Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the first thing I should do after deciding that I want to buy a home?

A: There are three things that we recommend you do:

  • Make a wish list of what you would like in a home, neighborhood, etc.
  • Hire a Realtor® to act as your Buyers Agent ( see Buyers Agency )
  • Have your real estate agent put you in contact with a lender to pre-qualify you. ( see Mortgage Section )

Now let your real estate agent and your lender go to work on finding your new home!

Q: What is the best way to find a Realtor®?

A: The best way to find a Realtor® to represent you either as a seller or a buyer is through a referral from a friend, relative or co-worker who has personal knowledge of someone who can help you with your particular needs. Not all agents are comfortable with listing properties, and some prefer not to represent buyers. You also need to consider what you are looking for. Does the agent recommended to you know that area and have a lot of experience in that price range? Refer to our Buyer and Seller sections for more information.

Q: I'm relocating from out of town. What are the best sources for searching for a home?

A: You've already found one of them -! Check out our Featured Listings, view all our listings or do a Home search However, if you are serious about moving here, I recommend that you hire a Realtor® to do the legwork for you and educate you about the area. If you are interested in the Raleigh or Wilmington areas and you are not currently working with a real estate agent, we can help. We will set you up on your own private search engine of the MLS database in the area you are interested. Once you set up the initial search, you will be notified by email when a home comes on the market that matches your criteria, if there is a price reduction or if a home sells. This is done in real time and will save you hours of searching on your own as well as keep you informed about the market. Call or email us for the details.

Q: I need to sell my home, now what do I do?

A: If you do not have a relationship with a Realtor® that you would want to market your home, you need to find one. We recommend personal referrals from friends, family or co-workers. If that still doesn't satisfy you, look around your area. Who has been successful? Do you like their marketing efforts? You should interview more than one Realtor® before deciding on who is best for you.

Then you need to look around your home as if you were a potential buyer. What needs to be spruced up or repaired? Let your Realtor® help you with this so that you don't spend your time and money in the wrong areas.

Check out our Marketing System and see what we have to offer.

Q: Should I update or renovate my home before selling it?

A: Yes and No. If your home is older, you may want to consider some updates. However, you need to make sure that the money you spend is money that you will get back when you sell. Talk to your Realtor® and find out what your competition is like. If these homes are not updated, you may not want to spend too much money. You certainly want to repair anything that you know needs it. Repairs are almost always well worth the money!

Q: Should I have a Radon Inspection done on a home I am buying?

A: If you are buying a home with a basement or work for a company with relocation/buy-out benefits, we highly recommend that you pay for a radon inspection. Homes built with crawl spaces tend to have enough airflow under them to prevent radon from seeping into the home. Homes built on slabs or with basements can sometimes have radon. Many companies will not extend the buy-out option on a home with radon.

Q: Should I have a home inspection before buying a home?

A: Absolutely! An inspector will thoroughly check a home for mechanical and structural defects as well as any safety issues. After the inspection, you will receive a report outlining any problems. This gives you the option of asking the seller to repair these items before closing on the home. If the seller refuses to correct any problems, most contracts can be declared null and void by the buyer, and all earnest money will be returned.

Q: How much earnest money should I expect to have to put down with an offer to purchase?

A: There is no set amount in this market; however, we have noticed that most buyers pay about 1% of the offer price. For instance, if the house is listed at $310,00 and a buyer offers $300,000, they usually put down about $3,000. Earnest money is a show of faith regarding a buyer's seriousness towards purchasing the home. The earnest money is then credited back to the buyer at the closing.

Q: How long does it usually take to close on a house once the offer is accepted?

A: It usually takes about 30-45 days depending on the lender and the loan application process. Most inspections and repairs can be completed in that time frame as well. An attorney needs about 14 days to complete the paperwork and title searches on the home.

Q: I don't have a lender, how do I find one?

A: Ask your Realtor® to recommend some lenders that they have worked with before. Or you can call your local credit union or bank. We recommend that you shop around for a lender and compare their rates and fees. Be prepared to supply them with a recent credit score and income details. They can provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) to help you choose the best loan for you.

Q: I have a home to sell, but I already found one that I want to buy. What can I do?

A: There are several options. Make sure that your home is listed with a Realtor® and that you have priced the home properly. If you are in a financial position to buy the new home before selling your current home, check with your lender regarding bridge loans for the down payment. If not, you may want to make an offer on the new home with a contingency stating that you must close on your existing home in order to purchase the new home. In most cases, if the seller accepts the contingent offer, they will continue to show the home and take back-up offers. Make sure that you clearly state in your offer what the first right of refusal conditions are and that you are entitled to the return of your earnest money. Let your Buyer's Agent guide you through this.