How Do I Sell Stocks & Shares?

by Joe Andrews, Demand Media

    Selling stocks and shares is easy if you have a broker or an online brokerage account. Instead of calling your broker to buy or hitting the purchase key, you instead call to sell or hit the sell button. However, if your shares are at home or in an account that was transferred to you, selling stock may be a little like learning a foreign language. Luckily, the language of stock trading is pretty easy once the shares are in a spot where you can easily make trades.

    Step 1

    Choose a brokerage account to sell your shares. If you’re going to be buying and selling in the future and need a platform for trading, compare online brokerage firms if you plan on working alone. If you want a professional’s help, look toward full-service firms. You’ll pay more to sell this stock, but you’ll have help picking investments in the future. If this is your only trade, open an online or discount brokerage account to save money on fees.

    Step 2

    Request the paperwork to open checking, wire transfers or direct deposit if you’re selling to claim cash quickly. By knowing how to receive money from the brokerage account ahead of time, you’ll clear up any misunderstandings later and speed the process. Fill out the forms and return them with your brokerage account application.

    Step 3

    Deposit your shares into the brokerage account. Ask your broker specifically what they need from you. Typically, you’ll sign your name on the back of the shares as indicated using the exact same name as appears on the front of the certificate. Write your account number in the top right corner of the certificate. Find out the name of the firm to write in the space between appoint and attorney from your broker. Send shares certified mail to ensure that they arrive at the appropriate destination. Fidelity Investments recommends also buying insurance at 2 percent of the share value.

    Step 4

    Check a stock chart to decide if it’s the wrong time to sell. Although financial experts know that it’s impossible to time the market, there are dangerous times to trade. Look up your stock on a website such as E*Trade Clearstation or MarketWatch Bigcharts. If the volume chart is above normal or the stock chart shows the stock dropping quickly or skyrocketing, check for news about the company. There may be a new financial report, management change or product issue that you’re unaware of and should understand before trading.

    Step 5

    Sell your shares using a market or limit order. Market orders execute immediately when you place the trade. Use a limit order if you want to sell the stock only if it drops in value. Pick a price below the current trading level and place your limit order. If the stock descends to this price, your trade will trigger, selling the stock.

    About the Author

    As a former financial advisor to companies and individuals for 16 years, Joe Andrews knows financial planning and marketing from start-ups to personal budgets. He also writes on motor racing, board games and travel. Andrews received his B.A. from Michigan State University in English. He is currently working on a young adult novel.