What’s Different About buying A House In North Carolina
No matter where you go in the United States you are going to come across different ways of doing things, different customs and different state laws. Buying a house is no different. North Carolina is now the 9th most populous state in the Union which means people are moving here from all over the country and abroad. This can create some surprises for people when they find out how real estate sales are handled here. Here are some of the ways buying a house in North Carolina can differ from what you are used to in your state.
In North Carolina certain appliances are considered to be part of the house and included in the sale of the home. The common appliances you can expect to be included are the ones that are built in, like the dishwasher, stove and the built in microwave. The reason these appliances are considered to be part of the sale is that they fit in the space they are in. The space between the cabinets was specifically measured to fit that particular stove, dishwasher and microwave.
Appliances that are not normally included are the refrigerator, the washer and dryer however sometimes they are and the buyer can ask for them to be included as part of the sale. This can create an unexpected shock and expense for home buyers who come from a state where the custom is to leave all the appliances. They sell their house and move to North Carolina with no refrigerator, washer/dryer and find out they have to fork out the cash to buy a whole new set. This is why it’s so important to have a local real estate agent working as your buyers agent. It doesn’t cost you anything which is fairly common throughout the States but they can help save you money and explain how real estate sales work here. Depending on the age and condition of the appliances as a buyer you may want to buy your own new ones anyway. If you as a buyer want to ask for the refrigerator or washer/dryer you can have your agent include them in the offer. Couple of points to remember is first make sure they are not listed in the listing agreement sometimes they are but you would still want to list them. Secondly, if possible get the make and possible model number and include that or have wording such as “present in the home during showing” in the contract. There have been cases where the seller will agree to include appliances and then switch them out for a cheaper brand before closing.
Closing Costs…Who Pays Them
Who pays closing costs in North Carolina and what are they? Another common difference you’ll experience when buying a home in North Carolina is who pays your closing costs. It is common practice here in the Triangle area for the seller to pay some of the closing costs for the buyer. It is by no means required that they do but rather it is something that is negotiated along with the price. If the seller pays closing costs for the buyer it comes off their bottom line, so it is like a price reduction to the seller but very important to the buyer. In fact many times if the seller is not willing to pay the closing costs some buyers simply cannot afford to buy the house. Again this is why it is important to use a local real estate agent and a local mortgage broker who will know the best loan programs out there with the least amount of money needed to close.
When buying new construction it is common for the builder to pay some or all of the buyers closing costs. This is not always the case as some markets are so hot that the builder has multiple buyers lined up and no reason to offer closing costs. A common practice for builders and this is primarily the larger building companies is to advertise a certain amount of closing costs they will pay if the house closes by a certain day and if the buyer uses the builders attorney and or mortgage broker,
An Attorney Handles The Closing
In North Carolina, most real estate transactions are handled by an attorney. The buyer is normally the one who choses the attorney unless you have agreed to use the sellers attorney as we discussed earlier which is what builders like to do. You may be used to a title or escrow company doing the closing in your state. When picking an attorney choose one who specializes in real estate transactions, your agent should have recommendations. The attorney will do a title search to ensure the property is free of liens and get title insurance for you. They will need your insurance agents information and they will coordinate with the mortgage company to fund the loan. They also pay off the existing mortgage on the home you are buying if there is one. It is important to understand that the attorney is the only person who can offer legal advise to a home buyer, your real estate agent can’t nor can the mortgage broker. Any questions you may have about the contract, your legal responsibilities, the sellers legal requirements should be addressed to the closing attorney. Some attorneys will fly through the closing and if you are getting a loan you will be asked to sign multiple documents. This could be the first time you will have heard some of the terms used and forms you have to sign. If you are unsure or have questions you should not feel intimidated to ask and be completely comfortable with the process of buying your new house.
Light Fixtures, Window Treatments, Hot Tubs?
If it is attached to the wall it is included right? Not always, the first thing that comes to mind is a fairly new but now all to common feature in a home…large flat screen televisions mounted on the walls. In most but not all cases the listing agent will state that the TV’s and or mounting brackets do not convey. Perhaps as a buyer you would rather install your own brackets anyway, just make sure the seller repairs any damage removing the brackets. Moveable basket ball nets, swing sets, trampolines, hot tubs are all items that may or may not be included in the sale transaction. Consult with your real estate agent as to what is listed in the listing agreement. Maybe you don’t want their old hot tub or rusty swing set, if that’s the case ask the seller to remove them. Light fixtures or window treatments are sometimes not included, they may be a family treasure or have sentimental value.
If it’s not attached it’s likely not staying so never presume you are getting something without confirming with the listing agent. Lawn tractors, golf carts may be negotiated if the seller is moving to a smaller property or a neighborhood that does not allow carts so there is no harm in asking. Sometimes the seller wants to take a shed with them, not common but as a buyer you’d want to know about it.
How Many Checks Do You Write?
When buying a home in North Carolina there are normally two checks you’ll write when you are presenting an offer. The first check is called the due diligence fee and is made out to the seller directly. This is an amount of money negotiated between the buyer and seller for a period of time that the buyer can use to get their loan approved and all the inspections done on the house. The seller takes the house from active to contingent essentially taking the house off the market for that period of time. If you as a buyer decide you do not wish to proceed with the purchase you may terminate the contract and the seller keeps the money. If you decide to purchase the home then the money is applied to the sale price. It is in the buyers best interest to have this amount be as low as possible and in the sellers best interest to have it be as high as possible. In a multiple offer situation a large due diligence fee can make an offer more attractive to a seller. The second common check is for the earnest money deposit, this could be made out to the attorney or the listing company and is held in escrow until the deal is either terminated or the house closes. If the buyer terminates before the due diligence period is up the EMD is returned. There are certain requirements of both parties with regards to what each obligations are, if you have any doubt about your deposit you should consult with the attorney. If the house sale goes through this amount is applied to the sale price. If you are moving to the Triangle area of North Carolina and would like to know more about what is different about buying a house in North Carolina, give us a call or text at (919) 601-2268 or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org