Seller's Guide

The Home Selling Process

So you’re ready to sell your home. Before proceeding, it is worthwhile to clarify your motivations for selling, and estimate the impact such move will have on your family, friendships, job commute, and finances. Crystallizing your objectives now will enable you to make clear, rational decisions when in the crucible of the sales process. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. Stress and emotions are heightened by a litany of unknowns, including such things as: Will potential buyers like my home? Will it sell before the kids start school, or before I am scheduled to close on my next home? Will it sell for what I believe that it is worth? Having a game plan will help you sleep at night. A contingency plan will help, too.

Why Do You Want to Sell?

Do you need a larger home or lot? Do you wish to be closer to community amenities? Do you wish to live in another neighborhood or school district? Are you considering a job in another city? Or, are you just simply tired of renting?

When Should I Sell?

Do you need to move quickly? Or, do you have the luxury of time?

What Is The Market Like?

When you work with me, you can be sure that you will have my knowledge, expertise and negotiating skills at work for you to arrive at the best market prices and terms. I will keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and conditions of competing properties. You will know exactly how to price and when to sell your property.

How Do I Optimize My Finances?

Deciding to sell your property demands a serious consideration of your current financial situation and future possibilities. Together, we can assess the cumulative impact of this action, and estimate the proceeds from the sale of your property.

Before proceeding, carefully consider the implication of each option on your lifestyle, opportunities and finances. If you need to sell quickly, I will prepare a Complete Market Analysis for your property to inform your List pricing decision, and immediately initiate a Marketing campaign. If there is no urgent need to sell, we can evaluate the velocity of home sales in your neighborhood by season, and determine the most favorable time to proceed.

Improve curb appeal

  • Power wash the house and outdoor furniture. Replace and paint decayed wood trim. Wash windows. Trim bushes. Fertilize lawn. Rake leaves. Edge and mulch beds. Plant colorful annuals.

Maximize interior space

  • Declutter. Decorate sparsely to give walls, tables and shelves a spacious appearance. Put excess furniture in storage. Add color (pillows, throws, towels).


  • Touch up ceilings, walls and trim. Polish cabinets and furniture. Steam clean carpets and drapes. Re-seal and polish floors. Organize the garage and attic.


  • If your home is 10+ years old, odds are it is a bit out-of-date. Consider replacing cabinet handles, towel bars, ceiling fans, light fixtures, mirrors, outlet covers, door knobs and locksets.

Make repairs

  • Proactively repair leaky roofs, fogged windows, broken shutters, leaky faucets, and slow-draining sinks. Caulk the kitchen sink and bathrooms. Replace burned-out light bulbs.
  • You’ll lose leverage with potential future buyers if your contracted buyer opts out of the deal during the Due Diligence period due to a bad home inspection report.

Next steps

  • Execute an agency agreement
  • Prepare your home for sale
  • Schedule interior design consultation, professional site photography, and floor plan measurements
  • Design and print marketing collateral
  • List property for sale in the Multiple Listing Service
  • Place signage in yard and initiate the marketing plan

*It typically takes 2-4 weeks to prepare a home for sale.*

Buying or selling a property requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner when undertaking such a large purchase. We can guide you through this process, and also provide you with access to property listings before they hit the general market.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing your real estate professional:

  • Look for a full-time agent – one who has experience completing transactions similar to yours.
  • Interview a few agents: Are they familiar with your geographic area?
  • Ask how much time the agent will have for you, and if they are available at night and on weekends.
  • Ask about their credentials and education: A good agent will continually strive to improve and gain knowledge of the latest real estate trends and hold the highest designations in their respective fields of expertise.
  • Does the agent return your calls promptly? Time is money when attempting to buy a property.
  • Ask for references.
  • Choose an agent who listens attentively to your needs and concerns. Pick an agent, with whom you feel comfortable.

Selling valued personal property, especially a home, can be hard on one’s psyche. We bought these items because they met our needs or made us feel good. We become attached, and it can be hard to let go. Therein lies the biggest challenge for many sellers.

The best advice I give my clients is to change how they view their home when it comes time to sell it. Strategic, rational thinking should supercede emotional decision-making. It helps to think of your home as a financial asset, like a stock or bond. Your goal is to sell that asset at a price and with other contractual terms that best meet your needs. While easier said than done, doing so will allow you to make decisions that further your goal.

By minimizing sentiment, it will be easier to make decisions throughout the selling process. This includes where to spend money to maximize your home’s value, how to decorate to appeal to others, how to establish the price point and how to negotiate with a potential buyer.

When potential buyers tour your home, their realtor is expected to provide feedback on what the buyers liked, and didn’t like, about the property. Sometimes the house is just not right for the buyer. The kitchen may be too small, the home may lack in-law suite, or it may not be easily retrofitted to accommodate a person with a physical disability. That’s fair enough. Other times, however, feedback is more subjective, and might even offend. The buyer might dislike your color scheme or fabrics, prefer hardwood floors over carpeting, or not appreciate your choice of fixtures or appliances. In such circumstance, set your emotions aside and work to overcome the buyer’s objections, as there is probably a deal to be made here. For example, you might offer to make some of the requested changes in return for a written purchase commitment. Or, you might shift the home improvement burden to the buyer, by offering to credit the buyer with money at closing to offset the cost of the desired changes. Or, you might include personal property in the deal, such as appliances, electronics or furniture.

Your objective should be to engage the buyer, and try to negotiate the price and other contractual terms that best meet your needs.

Key Concepts:

  • Ask your Agent to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis to aid in determining your Listing Price.This data-driven work product will provide a suggested price range based upon similar homes listed and sold in your area.
  • The Highest Price does not always equate to the Best Offer. Why? A competing offer might include a quick close, higher Due Diligence or Earnest Money fees, or no home sale contingency. Price is but one element to consider when determining the ‘best offer.’
  • North Carolina provides for two types of financial consideration to be paid by the buyer at time of contract inception. Both will be credited to the Buyer at Settlement, which means they become part of his down payment. As the seller, it is often advisable to negotiate material amounts for both, so they compel the Buyer to consummate the purchase.
    • Think of the first — the Due Diligence Fee — as non-refundable money paid directly to you (the seller) in return for taking the property off the market for a short period while the Buyer conducts inspections and appraisal. In North Carolina, the Buyer has the right to terminate the sales contract for any reason before the close of the Due Diligence Period (typically 21 days). If terminated, the Due Diligence fee is forfeited to you and you are able to put the property back on the market.
    • The second, known as the Earnest Money Deposit, is held in trust until Settlement. Should the Buyer wish to cancel the sales contract anytime after the Due Diligence period, the Earnest Money will be forfeited.
  • Require that everything be clearly agreed, in writing. This includes any sales proposals made to you, any counteroffers that you make and any agreements for personal property (appliances, fixtures, furniture, etc.)

Coming Soon!

If you have come this far, this means that it is almost time for a congratulations, but not yet. Do not forget to tie up these loose ends:

Final Walk-Through Inspection

More of a formality than anything else, the final inspection takes place the day before, or the day of the closing. The buyer visits the property to verify that all is in working order, everything is the same as when the buyer last viewed the property, and that there are no extra items left behind.

Cancel Home Services and Utilities

We will provide a list of useful numbers for the termination of home services and utilities after the closing occurs.

Be Prepared

We are ready to assist you should an unforeseen glitch pop up, even at this last stage. If something at the property breaks down or the buyers’ loan does not pull through on time, there is no need to worry. We have encountered these problems before so we know how to handle them efficiently and in a stress-free manner.


The closing agent will furnish all parties involved with a settlement statement, which summarizes and details the financial transactions enacted in the process. The buyer(s) will sign this statement and then you will sign as well as the closing agent, certifying its accuracy. If you are unable to attend the scheduled closing, then arrangements can be made depending on the circumstances and the notice that we receive. If you are receiving funds from the transaction, you can elect to either have the funds wired electronically to an account at your financial institution, or have a check issued to you at the closing. The seller should arrange to have all property keys and any other important information for the new purchaser at the closing, so that the purchaser may receive these items at this time.

Residential Sales Forms

  • Working with Real Estate Agents
  • Exclusive Right-to-Sell Listing Agreement
  • Residential Property and Owner's Association Disclosure Statement
  • Mineral, Oil & Gas Rights Mandatory Disclosure Statement



Key Concepts

  • Prepare home for sale
  • Price rationally
  • Initiate Marketing Plan
  • Require Buyer skin-in-the-game
  • Weigh all offer components
  • Negotiate in writing

Request a confidential home valuation to start your selling process.

Home Valuation

Work With Us

Buying and selling a home requires making many important financial decisions, understanding complex issues, and completing a lot of paperwork. It helps to have an expert in your corner. We look forward to helping you buy, sell or invest in one of the Triangle’s outstanding communities.