What Happens During the Due Diligence Period?

Buyer Speaking with Home Inspector

Embarking on the journey to purchase a home is an exhilarating venture filled with anticipation and dreams of the future. Once you’ve found the ideal property and your offer has been joyously accepted, the process transitions into the most critical phase of the transaction process – the Due Diligence Period, as it’s called in North Carolina. This phase is a cornerstone of the home buying process, ensuring that your dream home doesn’t only exist in your imagination but stands up to scrutiny in reality.

Understanding the Due Diligence Period in North Carolina

The moment your offer on a North Carolina property is accepted, you step into the Due Diligence Period. This pivotal time allows you to conduct a thorough investigation into the property’s condition and the viability of finalizing your purchase, including securing your financing. During this period, the seller will take their home off the market, giving you the exclusive right to probe deeper into the property’s state and other critical aspects of the purchase.

A Land Surveyor

A Land Surveyor

This investigation phase is also commonly known as the inspection period, a time when various inspections are carried out to ensure the property meets your expectations and standards. Inspections may cover a wide range of areas, including, but not limited to:

  • Home and Pest Inspections: To ensure the structural integrity of the home and check for any pest infestations.
  • Appraisal and Survey: To evaluate the property’s market value and precisely define its boundaries.
  • Specialized Inspections: These can include checking for lead-based paint, the condition of the HVAC system, septic and well systems, and even radon levels.
  • Legal and Community Reviews: A thorough title search to uncover any unknown liens and understanding any community-specific covenants or restrictions.
  • Utility Availability: Confirming access to essential services such as water, electricity, and gas.

The duration of the Due Diligence Period can vary widely, typically ranging from 14 to 45 days, depending on the property’s specifics and the nature of your financing. The length of this period is a matter of agreement in the contract, offering you a safeguarded window to make an informed decision about proceeding with the purchase without penalty.

Financial Commitments: Earnest Money and Due Diligence Fee

Upon making an offer, you’re expected to demonstrate your commitment through two financial gestures: the earnest money check and the due diligence fee. The earnest money, usually 1%-2% of the home’s purchase price, is held in escrow and signals your serious intent to buy. This deposit is refundable should you decide not to proceed within the Due Diligence Period. Conversely, the due diligence fee is a non-refundable payment made directly to the seller, compensating them for taking the property off the market as you conduct your investigations. This fee is a testament to your investment in the process and can be a decisive factor in a competitive bidding situation.

Navigating Repairs and Negotiations

After completing all necessary inspections, you may find issues that require addressing. This is when you’ll submit a Due Diligence Repair Request to the seller, listing the needed repairs or adjustments. The seller can agree to make these repairs, offer a monetary concession, or adjust the purchase price accordingly. If an agreement cannot be reached, you retain the right to withdraw from the contract and reclaim your earnest money.

The Final Stretch

Following the Due Diligence Period, the countdown begins to finalize repairs, paperwork, and financing. This phase usually spans a week to two weeks, leading up to the final walk-through and the much-anticipated closing day. Provided there are no unforeseen complications, such as financial discrepancies or personal emergencies, you should be poised to take ownership of your new home.

A Note on Regional Variations

It’s important to acknowledge that the home-buying process can vary significantly from one state to another. For those considering a home purchase outside of North Carolina, consulting with a local real estate broker is essential to understand the specific regulations and practices in that area.

Ready to Find Your Dream Home in Wilmington?

If the coastal charm of Wilmington, North Carolina, has captured your heart and you’re ready to embark on the journey to homeownership here, our team is eager to assist. With decades of experience and a deep understanding of the local market, we’re here to guide you through every step of the home-buying process, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience. Reach out to us at (910) 233-2840 or through our contact page. Let’s turn your dream home into a reality.

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.