how to sell a house by owner North Carolina

How to sell a house by owner North Carolina

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Selling a house without a realtor can potentially save you thousands of dollars, however there is more time and money involved selling a house by owner than most people anticipate. This guide explains how to sell For Sale By Owner (FSBO) in North Carolina and provides the steps for managing your own sale.

“For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) refers to the practice of selling a house without a realtor. In a for sale by owner transaction, the homeowner takes on the responsibility of marketing, negotiating, and completing the sale of their property directly with potential buyers. This approach is chosen by some homeowners who wish to save on the commission fees typically associated with hiring a real estate agent. However, FSBO transactions can present challenges, as homeowners must navigate the complexities of the real estate market and legal requirements without professional assistance.

The idea of saving on commission fees when selling a house by owner can be compelling. This is why DIY-homeowners opt for the For Sale By Owner route. However, selling a house by owner requires a significant amount of effort compared to working with an agent. It demands thorough mental, emotional, and financial preparation.

There are key steps a homeowner must take when learning how to sell a house by owner in North Carolina. In a For Sale By Owner transaction, the homeowner must establish a realistic asking price, stage the property for sale, capture appealing photographs for marketing, prep and review all contractual documentation, conduct due diligence on the buyer’s financial background, procure and negotiate offers, retain legal counsel if necessary, and ultimately finalize the sale.

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While the process of selling without a realtor is nearly identical to selling with one, there’s a substantial difference when the homeowner is required handle all tasks independently.

If you want to learn more about the intricacies of how to sell a house by owner in North Carolina, this comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary insights to kickstart the process.

If you’re planning to sell a house without a realtor, you’re probably wondering how successful the endeavor is. According to annual studies performed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), FSBO’s are becoming less and less popular due to some of the challenges we will discuss in this article. In fact, for sale by owner’s hit an all-time low of only 7% of all sales in 2023, and FSBO’s sold at a 30% lower median sales price of $310,000, compared to $405,000 for homes listed with a realtor.

According to another study by NAR, the following tasks are ranked in order of the most challenging tasks when you decide to try a For Sale By Owner:

  1. Getting the right price
  2. Understanding and performing paperwork
  3. Selling within the planned length of time
  4. Preparing/fixing up home for sale
  5. Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale
  6. Attracting potential buyers
  7. Helping buyers obtain financing

Despite the challenges, there is no denying the enticement of saving on realtor commissions. With the median home price in North Carolina now soaring above $320,000, there is an opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars by selling a house without a realtor. In most areas of North Carolina, realtor commissions still average 5-6% which is deducted from seller’s proceeds and disbursed 50/50 between listing agent and buyer agent. And although the recent National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) settlement has the chance to change how realtor commissions are paid – it is still a significant savings that a seller can retain if selling a house by owner.

If you plan to sell a house by owner, you’re going to need a plan that a realtor would follow to get your house sold like a traditional listing. Here is a step by step plan on how to sell a house by owner in North Carolina.

1. Determine a list price

Establishing a realistic and attractive price when selling a house for sale by owner is arguably the most critical aspect. While aiming for a lucrative return on investment is understandable, overpricing the property can deter potential buyers and lead to extended time on the market. There are three ways to help you determine an accurate list price.

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A home appraisal is an evaluation conducted by a professional appraiser to determine the fair market value of a property. The purpose of a home appraisal is to provide an unbiased and independent assessment of the property’s worth, based on various factors such as its size, condition, location, comparable sales in the area, and other relevant market conditions.

A CMA is a valuation report prepared by a real estate agent to estimate the value of a property based on recent sales of similar properties in the same area. A CMA typically includes information on comparable properties that have recently sold, properties currently on the market, and properties that were listed but did not sell. While similar to a home appraisal, a CMA is not conducted by a licensed appraiser and is generally less formal and most any real estate agent will be willing to conduct a CMA for a small fee even if you plan to sell a house by owner.

A free and easy way to give you a “ballpark” value of your home is with the technology available to you on the web. Although this is a less accurate method to determine your home value, it can be a good way to give you an idea, or a range, of your home’s value. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, and are all helpful resources. Keep in mind, the values given on these sites are simply algorithm’s produced from other data on the web. Although they pull their data from reliable sources, such as the MLS, they do not take into consideration condition of the home and can often have inaccurate information which can significantly impact the estimate given.

selling a house without a realtor North Carolina

2. Prepare the house

Depending on how the home has been cared for, this can be a significant endeavor – or a simple one.

Marketing a house that needs repairs is one of the biggest mistakes made by FSBO sellers. It can drastically reduce the profits of a price-conscious FSBO seller. And it will almost certainly cause your house to stay on the market longer.

With a modest investment, you can immediately captivate potential buyers by enhancing the exterior of your home. Consider hiring landscapers to revitalize your yard’s look through tasks such as trimming and edging the grass, adding fresh mulch, and planting colorful flowers to elevate its visual appeal. Particularly in North Carolina, where spring brings a blanket of yellow pollen, consider having your house power washed to maintain its cleanliness and attractiveness.

Consider what potential buyer’s are looking for in a home, not necessarily what your taste is. It is beneficial to have as much of your personal belongings and furniture packed away and out of the house if possible. This will allow a prospective buyer to envision the house as their own and make the space seem larger.

3. Photos

A study conducted by Redfin found that homes listed with professional photos sold for an average of $3,400 to $11,200 more than homes listed with amateur photos. Another study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that homes with professional photos received 61% more online views and sold faster than those with amateur photos.

4. Market your home

Once your home is staged for listing and you’ve obtained professional photos, it’s time to initiate your for sale by owner marketing process. Here are several effective strategies to market your property for sale by owner.

  1. Highlight Unique Selling Points: Identify and emphasize the distinctive features and benefits of your property. This could include special amenities, recent upgrades, or desirable location aspects.
  2. Craft Compelling Descriptions: Write engaging and descriptive text that captures the imagination of potential buyers. Use vivid language to paint a picture of what it would be like to live in the property.
  3. Provide Accurate Details: Include accurate and comprehensive details about the property, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any notable features or upgrades. This helps reduce skeptical buyers often seen with For Sale By Owner listings.
  4. Engage with Emotion: Appeal to buyers’ emotions by highlighting the lifestyle and potential memories that could be made in the property. Help them envision themselves living there and enjoying the space.

Check if your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the largest database of available homes for sale, can offer a flat fee service to list your house as a for sale by owner. While it does entail a cost, leveraging the MLS significantly enhances your likelihood of selling your home, as it’s often the primary resource buyers turn to when searching for properties.

Some individuals overlook the importance of placing a yard sign when selling a house without a realtor. They fail to recognize that many potential buyers drive through the neighborhoods they are interested in. Consider investing in a professional, custom yard sign rather than handwritten ones and put your phone number on the sign. However, before doing so, it’s crucial to check with the local MLS, as some may not permit For Sale By Owner signs while the property is listed.

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Harness the power of social media when selling your house by owner by posting professional photos of your property along with a detailed description on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Encourage your friends and family to share your post to reach a wider audience.

Advertising in the local newspaper could potentially generate offers, particularly if print media is still widely read in your area. However, this method can be costly, so ensure that your ad is impactful and likely to be seen by your target audience.

For Sale By Owner homes often find buyers quickly as owners promote them through their networks of family, colleagues, and friends. Even if your immediate contacts aren’t interested in your property, they might know individuals who are actively searching for a house.

5. Host open houses

When conducting an open house as a For Sale By Owner listing, consider the following steps:

  1. Prepare the property by cleaning, decluttering, and staging it to highlight its best features.
  2. Promote the open house through various channels, such as social media, online listings, and local advertising.
  3. Welcome visitors warmly, give tours highlighting key features, and follow up with attendees to gauge interest and address any questions or concerns.
  4. Follow up with attendees after the open house to gauge their interest and answer any additional questions they may have.
how to sell a house without a realtor North Carolina

6. Document preparation

When working with an agent, or dealing with investors and cash home buyers, much of the paperwork is typically managed by them. However, since you’re selling a house without a realtor, you’ll need to prepare various documents like the sales contract, property survey, title, and more. We’ve detailed all the necessary paperwork in a later section of this article, so be sure to review it.

7. Assess and negotiate offers

When negotiating offers it’s essential to carefully review each offer, understanding its terms and conditions. The commonly used 2-T North Carolina Offer to Purchase form is now 17 pages long so be sure to understand its terms.

Define your bottom line and communicate promptly with potential buyers. Strategically counteroffer if necessary, remaining flexible and open to negotiation to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Seek guidance from professionals if needed, and ensure that all agreements are clearly documented in writing. Effective communication and negotiation skills are key if you plan to sell a house by owner.

8. Vet buyers

fsbo North Carolina

After receiving an offer, it’s crucial to ensure the potential buyer can genuinely afford your home for sale. This can be accomplished by requesting proof of funds or a mortgage pre-approval letter from them. The latter is often preferred as it specifies the amount the buyer is eligible to borrow from the lender. If, for instance, they possess conditional loan approval, inquire about the conditions they must satisfy for their loan to be approved.

9. Find a real estate attorney

When finalizing the home sale, opt to close with a real estate attorney to have them assist with the legal documents. Having legal guidance reduces the risk of the transaction and is particularly beneficial if you’re unfamiliar with the intricacies of how to sell a house by owner.

Selling a house is a major real estate transaction so anticipate a substantial amount of paperwork. In this section, you’ll gain insight into all the legal documents required when you sell a house by owner in North Carolina.

Prior to listing

Prior to listing your property, gather essential documents to provide information about your home and any upgrades made since your ownership began:

Title: Lists all legal owners of the property.
Original Sales Contract: Proves current and previous ownership and includes property disclosures.
Property Survey: Outlines property boundaries.
Professional Appraisal: Provides property valuation.
Floor Plan or Blueprint: Aids in inspections and shows property changes.
Homeowners Insurance Record: Demonstrates insurance coverage and claims history.
Mortgage Statement: Shows mortgage status and payoff amount.
Records of Repair and Maintenance: Includes receipts, warranties, and utility maps.
Homeowners Association (HOA) Documents: Pertinent for townhouses or condos.
Manuals and Warranties: For appliances included in the sale.
Capital Improvement Receipts Plus Permits: Documents property upgrades.
Utility Bills: Show operating costs.

While listed

During the listing period, additional documents are necessary:

Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): Helps set a realistic price.
Net Sheet: Calculates proceeds from each offer.
Pre-inspection Report: Identifies necessary repairs or updates.
Preliminary Report: Summarizes financial claims against the property.
Mandatory Disclosures: Lists hazards and defects affecting the property.

Once under contract

Once an offer is received, essential documents for negotiation include:

Offer and Counteroffer Forms: Document negotiation terms.
Final Purchase and Sale Agreement: Specifies terms and closing details.

Prior to closing

Before closing the sale, ensure the following documents are in order:

Home Appraisal Report: Provides property valuation considerations.
Home Inspection Report: Highlights property condition and potential issues.


During the closing process, key documents include:

Deed: Transfers property ownership from seller to buyer.
Closing Disclosure: Outlines closing costs and fees.
Recent Tax Statement: Determines outstanding taxes and potential tax obligations.
1099-S Tax Form: Ensures the full amount of capital gains received for a real estate sale


When selling a house for sale by owner, providing accurate lot dimensions to the buyer is essential. This will necessitate a land survey, typically costing between $500 to $1,000. If you don’t already have one.

Home inspection

A home inspection is crucial for sellers to identify necessary repairs or improvements before listing, with costs ranging from $300 to $600.

Home repairs

Major issues discovered during the home inspection, such as plumbing or roofing problems, may require costly repairs mandated by the lender with an wide range of potential costs depending on the severity.


To establish a realistic selling price, sellers may opt to hire a professional appraiser when selling without a realtor. Fees typically range from $500 to $1,000.


Professional photography enhances listing quality and marketability, especially if selling without a realtor, costing sellers approximately $150 to $400 if they lack photography skills and hire a professional.


Marketing expenses, including flat fee listings, signage, print ads, and social media promotions, vary widely, ranging from $50 to $2,500, depending on the extent of marketing efforts.

Real estate attorney/sales contract

For guidance during closing and drafting sales contracts, sellers may enlist the services of a real estate attorney, typically charging hourly rates averaging between $150 and $350.

Home warranty

While offering peace of mind to buyers, home warranties covering items like septic systems, HVAC maintenance, and roofing can range from $600 to $800.

Closing costs

Closing costs, encompassing various fees like title insurance and transfer tax, typically amount to 8% to 10% of the home’s sales price. Sellers usually cover the buyer’s agent fee, ranging from 2.5% to 3%.

Alternatively, sellers may opt to sell to cash home buyers, avoiding these expenses and fees, as cash buyers purchase homes as-is and cover closing costs.

Although it is quite obvious why a seller would want to sell a house without a realtor (save on commissions), the end result of selling a house by owner may not be as enticing as you would think. We’ve already mentioned how FSBO transactions sell at 30% lower prices than those sold with a realtor. In addition, here are some other drawbacks to selling a house without a realtor in North Carolina.

More stress

It is not uncommon for homeowners to have the notion that real estate agents are overcompensated for their services and may not possess superior knowledge of the home selling process compared to the average seller. But according to a study from Clever Real Estate, upon reflecting on their experiences post-transaction, FSBO sellers acknowledged that they made certain errors without the guidance of a professional.

how to sell your house FSBO North Carolina

In fact, the study shows that homeowners who sell without a realtor are twice as likely to express dissatisfaction with the selling experience. In addition, survey respondents acknowledged that they probably earned less money from their home sale and encountered increased stress due to the absence of a professional representative.

More difficult than expected

In the same study, over one-third of sellers who sell without a realtor found the process to be more challenging than anticipated. These sellers confessed to encountering the following issues:

• Buyers exhibited distrust because they lacked an agent (43%)
• They faced difficulty comprehending their contracts (40%)
• Legal errors were made due to the absence of an agent (36%)

Longer selling process

Home sellers without a realtor are nearly twice as likely to report not accepting an offer for at least three months. In contrast, 53% of sellers who enlisted an agent indicate accepting an offer within a month of listing their home. Ironically, many homeowners who chose to sell without a realtor cited selling faster as their primary reason for selling a house without a realtor.

If you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to sell your house by owner, there are three alternatives to consider.

Hire a realtor

As you can see, realtor’s shoulder a lot of the burden when selling a house. It’s also proven that you can expect a higher sales price when selling with a realtor. There is a cost, but often times the upside outweighs the cost of selling with a realtor.

Request an offer from an iBuyer

iBuyers are companies that provide fast cash offers on homes using technology and algorithms, offering sellers a streamlined alternative to traditional listing methods. However, there are drawbacks to consider. iBuyers often purchase homes below market value, potentially resulting in lower offers for sellers. Additionally, sellers may encounter additional fees and limited market reach, as iBuyers operate in select markets. The tech-driven process may lack personalized service, and potential delays could arise during the transaction. Sellers may also be required to make repairs or renovations to the home, adding time and expense to the process. While iBuyers offer convenience, sellers should carefully weigh these drawbacks against their specific needs and preferences before proceeding.

Sell your house to a cash home buyer

A cash home buyer is an entity or individual who purchases properties directly from sellers using cash, typically without relying on financing. Selling to a cash buyer offers several benefits, including a faster sale process, often closing deals within days or weeks. Sellers also benefit from certainty, as cash buyers reduce the risk of deals falling through due to loan issues or appraisals. Additionally, the process is convenient with less paperwork and fewer contingencies, and sellers can often avoid fees associated with traditional real estate transactions.

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Cash buyers typically purchase properties in their current condition, sparing sellers the need for repairs or renovations, and may offer flexible terms to accommodate sellers’ needs. Overall, selling to a cash home buyer provides sellers with a straightforward and efficient way to sell their properties, particularly for those seeking a quick sale or with properties in need of repairs.

Selling a house without a realtor can be a daunting task and add unnecessary stress. However, there are cases when it can make sense – especially if you have extensive real estate knowledge and your house is in great condition. If the steps outlined in this article seem overwhelming, then a For Sale By Owner may be not be the best approach to selling your house. Before starting the process, carefully weigh the pro’s and con’s to determine if you want to sell a house by owner.

These findings apply to all cities and towns in North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Johnston County, Sanford, Burlington, and surrounding areas.

At Freedom Choice Realty & Investments we buy properties in North Carolina in any condition and in any circumstance. We work directly with homeowners who choose to sell a house by owner. We pay cash for properties making the transaction quick and easy. We even have real estate attorney’s who work with us that can help expedite the lien settlement process for you.

If you’re interested in selling a house without a realtor North Carolina, fill out the form below or contact us at (919) 285-1284 for a no-obligation cash offer.

Sell Your North Carolina House Fast For Cash Today

START HERE: We buy houses in North Carolina in ANY CONDITION. Whether you need to sell your North Carolina home fast for cash or list with a local agent for top dollar, we can help.
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I need to sell my home fast North Carolina

Author: Jason Hill

I am a seasoned real estate agent and investor with nearly a decade of experience buying houses directly from homeowners who choose to sell by owner in North Carolina. As the founder of Freedom Choice Realty & Investments my mission is to deliver simple and hassle free selling solutions to North Carolina homeowners. With the ability to pay cash for your house, close quickly, and buy it as-is, we have a unique offering that caters to those looking for ways to sell a house without a realtor in North Carolina.