Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Answers to real estate questions we are most often asked by home buyers and sellers.
We have a First-Time Buyer Guide that outlines how you should start the buying process. It is free to download. We also recommend contacting a lender to start the pre-approval process, so you can create a buying budget. If you would like the names of a few reputable local lenders, please reach out to us. We are happy to pass them along.
Our Buyer Guide gives a great overview of the whole buying process. It is free to download. You should also be actively monitoring your credit reports and reducing any monthly debt you have, in order to qualify for as much financing as possible.
First, we need to figure out which stage of the buying process you are in. Our “Buy With Us” page gives a brief overview of the steps for buying, as well as the services we offer. If you have already gotten pre-approved or need the names of reputable lenders, reach out to us directly at (910) 202-2546 to speak with a team member, or you can fill out our Perfect Home Finder
form to give us more insight into what you are looking for and where you are at in the buying process.
As long as you have not signed an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement with another real estate agent, we can show you a home you are interested in. That contract ties you to working with that agent, unless you formally terminate it. If you are not working with another agent, give us a call at (910) 202-2546, or you can request a showing through any of the listing pages on our website.
Yes! We have some great lenders our clients have worked with in the past. Send us a message and we will send you their contact information ASAP.
We suggest starting with a custom home search to see what is currently available in the resale market. If you are looking for a newer home, there are properties built 2-3 years ago that are now on the market. They are not brand new, but they have many of the features that buyers are looking for in new homes. Fill out our Perfect Home Finder form and we will set you up on an Multiple Listing Service portal, which will show you current and new listings as soon as they come on the market.
If you do not see any properties that fit your needs, there are many new construction options in the greater Wilmington area. We’ve helped many buyers purchase new construction and are familiar with most of the builders in our area. Our New Construction guide will give you insight into what to expect from these properties, including hidden costs. We also have a number of blog posts on new construction homes, and we highlight many of the new construction communities on Our Areas.
Of course, if you have any questions about buying new construction, you can reach us at (910) 202-2546.
Most builders have onsite real estate agents in their new construction communities, but remember:
As the buyer, you should always have your own representation.
Onsite real estate agents work for the builder. Many are great people and we love getting to work with them, but they represent the builder, so they will put the builder’s best interests before yours. A buyer’s agent will protect your needs and make sure everything agreed upon in the contract is being fulfilled. You can read more about the benefits of a buyer’s agent in new construction here.
Yes! We are extremely experienced in relocations and understand how daunting it can be to purchase a home from far away, especially when inventory is low and shopping time is limited. We offer our clients virtual showings when they are unable to be here in person, and the ability to sign all documents electronically on most devices.
We will start by going over your wants and needs to help you narrow down which area of Wilmington or Southeastern North Carolina that you want to be in. Then, we will set you up on a Multiple Listing Service portal, so you can see all current and new listings as soon as they come on the market. If you are interested in purchasing new construction, we are also happy to send you information packets with pricing and floor plans for the communities you're interested in. Start by telling us about your ideal home.
Yes! Whether you are looking for a second home, a vacation rental, or a long-term investment property to grow your portfolio, we are happy to help you find a home that fits your needs. We can procure the rental history (if there is one) and help you calculate the numbers for return on investment. We are even experienced with 1031 exchanges. Give us a call at (910) 202-2546 to start brainstorming.
A condotel is a condo building or complex that is run like a hotel or motel. There is usually a registration desk, cleaning service, and amenities. This is a wonderful setup for people who want to own a vacation property that will also provide supplemental income. However, do note that condotels do not qualify for traditional financing, because most of the units are rentals and traditional lenders require a certain number of condos in the building be non-rentals. If you have any questions about this, please give us a call at (910) 202-2546.
A survey reveals easements and encroachments on the property. Easements, such as utility easements, can affect how you use the property. For example, if an easement runs through your back yard, you may not be able to completely fence it in, add a pool, build a shed, etc. Encroachments happen when neighbors build fences, sheds, and other structures on your property. Without a survey, you do not have a legal argument for them to remove the structures. We go deeper into the details on our blog. Melanie Cameron also talks about it in one of her informational videos.
Title insurance protects the title of the property in case someone tries to make a claim to the property after you own it. That could be estranged family members, lien holders, previous owners, etc. It is a one-time fee that occurs at closing. If you are getting financing for the purchase, title insurance is required. If you are paying cash, you can opt-out of it but most attorneys will advise you to get it. Melanie Cameron goes into more detail in her informational video about title insurance.
No. What the seller will fix depends on the contract price and the defects you were aware of when you made your offer (anything on the official property disclosure and/or discoverable during the showing). A seller is also more likely to complete repairs to the structure and functionality of the home’s systems than anything that may be considered “cosmetic” i.e. paint touch-up, cracked tile repair, missing molding, etc. So, as we say, when you are negotiating repairs, leave out the “fluff”.
Closing costs are the fees that are paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. They can include the application fee, origination fee, appraisal, credit report, title search, underwriting fee, private mortgage insurance, mortgage points, property tax, attorney fees, and more. They range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price. Your lender will give you a loan estimate when you apply for your mortgage. You will also receive a Closing Disclosure shortly before closing day. The listed amounts should look similar to what you saw on the loan estimate. Download our Buyer Guide and visit our blog to read more about the costs of purchasing a home.
Earnest Money is a show of good faith as proof that you are serious about buying the property. It is held in an escrow account, either by the attorney or listing brokerage. It is applied to the purchase at closing and is refundable any time before the end of the Due Diligence Period.
Due Diligence Money goes directly to the seller and is non-refundable. It is compensation for the sellers taking their home off the market to allow you to further investigate the property. Each market has a typical amount of Due Diligence Money that is offered; however, a higher amount can be useful for winning a contract in a multiple-offer situation. Watch Melanie Cameron’s video to learn more about the differences between Earnest Money and Due Diligence Money.
In North Carolina, it’s standard practice to close with an attorney instead of a title company. Attorneys work for whoever hires them, unlike a title company, who works for the title insurer. Title companies are also not able to give legal advice, address problems in the contract, create contract addenda, or correct legal issues that affect the title. So, for a well-rounded approach to closing, attorneys are the way to go.
Receiving the keys to the home at closing would be very convenient; however, you do not technically own the home until the deed is recorded at the county office. So, you cannot be given access. It can take a couple hours or a business day to record, which is not a large time frame, but if the property was damaged, it would be the seller’s responsibility and a very complicated situation to resolve.
Our Seller Guide has some great tips for getting your home ready to sell. The basic steps include decluttering, cleaning, staging, and making basic repairs where needed. You can also check out one of our most popular blog posts – 10 Tips to Get Your Home Sold FAST!
If you have a concern specific to your property, like a repair or upgrade you are considering, we are happy to take a look or answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (910) 202-2546.
When you sell your home, there are costs in addition to commission. These include:
- Revenue Stamps
- Deed Preparation
- Prorated Taxes
- Prorated HOA Dues
- HOA Transfer Fees
- and Home Warranty Costs
You can read more about these expenses in our blog post, What Expenses Do Homeowners Pay When They Sell?
No! But keep in mind that the buyer will likely order their own inspection. If you are concerned there are hidden issues with the home that may cause the contract to fall apart, an inspection will help you identify them. Completing an inspection and repairs prior to listing may also net you a higher return on the sale, because it will shorten the repair request and allow you more time to shop around for the best prices. Of course, this all depends on the condition of the home. Your real estate agent can advise if this is a necessary step or not. If you have any questions, give us a call at (910) 202-2546.
Listing your home is not dependent on the timing of paperwork. It really depends on if the home is ready to market. We have Coming Soon options that make the details available to other Coldwell Banker agents before the home is marketed across third-party websites like Zillow, but the home cannot be shown until the property is Active for all agents in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Once the home is ready for pictures (decluttered, cleaned, etc.), it takes 3 to 5 days to put the listing in the MLS. The timing depends on the schedule of the photographer and measurer. It may take longer if we are working around a major holiday or if we receive the photographs too late in the day, but in most cases, the listing will be put in the same day we receive the pictures.
No, you should not be present during showings. We understand that it can be physically difficult for some sellers to leave their property, and we can make accommodations for that. However, having the seller (or tenants) in the home makes it difficult for buyers to openly discuss the property and how they may use it. This can be awkward and leave the buyers with negative feelings when we should be making the property feel open and inviting. You can listen to Melanie Cameron talk about this in one of her informational videos.
From the time your loan starts processing, it takes typically 30 to 45 days to close on a home. This includes the inspections and repair negotiations during the Due Diligence Period. Homes being purchased with cash usually have a shorter time frame, because the buyer does not have to wait for underwriting. On the day of closing, signing paperwork only takes about an hour.
You are not required to repair everything the buyer requests on the inspection report. But keep in mind that a successful transaction involves compromise on both sides. When your agent receives the repair request from the buyers, they will go over all the details with you. You and your agent will then decide which repairs you feel are reasonable to complete. Depending on the condition of the home, that may include all the repairs or just a few. There are a lot of factors to consider and each are different with every transaction, because no two homes are exactly alike.