Business Sales Process in San Francisco Bay Area

The following is a step-by-step summary of the typical business sales process:

  1. Initial seller meetings are conducted by the seller’s broker (a professionally trained business broker, holding a real estate license when required) and the seller is educated on the process of selling a business.
  2. Market analysis, appraisal, price positioning.
  3. An Engagement Agreement is filled out by the seller’s broker & signed by the seller. Immediately after signing the Representation Agreement, the Seller provides the Broker the following:
    • A list of equipment and other assets to be included in the sale.
    • Profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and tax returns of the business covering the last three years.
    • The most recent financial data.
    • Real and personal property leases.
    • Marketing information that is used in the Company’s business.
  4. Seller’s broker prepares all of the marketing information and it is approved by the seller. The Engagement Agreement is entered into the Sunbelt proprietary database, and a Business Profile is created. Seller’s broker introduces the Business and fields initial questions to all of our other brokers during weekly office meetings.
  5. All other brokers match the Seller’s Business Data (SBD) against buyers in their respective queues (Buyers who have previously been interviewed, signed a Confidentiality Agreement and filled out a detailed Buyer’s Profile). Seller’s broker plans an advertising strategy and the SBD is added to web sites in such a manner so the general public cannot identify the business.
  6. Buyers in queue and buyers who have responded from the advertisements will have their backgrounds and finances evaluated to determine if they are qualified buyers. If qualified buyers are interested in the business for sale, they will be shown a Business Profile. If further interest is shown, the seller’s broker will arrange a meeting with the seller.
  7. If a buyer wants to make an offer, the buyer’s broker will write the offer and secure a deposit.
  8. Seller and seller’s broker will review each offer and decide whether to accept it or counter the offer.
  9. Once an offer is accepted, the seller’s broker will arrange a seller/buyer meeting where the seller and buyer can begin addressing contingencies within the offer.
  10. Contingencies are address and removed.
  11. The broker will facilitate the legal documention and revisions.
  12. The actual sale takes place.

Sign Up For Our Free Business Insights

    Subscribe to receive valuable buyer information, seller information, or information on both.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Sunbelt is proud to be the world’s largest business brokerage network. Each of our offices is independently owned and operated by an experienced and professional owner who lives and works in the community in which they operate.