Active Adult Community Guide - Covering all the active adult communities in the Triangle! The guide is broken down so you can browse neighborhoods in Cary, Chapel Hill, and other popular areas. I discuss the types of homes and amenities in each of these communities as well.
Animal and Pet Guide - Wondering where you can have your chickens? How about horses? This guide goes over where you can have them, and what rules are involved. Also, I touch on dog breed and other pet restrictions.
Contingent Versus Pending Guide - One of the questions I get most asked most often is, "What is the difference between 'Contingent' and 'Pending' listings that I see online?" This guide gives you all the details on that as well information on the due diligence fee and due diligence period.
First-Time Home Buyer Guide - This guide has everything you need to get started if you are a first-time home buyer. It goes over types of properties, setting up your criteria, mortgages, and buyer's agents.
Gated Community Guide - Looking for a home in a gated community? I include details and amenities of gated communities in all areas such as Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Pittsboro, Durham and others. Here you will find great examples of communities with a golf course or a private lake, such as Hidden Hill's 75 acre private lake.
HOA Guide - Need to know what questions to ask when buying a home in an HOA? This guide can help! I also have a list of homes for sale with no HOA in the separate cities (Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, etc).
Home Styles in North Carolina - Learn about our common home styles, from farmhouse to modernist. We also have a guide to Home Types in North Carolina, which differentiates between detached homes, condos, townhomes, and patio homes. We go into the pros and cons of each to help you decide which type of home is right for you.
New Construction Buying Guide - Buying or building a new home is a completely different process than your standard resale purchase. Find out why upgrade pricing and builder's contracts are so important!
Out-of-State Buyer's Guide - This guide will help you if you buying from out of state, including technology I can use such as video tours.
Out-of-State Seller's Guide - This guide will help you if you have to sell a home while not living in the area.
People We Love - This page has our favorite home service providers. I have worked with all of these professionals for years and trust them and their work! Included is our favorite home inspector, lender, appraiser, photographer, and contractor. Each provides a brief bio and tips for people who are about to use their services.
Relocation Guide - An overview of the Triangle and the three main regions within it: Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. It should be your first stop if you are planning on purchasing a property in the area. It contains information on area history, recreation, culture and atmosphere, and transportation.
Wake County Capped Schools Guide - Information on the capped schools in the area, including your options and what to expect when purchasing a home that is zoned to a capped school.
Q. What's different about your services versus other companies?
A. For sellers I provide professional HDR photography, a 3D Virtual Tour, and a detailed floor plan - all at no extra cost. If your home is occupied I give advice on furniture placement to maximize appeal, as well as help with what repairs and improvements to do and what to ignore. Some renovations provide a great return on investment, whereas others do not.
If your home is vacant I can fix it up with help from my trusted contractors, and put it on the market quickly. I also provide staging (if the home needs it) at reasonable rates. Many sellers I work with live out of state and I never meet them - the process can definitely be done remotely.
For buyers I do an in-depth consultation and use tools such as listing alerts to help us jump on the perfect property when it becomes available. We will then submit the perfect offer by researching comparable homes and analyzing a seller's situation. Once we are under contract I know which inspections to order to make sure nothing is missed.
Q. Can an agent only show me their firm's listings?
A. No, any listing from any firm can be shown. The agent will schedule the showings through ShowingTime, which will contact the sellers to approve the appointment.
Q. Do I have to book showing appointments in advance?
A. There are three types of listing appointments. "Go and Show" means an agent may show the home to their clients at any time without notice. "Courtesy Call" means the seller will receive a call to let them know, but unless they say otherwise the showing is good to go. "Appointment Only" is required for occupied homes and each showing must be approved by the seller.
Q. Do I have to choose one buyer's agent to work with? When do I need to sign the agreement?
A. An exclusive buyer agency agreement must be signed before an offer is submitted. You may work under an "verbal buyer agency" until then, if the agent will allow it. Our clients are never expected to sign something when they first come into the office (unless they want to go ahead and get the paperwork out of the way).
Q. What are the benefits of signing the exclusive buyer agency agreement?
A. The agreement creates trust between the agent and the client. The agent knows the client isn't wasting time, and the client knows the agent is only representing them. Without a buyer agency agreement (verbal or written) any agent is technically working for the seller.
Q. Do you offer easy termination from listing and buyer agreements?
A. Yes, 24 hour written notice and you are free from the agreement. We don't want our clients to feel like they are locked in to a contract.
Q. What are the steps of buying a house?
A. Please review our buying guide if you are a first time home buyer or have not purchased in North Carolina since January 1st, 2011 (when there was a major change to the purchase contract).
Q. What are the common costs associated with the inspection period?
A. As a rough average, clients typically have to pay around $4,000 to investigate if a house is truly for them. This includes the due diligence fee (~$3,000), home inspections (~$450), and appraisal ($~450). These fees of course vary - for example if you're paying cash and don't want an appraisal, or if the home inspector recommends an extra evaluation by a structural engineer or other professional. The due diligence fee is a negotiable fee paid to the seller and is typically non-refundable unless there is a big problem like title issues. We've seen everywhere from $500 to $100,000 for the due diligence fee - it really depends on the market and the specific property as far as what's negotiated. The due diligence fee buys you the right to walk away at any point during your due diligence period, which typically runs about 3 weeks.
Q. What is the due diligence period?
A. This is the period of time in the North Carolina contract where the buyer does all inspections, orders the appraisal, and submits and negotiates the repair request. At the end of the due diligence period it is important to feel very comfortable with the property you are purchasing. This is because if you terminate the contract after due diligence is over then you would also lose your earnest money deposit.
Q. Is it worth it to renovate my home before I sell?
A. This depends - things like replacing flooring and painting are common, but major renovations take careful consideration. You may not get the return on investment on bigger renovations. If the home will not sell in it's present condition (for anywhere near market value), it may be worth it. A home inspection may be worth doing before listing in some circumstances, depending on the age and condition of the home.
Q. When is the best time to sell my home?
A. This depends on market. The most showing activity happens in the spring and summer, but if your area is in a period of low inventory it would make sense to list no matter what season it was.
Q. I am buying or selling from a distance. How does the process change?
A. This is easier than most people think. If you are buying, we can preview the homes for you and give you our professional opinion. We can also take extra pictures, video, or do FaceTime. Once you are under contract for the home you can come see it during the due diligence period. If you are selling, we will periodically stop in to check up on the home, and can meet any contractors or appraisers as needed.
Q. Are most sellers willing to to do repairs? At what point do I make the request?
A. Repairs are negotiated after the home inspection, and before the due diligence period ends. Though they are not required to, most sellers will agree to repair items as long as they are reasonable. This is to prevent the buyer from backing out of the contract. Buyers do not have this option on AS-IS sales such as foreclosures, short sales, and estate sales.
Q. What if the home doesn't appraise?
A. The buyer's agent and seller's agent will renegotiate on price. Often the seller will drop the price to match the appraisal, but sometimes the buyer will meet halfway in these negotiations. It really depends on the situation and market. If there were 10 offers, the buyer may not have as much leverage and might be expected to make up the difference in cash. The buyer can always terminate in this circumstance, and as long the appraisal came in during the due diligence period the earnest money will be refunded.
Q. What are some of the major inspection issues that you've seen in older homes?
A. It depends on the age of the home, but the main ones are structural repairs (can run between $5,000-$30,000+), oil tank environmental cleanups (can run between $5,000 and $70,000+), and electrical and plumbing (can run between $1,000 and $10,000+). I can help guide you on which inspections to order during your due diligence period.
Q. Should I get a survey?
A. The short answer is yes. A survey will reveal any encroachments and easements on the property. If there are no fences or obvious easements you may want to save the money (~$450), but surveys often reveal surprises and they are extra peace of mind.
Q. Where can I find information on school ratings?
A. There are two great websites for school ratings in North Carolina. The first is www.ncschoolreportcard.org, and the second is www.greatschools.org/north-carolina.
Q. I have other questions about the process. Who can help me?
A. Either call us at 919-696-4254 or use the Contact Us form. We're always happy to help.