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North Carolina

Homebuying 101

Buy with DASH

Buying a home is a huge deal, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, too! A little preparation (and a great agent, of course), can help you feel confident in your decisions—and leave you more time for the fun parts! So, let’s start with our “How to Buy a House in North Carolina 101” packet. We put it together for every buyer we meet to help each of you understand the process and what’s expected and required. Of course, this is only a basic overview of the multi-faceted buying process, so if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask!

What

First off, let’s talk about the house you’re buying. We know homes are more than just four walls and a roof, so tell us about that extra bedroom, the home office, or that roomy three-car garage you've been dreaming about.

Home Search Criteria

Don’t know where to start? This questionnaire can point you in the right direction, at least as far as the basics are concerned. Remember to focus on the things that are most important—those things you just can’t live without!

Where

Next, let’s talk about where you want to live. To do that, grab a map and figure out where life is for you. Where’s work? Where’s school? Where’s your favorite spot to let your hair down? Let’s find the place you want to call home.

Your Home Base

Finding the right place for your home is crucial—you can change a lot of things about a house but location isn’t one of them. Consider how far you want to be from those places you often visit. Think about how much space and privacy you’d like to have. And yes, consider how much you comfortably want to spend.

When

Lenders & Loans

The pre-approval letter

Have you talked to a lender yet? If not, we know a few good ones we’d love to recommend—we don't get any kickbacks; we just find them easy to work with, responsive, and excellent at what they do. They will get us from contract to close. For more lender recommendations, talk to your friends, family, and coworkers who’ve bought in the area. Ultimately, you need to choose the lender you feel most comfortable with.

You want to talk to a lender in advance because for a typical offer, sellers will require proof of funds or a pre-approval letter. Your lender will help you understand what financial documents are required of you to obtain a pre-approval. Once you submit that paperwork to your lender, they’ll tell you what they’re willing to lend you, and at what interest rate and down payment.

Loan types

When you start talking to lenders, they’ll tell you more about the different types of loans available to buyers in the Triangle area and help you figure out which is best for you. They’ll also help you understand the pros and cons of each type of loan, which might be most beneficial for you, and whether you meet the minimum requirements of each loan.

Closing costs

So… how much is this all going to cost? It’s important to understand that there are going to be some costs beyond the price of the home. These are called closing costs. Some will be POC (paid outside of closing), or paid beforehand. Others will be paid on closing day. Remember, due diligence and earnest checks apply towards these costs if we make it all the way to the close!

Common closing costs might include lender fees, a home appraisal and inspections, various legal and recording fees, prepaid property taxes and insurance, and more. Your lender will provide you with a complete breakdown of all fees and charges before you close.

How

The Offer

When you find a home you want to purchase, the next step is to complete an Offer to Purchase and Contract. This is the most important document of any you’ll look at or sign throughout the process because it states the timelines and responsibilities of everyone involved. We will continue to discuss the contract as we move forward.

Due Diligence & Earnest Money

Once you and the seller come to an agreement, you’ll have to write two checks to take (and keep) the house off the market. Both will be cashed immediately and both will count towards your closing costs if we end up at the closing table.

First is the due diligence check. This is the deposit that takes the home off the market while we do our due diligence (inspections, appraisals, etc.). The second check is called earnest money. This deposit keeps the house off the market from the end of the due diligence period (which typically lasts for 2 – 4 weeks) through closing day.

If we back out during the due diligence period for ANY or NO reason, we lose the due diligence check, but get our earnest money back. If we back out after the due diligence period, we lose both checks.

The Home Inspection

After we’re under contract, the next step is a home inspection. Inspections are very important—you don’t want to trust just any Joe Schmoe on this! We’d be happy to recommend some reputable Raleigh-area inspectors we’ve enjoyed working with in the past. (We don’t get kickbacks or commission from these guys. We just appreciate good work.)

There are dozens of home inspections you can have done, but the three most common are: home, termite, and radon. Some inspectors offer a package deal for all three, or you can take a more à la carte approach for more specific inspections. Once you decide who you want to use for your home inspection, your agent will get the ball rolling.

During the inspection, your inspector will let you know what’s working and what’s not. There’s no pass-fail in North Carolina, nor is the inspector going to fix anything. They’ll simply provide a list of any potential issues that you can take back to the seller to ask for fixes or credits towards a repair.

Who

Working with Real Estate Agents

When buying a home, you definitely want to have a professional on your side who not only knows the process inside and out, but can also advocate for you, negotiate on your behalf, and help you make informed decisions that will ultimately be best for you in the long run. That professional is called a buyer’s agent. At DASH, we’re here to work for YOU. You’re the buyer, and we’re your agent. Learn more about working with real estate agents here.

Exclusive Buyer's Agency

This Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement outlines how we can represent you as the buyer, as well as our duties and responsibilities to you as our client. When you’re ready to make an offer, you’ll sign this agreement, which allows us to legally represent you as a buyer.

View Our Entire Buyers Packet

Want to know everything there is to know about buying a home in the Triangle? Check out our full Buyer’s Packet, which has all the tools, tips, and resources you need—besides a great agent, of course!

The Next Steps to Becoming a Happy Buyer

Information is only the first step to becoming a happy buyer. You've still got a few more steps to take, so don't be shy! Give DASH a holler (or a text or email or tweet or whatever else the cool kids are using these days), cause we'd love to help you get from here to happy buyer!