The Home Selling Process

Tips from a seasoned real estate pro.

For many individuals, a home’s value represents their single largest investment. Maximizing the return on that investment often goes hand-in-hand with how they embark on next chapter in their lives – whether it’s moving to a larger home, downsizing, relocating to another city or retiring. Even in the most ideal circumstances, when limited inventory favors sellers and homes sell for top dollar, the process is complex.

Drawing on years of experience as a licensed REALTOR®, Brad Kappel delivers proactive, individualized attention to each client with the goal of achieving the optimal sales price in the shortest period of time. An Annapolis native, Brad’s in-depth knowledge of the market in Anne Arundel County and other locations in Maryland is indispensible. He has extensive experience selling waterfront estates and high-end luxury homes.

Sellers benefit from Brad’s knowledge at every stage of the process. He combines his marketing expertise and vision to accentuate a property’s potential in order to attract the most interest in his listings. Brad advises on what to do prior to putting a home on the market; helps owners determine an appropriate list price based on comparable sales, condition and motivation; arranges for professional staging and photography; markets the property through traditional, social and networking channels; hosts agent tours and open houses; drafts sales contracts; and meticulously coordinates all the elements critical to a successful closing and transfer.

What should homeowners consider before putting up the “For Sale” sign? What should they anticipate when it’s on the market and during the transfer period? These tips from Brad will help frame the process and put sellers in the best position to maximize the value of their homes: 

Getting Started

  • Schedule a free, no-obligation home evaluation. Brad will meet with you at your home, share recent sales prices of similar homes in your neighborhood, discuss the factors that are driving your interest in selling, perform a walk through, and provide recommendations that can add value to your property.
  • Prioritize your to-do list. Determine if you wish to proactively address recommended repairs and improvements or prefer to have these reflected in a lower listing price.
  • Compile an inventory of home improvements and equipment replacements. List ages/replacement dates for heating and cooling systems, roofs, water heaters and conditioning systems, windows, doors, siding, well/septic equipment, kitchen/laundry appliances, additions and decks. Determine if warranties can convey to new owners, and obtain transfer instructions if applicable. Prepare list of dates that routine maintenance was performed on fireplaces, HVAC, septic systems, etc.
  • Be forthcoming regarding past/present issues and mitigation efforts. Brad will advise on issues that must be disclosed to sellers. This might include events related to flooding, electrical, plumbing, well and septic, pest control, etc.
  • Compile list of items that will and will not convey, and items that may be negotiable. Brad can help you determine what items add value to your home in the eyes of potential buyers. If you have pre-paid contracts for services such as HVAC systems, lawn spraying/fertilization, fireplace inspection/cleaning, security systems, etc., determine if these can be transferred to the new owner.
  • Put your home’s best foot forward. Curb appeal; maximizing the interior space and natural light; and cleanliness are high priorities for potential buyers. Declutter; remove personal items, toys and excess furniture; and thoroughly clean from top to bottom. Brad can help you obtain the services of professional home cleaners, landscapers, stagers and photographers to show your home to its best advantage.
  • Determine your listing price. When you are ready to officially list your home, Brad will advise on the recommended listing price. He will also review his strategy for marketing the home based on the latest market intelligence and trends.

Showing Your Home

  • Be flexible on showings. Buyers are fickle. While they understand the need to make an appointment to view a home for this first time, if they ask for a second look, don’t risk losing them to another property because it wasn’t convenient. Keep your home “show ready” at all times. Be prepared to go for a drive, take in a movie or visit friends when the showing takes place – and if you have pets, take them with you.
  • Seek feedback. As your agent, Brad will share with you the feedback he receives from other professional real estate agents and prospective buyers who have toured your home. This may include observations on price, condition and other elements. He will then help you determine if adjustments should be considered.
  • Answer questions promptly. Prospective buyers, especially those who are seriously considering your home, may ask about homeowner’s association covenants and obligations, typical utility costs, zoning restrictions, nearby building activity, schools, and whether you would consider negotiating the sale of additional items, such as furniture, appliances, recreation equipment, boats, etc. Brad will help you address these questions and provide the buyer’s agent with answers in a timely manner.

Considering Offers

  • Understand each offer. Even if you get multiple offers on your home, there are many elements to consider in addition to the price. Brad will point out the pros and cons of each offer you receive, including any contingencies, possession timing, financing and other factors so you can make an informed evaluation. An expert negotiator, he will help you determine whether to counter offers and provide guidance on how to respond to any concessions or special terms the buyer has requested.   

Accepting an Offer

  • Signing the Purchase and Sale Agreement. After agreeing on an offer, both the seller and the buyer will be presented with a legal contract to review and sign. For your protection, Brad will carefully review this document to determine all of the agreed-upon terms, conditions and contingencies are covered prior to obtaining your signature.
  • Accommodate inspectors. In most cases, a purchase contract will include a home inspection contingency. A licensed home inspector, hired by the buyer, may require access in order to complete this evaluation and may be accompanied by the buyer, the buyer’s agent or both. Brad will coordinate this scheduling with you and advise on the steps involved. Typically, if any issues arise, the seller will be provided a written list of requested repairs shortly after the inspection. These can then be addressed or negotiated. Likewise, a termite inspection may be required and you will be asked to provide access to the home’s interior and exterior. In some instances, other parties from government agencies may require access to perform specific tests on soil or water, or confirm adherence to local building and electrical codes. 
  • Provide access to appraisers or surveyors. As part of the financing process, a licensed professional will appraise your home. In some instances, appraisers may need to access the interior as well as exterior. A surveyor may also be engaged by the buyer. Brad will keep you informed with regard to any access you may be required to grant.

Closing the Sale

  • Schedule a pre-closing walk-through. Typically, weeks or months pass between making an offer and the closing date. Most buyers will schedule a walk-thorough of your home and property just prior to closing to ensure it is being delivered in the condition promised.
  • Set up utility billing transfers. Contact the appropriate utility companies to alert them of the date you wish to have services terminated. Brad can provide you with guidance on what utilities should remain on until the actual date of closing to avoid issues.
  • Ensure all paperwork and disbursements are ready. Brad will carefully review all the documentation that you are required to sign at settlement, advise you of any out-of-pocket expenses that are due at closing, and ensure that all arrangements have been made with the lender or financial institution so that you (and your mortgage lender, if applicable) will receive funds at settlement.
  • Sign the paperwork. Brad will accompany you to the closing and answer any questions you may have as you sign the necessary paperwork and turn over the keys to the new owner.

Typical Real Estate Expenses

While every real estate transaction is unique, there are a number of common expenses that buyers and sellers will encounter during the transaction. The chart below shows which party is usually responsible for these expenses. Brad Kappel, a licensed REALTOR® with years of experience representing both buyers and sellers, advises his clients on what services will be required, when additional professionals should be retained, and where negotiation is possible.  


Home, Septic, Termite, Well, Pool, Radon, Lead Inspection(s)


Location or Boundary Survey


Mortgage Insurance (if buyer obtains a loan)


Title Company Admin. Fees


Real Estate Brokerage Admin. Fee


Appraisal (for cash buyers if desired); usually part of mortgage-related fees for buyers seeking financing


Real Estate Commission Typically: 6% of sales price: (3% buyer’s agent/ 3% seller’s agent)


Attorney Fees (if required)

(when retained by buyer)
(when retained by seller)

Transfer Taxes: Typically, split 50/50 between buyer & seller (2.2% of sales price)