Buying a home in Charlotte/Lake Norman

Buying a home in Charlotte/Lake Norman

So You Want to Buy A House? Relax!  Breathe!  You CAN DO THIS!!  I’ve helped many families in North Carolina purchase their first home!  This can be a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be!  Here’s my guide for purchasing a home in NC.

Step by Step Home-buying 

 Step 1.  Financing… Remember these words, “First the LOAN, then the HOME.”  In today’s faced paced market, “ball parking” your price range with someone is not enough, you need to be PRE-APPROVED with a Mortgage Loan Consultant FIRST.  The pre-approval process is a simple one, and will provide you with the options which meet your payment comfort zone.  THEN you are ready to find the most house for your money.  Until you have a Pre-Approval you cannot make a serious offer on a home.

If you are a cash buyer you will need Proof of Funds: Either a copy of a bank statement (crossing out account numbers) showing the funds or a letter from your banker that you have the funds available.

Step 2.  The house… Now comes the fun, sometimes frustrating part – finding the right house for your family. Now that you are pre-approved and we know your budget, there are still questions to be answered, your wish list to be made…
..How many bedrooms? 
..What find of floor plan do you like?
..Do you want to do renovations?
..Are there particular schools?

Step 3. An agent…Be sure to work with an agent (preferably me) as your BUYERS AGENT – they work for you.

You do not want to work with an agent who is working for the seller. They will not have your best interest as number 1.


Once these questions are answered, then we can see what is on the market.  In some prices ranges, there are more buyers than listings and that is where your patience and my persistence come into play.  With today’s technology Realtors® have access to the constantly changing market which helps me keep an eye out for homes that meet your needs!

I will set you up on an MLS Portal search with your home criteria to keep you on top of the market.

Step 3.  The Contract… Yippee!  Writing an offer means that you’ve found a home that you like enough to want to buy it.  You may think the tough part is over, but writing a good offer is very important to protect you and your interests:

• What Are You Willing To Pay:  The Charlotte/LKN Market is experiencing low inventory in some price points.  This means there are not always enough home to go around in a given price range for all the people who want to buy houses.  A Realtor has access to the latest information regarding closings in that area which will give you the competitive edge when making an offer.  My best advice?  If you like a home, make your best offer.  Sellers can become offended with an extremely low offer and refuse to negotiate!

• Due Diligence Fee:This is a fee paid to the sellers for taking their home off the market for the due diligence period while you do your inspections, appraisal and other due diligence.

Once the contract is signed by all parties and delivered back to the sellers, the sellers get to keep the Due Diligence Fee.  (It does get applied back to you as a credit at closing.)

This is one of the checks that follows the contract from Buyer to Seller, and it gets deposited by the sellers immediately.  

In addition to the due diligence fee, there is a negotiated due diligence period.  Th Due Diligence period is really allowing the buyer to “peek under the roof” and be certain that they will want to purchase the home.  As the Home Buyer conducts their “due diligence” looking at inspections and reviewing an appraisal, the Seller has their home off of the market.  If the buyer decides, for ANY REASON OR NO REASON AT ALL during that due diligence period to terminate the contract, the contract is ended, The SELLER keeps the Due Diligence Fee.

• Earnest Money:  Making an earnest money DEPOSIT means that you are serious about the home and the offer.  The check goes with the offer until it is accepted.  Once accepted, it is deposited in escrow in the trust account of the listing company.  It is credited to you at closing.  Should your offer not be accepted, the uncashed check is returned to you. Should you walk away from the home during Due Diligence the Earnest Money is returned as well.

• Personal Property:  Basketball goals, birdhouses, appliances, etc. are things that people see when they walk through the property and expect to see after closing.  Unless the offer spells these items out specifically, they are not part of the contract.  If you see something you really like… make certain it is a part of the contract!

• Closing Date:  Don’t plan your move around a contract closing date.  Attorneys, banks, sellers and buyers all have to be coordinated.  Most closings take place on schedule… but realize we said “MOST.”

Step 4.  Acceptance!!!

Step 5. During Due Diligence

• Appraisal: . An appraisal is a non-interested third-party confirmation of your property’s value as of the time of the appraisal. If the house does not appraise you have the option to try to renegotiate with the sellers, put down more money or walk away.

• Inspections:   An inspection of the property done by a licensed inspector will give you peace of mind, as well as a chance to ask the seller to make structural or mechanical repairs to the property.  The seller then has the option to refuse or complete the repairs, compensate you for the repairs or do nothing at all.  If the inspection finds major issues that the seller will not remedy you have the option to terminate the contract during Due Diligence – but you will not get your DD money back. Again, this is a time during the purchase process when you will rely heavily on the skills and contacts of a Realtor.

Step 5.  Stuff that happens before you close… We’re all REALLY busy!

• The Realtor will get copies of the Contract to the Attorney and the Mortgage Company.

• You need to check with the Loan Company and provide them with any additional information they might request for loan approval.

• The Realtor helps tentatively schedule the closing date and time with all parties.

• The Realtor schedules inspections as needed (Structural and Mechanical,  Termite, Well and Septic)

• If needed a Repair Request will be drawn up and repairs will be negotiated.

• The Realtor will be checking on any repairs that are done.

• You and the Realtor will be checking with the Lender to see that loan approval, appraisal, survey (and any other documents needed) are all on track.

• You need to obtain Hazard Insurance and have the policy sent to the attorney’s office as soon as possible.

• The Realtor will have the walk through scheduled.

• The Realtor will meet you for the final walk through prior to closing.

• The Mortgage Loan Consultant will call you and compare the Good Faith Estimate with the final Closing Disclosure

• Utilities will need to be transferred from the sellers to you.

• You need to wire funds for the attorney.  The attorney will give you wiring instructions via an encrypted email. DO NOT ACCEPT ANY OTHER WIRING INSTRUCTIONS. 

Step 6.  CLOSING!!!

• Bring your driver’s license and a personal check (just in case).

• In North Carolina the closing takes place in an attorney’s office.  The attorney acts as the Trustee for the transaction.  Closing generally last 30 to 45 minutes.

   • Keys are not always given at closing. They can be held until the deed is recorded – typically within a couple of hours.