought, and hard work.

Below is a timeline of the four key areas involved in selling your home: planning, listing, receiving offers, and finalizing the sale.

1. Plan and prepare

Find an agent

First, you should choose your listing agent. This person will help you through the entire process and is integral to getting the most value out of your home. Some agencies, like Zoocasa Realty, offer a full-service experience, which includes de-cluttering, staging, listing, online marketing, and strategic consultation throughout.

Clean up

You’ll want to start de-cluttering your house to prepare for staging and showing. (Think of it as doing the leg work and packing for your move early!) It’s a good idea to rent a storage unit if you have a lot of personal effects you plan to move with you; you can box up items you don’t use regularly to clear space. It’s important that your home look clean and spacious when showing.

Rules of thumb: remove all items from surfaces, remove half the items in your kitchen cupboards, and remove two-thirds of clothes in every closet.

Hire a staging specialist

A staging consultation should happen early on. This can be coordinated through your listing agent or you can hire them separately (and they can also help as de-clutter specialists, too!). Staging is the process of making your home as presentable as possible, and includes bringing in alternate furniture, painting rooms, and making the entire space neutral. To learn more, check out our page on staging your home.

Make a timeline

Your staging expert, in conjunction with your listing agent, will help to develop a timeline of your sale, from start to finish. It’s important to establish this early on so you have cleaning and storage deadlines, and know what to expect around listing and closing dates. Your timeline should include de-cluttering, landscaping, maintenance items, upgrades and/or renovations, staging, a pre-list inspection, photos and floorplans, pre-list marketing, and your listing schedule.

Obtain a pre-listing home inspection While buyers will have their own inspector look through your home, it’s highly recommended that you hire an inspector of your own to identify existing conditions. Many problems are fixable in a short period of time, so it’s best to remedy those before you put your home on the market. This will also help alleviate any concerns of potential buyers. Read our page on home inspection repairs for more information.

2. Go live and launch marketing

Take professional photos and virtual walkthrough tour

Once your home is staged, you’ll have photos taken and a virtual tour developed. Your media will be shown on its own website, so potential buyers can find all the information about your property in one place. This includes a floor plan and even 3D renderings of your home.

Release online marketing

Your listing agent will put your home up on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so all agents can access it and bring their buyers to viewings. It will also go up on sites like and other real estate listing sites for maximum reach. Some agents will also do a social media blast—the more eyes on your listing, the better.

There are also creative ways to reach buyers specific to your home online, like paid Facebook marketing, for example. Ask your agent for more details and ideas.

Release print marketing

You’ll have a for sale sign on your lawn to attract locals to your sale. Some agents will mail out postcards, and brochures and feature sheets will be available at viewings and events.

Host open houses and events

There will likely be one or two open houses on the first weekend after your listing goes live. You could also have a VIP preview for friends and family to show off your home and create some buzz. You want to have as many buyers view your home as possible, so high traffic events are key.

Develop a pricing strategy

Great agents understand the current market, so they’ll be able to advise your price range and strategies to gain the most interest in your property. It’s important to choose the correct asking price to attract the maximum number of buyers. To learn about how agents decide on your list price, read our page on pricing strategies.

3. Review offers

Receive offers

Your agent will receive any potential offers on your home and will review them with you to discuss your options. If your process has created a bidding war, your agent will advise how to get the highest price possible. You may also receive a bully offer, meaning an offer submitted before your requested offer date, and your agent will advise you on how to handle those as well.

For information on what’s included in an offer, check out our page on purchase and sale agreements.


Some offers will include conditions, like a home inspection before closing, dealing with tenants, or even an escape clause. Conditions allow buyers to walk away from a deal if they’re not met, or re-negotiate to alter it. In multiple offer scenarios, offers with fewer conditions will usually be favoured. For a full list, go to our page on common conditions.

4. Finalize the sale

Clear conditions

If there were conditions in your accepted offer, they must cleared prior to your deal going firm. Once firm, all of the final terms of your transaction are set for closing.

Organize your move

There’s a lot more to getting to your next home than hiring movers. You’ll likely have to pack a lot of boxes, so get a good head start. Be sure to change your mailing address, especially with your bank and any government departments. Inform the utility companies that you’ll be moving, and cancel or transfer your home insurance.

Pay closing costs

On closing day, there are a number of costs you’ll have to take care of:

  • Mortgage penalties
  • Real estate commission
  • Lawyer’s fees
  • Adjustments for underpayments on property taxes