Timeline for Selling a Home

in Eastern North Carolina & the Triangle

Gearing up to list your home in Clayton, Smithfield, Garner, Goldsboro, or another Eastern North Carolina community? Now's the time to start planning! Home-selling is a multi-step process, and it's crucial to prepare in advance so you'll know exactly what to expect.

If you're ready to get started, we have a few tips that will help you before, during, and after the sale. Have questions? Let us know—we're here to help!

Before Listing Your Home

Selling a home involves so much more than sticking a "For Sale" sign in your front yard. If you really want to attract motivated buyers, putting in a little pre-listing prep work will pay off in the long run.

2+ months out

Find an experienced local real estate agent

The secret behind every successful home sale is a top-notch local agent. Even if you aren't quite ready to list, it's crucial to establish a connection with the right real estate agent at least a few months in advance. Don't be afraid to interview a few candidates before making a decision—you want to make sure you're working with someone you can trust!

6 – 8 weeks out

Consider repairs and improvements

Before your home hits the market, your agent will likely perform a walkthrough and make recommendations for potential value-boosting improvements. In most cases, taking on a major renovation won't net you a greater profit. Instead, focus on smaller details, like refinishing your floors, painting walls in neutral tones, or updating your fixtures and hardware. 

4 – 8 weeks out

Price it right

While it may be tempting to use an automatic estimator to price your home, these tools can potentially be off by more than 10% or more. To put the numbers into perspective, that's a $30,000 difference on home worth $300,000!

Instead, talk with your agent to determine a competitive price for your home. They'll be able to calculate a number that will attract buyers, all without sacrificing a penny of your equity. 

1 – 4 weeks out

Get your home ready

Staging is the easiest way to make a lasting first impression on buyers. Start by decluttering your space room by room and cleaning every nook and cranny. Next, depersonalize your home by getting rid of any family photos, nicknacks, or other niche decor. Flowers, neutral artwork, or lightly scented candles can serve as the perfect neutral accents.

Don't forget to spruce up your exterior, too! Now is the time to rake up those leaves, mow the lawn, and get your landscaping looking its best.

Listing Your Home

Now that you've done all the hard work, your home is finally market-ready! Here's what to expect as you search for the right buyer.


Reach the greatest number of buyers

Your real estate agent will be responsible for marketing your home to the right buyer. This involves listing your home on the MLS, promoting it on social media, creating print advertisements, and hosting open houses. Some agents (like the Beth Hines Team) also offer Coming Soon marketing, which allows potential buyers to preview your home online before it's listed.


Let buyers take a tour

Although most buyers browse homes for sale online, they'll probably want to take an in-person tour before submitting an offer. To keep your home ready for showings at all times, establish a regular cleaning schedule. You'll want to ensure that there are no dishes in the sink, all beds are made, and the trash is taken out before buyers show up to your door. Additionally, you should be ready to clear out of the house during showings to avoid making buyers uncomfortable.

Dealing with offers

Negotiate and accept an offer

If you've prepped your home correctly, it probably won't take long to receive your first offer. An interested buyer will submit an offer, which will detail how much they'll pay, their financing, closing and occupancy dates, and any contingencies. From here, you can accept the offer, negotiate different terms, or decline.

Don't be surprised if you have to go back and forth with your buyer to hammer out a deal that works for everyone. And if you have any questions, your agent will be there to guide you through the negotiating process.

The Closing Process

You're almost there! Just a few more steps until you hand over your keys and officially sell your home.

Due diligence

Cooperate with home inspections & appraisals

Most buyers will want to conduct a home inspection and appraisal before the closing. During a home inspection, a qualified inspector will check for any major or minor issues, paying careful attention to the roof, basement, heating and cooling systems, structure, plumbing, and electrical systems.

If a buyer is taking out a mortgage, their lender may request an appraisal. This process involves an appraiser inspecting your home to confirm its market value. Appraisals prevent the lender from letting the buyer borrow more than a home is worth.

Waiting in escrow

Gather some paperwork

Next, you'll enter the escrow period. During this time, you and your agent will settle any remaining paperwork before the closing, and your buyer will formally acquire their mortgage. 

Finally... the close!

Sign, collect & hand over your keys

The day you've been waiting for is finally here! On a pre-determined date, you'll sit down with your agent and sign a few more documents related to the sale. Once you've paid all your fees, relinquished your keys, and transferred your title, you've finally sold your home! Congrats!

There's Never Been a Better Time to Sell

Thinking about listing your home in the Triangle or Eastern North Carolina? Let the Beth Hines Team guide you through every step of the process! As the number one RE/MAX team in the Carolinas, we know a thing or two about selling homes fast and for top dollar. Drop us a line, or take a look at our resources below to get started.