First Steps

The first hurdle to cross for any buyer is to determine your REALISTIC spending ability. Be fair an honest with yourself. Most of us like to think either, a) I am not capable of buying anything and therefore you give up before the search has even started, or b) I am able to buy exactly everything I need. In either case, 9 times out of 10, you have come up with these assumptions on your own and that can be very dangerous.

Talk to a Mortgage Specialist in Asheville, NC

DO NOT GO IT ALONE, sit down and talk to a loan officer, whether it is at the bank where you do business already or with a company that specializes in home mortgage lending. When you have this sit down, be frank and honest, do not embellish on any of your financial details. The loan officer can only help you if they have the correct information. When you leave this meeting you should be armed with the knowledge of knowing exactly where you stand, if you are capable of purchasing you will have the number that you can spend, and if you are not capable at the moment you should have the information and a step-by-step approach to get yourself to where you can buy.

Find a Buyers Agent in Asheville, NC

Your second hurdle to cross, is to find an experienced real estate agent in the Asheville, NC real estate market to represent you as the buyer and help in your search. Here again, DO NOT GO IT ALONE, in this day and age of the internet many buyers strike out on there own to do all their own searching and investigating of the real estate market in an area. If you are just looking around Asheville, Weaverville or Mars Hill to see what it has to offer, that’s great. If you are serious about buying a home in Asheville, Weaverville or Mars Hill, find an agent in that market and put them to work. Having a buyers agent in most scenarios costs you the buyer absolutely nothing and the seller of a listed property has their agent aggressively representing them.

How Real Estate Agency Works in Asheville, NC

Here is how real estate agency works. A listed property that you have found on the internet or through some other form of advertising has the commissions the real estate agents are to be paid already built into it. When that property is sold the listing agent and the buyers agent split this commission, which is paid by the seller of the property. The fee is already included and being paid out whether you have an agent representing you or not. Some times you and your agent look through what is currently listed without finding an appropriate property. However, we still have the For Sale By Owners (FSBO’s) to go. In the event you look at a FSBO in Asheville, Weaverville or Mars Hill, having a buyers agent becomes even more important because the seller is not under any obligation to disclose facts to you. North Carolina is very much a buyer beware state when it comes to real estate. While you may end up having to pay your real estate agents commission, he/she will earn every penny of it by making sure the price you pay is right, drafting purchase contracts that protect you the buyer, making sure all the appropriate inspections are completed on time, by helping you hire an attorney to close the transaction and helping you avoid all the stress.

Hiring a Real Estate Agent in Asheville, NC

  • What should you look for in choosing a real estate agent in the Asheville real estate market? That’s a good question and there are numerous answers that apply. First and foremost, make sure your real estate agent is a RealtorĀ©, because Realtors are held to a higher standard and follow a strict code of ethics.
  • Secondly, find an agent that you communicate well with and that listens to what you are saying. You’ve all seen the commercial where the real estate agent keeps taking the clients to the same type of homes even though they have already expressed their desire to see something else. We all chuckle, but this happens. If the agent you are currently working with is not listening to you, find another agent. There are a lot of real estate agents in the Asheville, NC market
  • Thirdly, and in a tie with second, find an honest agent. Does your agent tell you what they honestly think about a property? Both the good and the bad. Does your agent play devils advocate, or just sit there and try to talk you into a house you know is not right. While it may sometimes cost your agent the sale, they are working for you and are helping you find what you want. If they can not objectively play this role, find another agent. This brings me to a very important point. DO NOT sign a Buyers Agency Agreement until you have spent a little bit of time with that real estate agent. They might tell you it is company policy or that they have to, but they do not and neither should you. There are many other answers to the question, but these I have mentioned are the most important.

Ok, now you know you have the funding and you know you have the right agent for you, let us look at finding a home in Asheville, Weaverville, Mars Hill or other locations.

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Viewing Real Estate

Ok, you have the amount you can spend and you have a buyers agent you can work with, what is next? Your agent is going to sit down with you and determine your search criteria and how feasible your search criterion is on your budget. If there are things that are not achievable, they should tell you and provide other options. They should ask what your needs are. Are you a growing family that needs more space and certain school districts? Do you want privacy, views, acreage or do you want the comfort and feel in a subdivision? If so, which and what type of subdivision? The list goes on and on and the conversation should be nice and easy like talking to a friend. Once again, be frank and honest, most real estate agents have heard it all.

Searching the Asheville Regional MLS

So, you’ve got your search criteria and your agent has plugged it all into the Asheville Regional Multiple Listings Service (MLS) database and it begins spitting out potential homes related to your search. Once you have weeded through the list and decided on your possible matches, it is time to go look. What should you being looking for on this first visit? The answer is simple: things that excite you. Are the surroundings good? Was the approach clean or cluttered? Is the location where you want it? Does the home have good curb appeal? The list goes on and on and on. You will have a gut reaction about a property before ever stepping foot inside. Follow your gut reaction. If you absolutely hate or can not stand a certain aspect, move on. If your objections are only minor it is good practice to at least view the property so that you have a knowledge base to compare other homes against in the Asheville real estate market.

Have a Discerning Eye for the Details

Once inside a home pay attention to the layout of the home and whether the floor plan will work for you and your family. For example, as a home builder I have found that mud room & laundry room entrances directly from the garage area are of a great benefit to many families and that large wide open floor plans are conducive to those individuals who like to entertain. Are you an elderly couple that needs the master bedroom on the main floor? There is an endless possibility of things to keep in mind and they vary from buyer to buyer. Where good agents differ with most agents is that a good agent will begin pointing out technical aspects of the home as you tour through it such as electrical wiring issues, plumbing system faults, whether or not there are any immediate concerns over foundation or framing issues, and quite possibly items that the home owner might have tried to cover up, etc… You may like the home, but a good agent might tell you to move on because there are just too many problems. Better to know these things up front rather than weeks before the purchase of the home, with a heavy investment of time and money on your behalf.

How Real Estate Agency Works in Asheville, NC

Here is how real estate agency works. A listed property that you have found on the internet or through some other form of advertising has the commissions the real estate agents are to be paid already built into it. When that property is sold the listing agent and the buyers agent split this commission, which is paid by the seller of the property. The fee is already included and being paid out whether you have an agent representing you or not. Some times you and your agent look through what is currently listed without finding an appropriate property. However, we still have the For Sale By Owners (FSBO’s) to go. In the event you look at a FSBO in Asheville, Weaverville or Mars Hill, having a buyers agent becomes even more important because the seller is not under any obligation to disclose facts to you. North Carolina is very much a buyer beware state when it comes to real estate. While you may end up having to pay your real estate agents commission, he/she will earn every penny of it by making sure the price you pay is right, drafting purchase contracts that protect you the buyer, making sure all the appropriate inspections are completed on time, by helping you hire an attorney to close the transaction and helping you avoid all the stress.

Hiring a Real Estate Agent in Asheville, NC

  • What should you look for in choosing a real estate agent in the Asheville real estate market? That’s a good question and there are numerous answers that apply. First and foremost, make sure your real estate agent is a RealtorĀ©, because Realtors are held to a higher standard and follow a strict code of ethics.
  • Secondly, find an agent that you communicate well with and that listens to what you are saying. You’ve all seen the commercial where the real estate agent keeps taking the clients to the same type of homes even though they have already expressed their desire to see something else. We all chuckle, but this happens. If the agent you are currently working with is not listening to you, find another agent. There are a lot of real estate agents in the Asheville, NC market
  • Thirdly, and in a tie with second, find an honest agent. Does your agent tell you what they honestly think about a property? Both the good and the bad. Does your agent play devils advocate, or just sit there and try to talk you into a house you know is not right. While it may sometimes cost your agent the sale, they are working for you and are helping you find what you want. If they can not objectively play this role, find another agent. This brings me to a very important point. DO NOT sign a Buyers Agency Agreement until you have spent a little bit of time with that real estate agent. They might tell you it is company policy or that they have to, but they do not and neither should you. There are many other answers to the question, but these I have mentioned are the most important.

Now you know you have the funding and you know you have the right agent for you, let us look at finding a home in Asheville, Weaverville, Mars Hill or other locations.

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Offer to Purchase and Contract

Now that we’ve found the perfect place, what is next? Writing an Offer To Purchase and Contract is next. This is a form written by teams of lawyers with input from the North Carolina Association of Realtors to contract the purchase of real estate in the State of North Carolina. It provides a template for real estate agents to use with fill in the blank areas to help write a legally binding document. In the body of this contract many things are covered including: legal descriptions of the property to be purchased, personal property to be included, purchase price, financing contingencies, home inspection contingencies and buyer and seller obligations.

It is the job of your agent to insure that this contract is filled out accurately to help protect your interests in the purchase of real estate. Many mistakes can and have been made in the executing of this contract leading to many disgruntled buyer and seller, with a large number of disputes having to be settled by a court of law. Please, please, please make sure that you understand every single word and the implications of the words before signing this document. Your agent should go over this contract with you line by line to insure your understanding of the document.

Other North Carolina Real Estate Contracts

Some other documents you may have already signed or will be signing could include:

As with the Offer to Purchase, please make sure you fully understand everything contained in these contracts before signing.

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Home Inspections

One of the most important sections of the NC Offer to Purchase and Contract document covers inspection of the real property to be purchased. It is also one of the areas where many disputes between buyers and sellers start.

Major Items Covered – Home Inspections in Asheville, NC

  • Home – This is a check up for the home and all its mechanical systems. It covers a very large list from windows, doors, roof, and decks to the climate control, electrical, plumbing and other mechanical systems.
  • Pest – Otherwise known as wood destroying insects. Generally speaking this inspection is performed by a pest company such as Terminix and inspects for the presence or previous existence of termites and other wood destroying insects.
  • Radon – Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can cause cancer in certain concentrations and should definitely be tested for. Asheville, NC and surrounding areas are at risk for the presence of Radon Gas. For more information please visit here
  • Water – More and more companies are springing up by the day that test the quality of your water source and I highly recommend that you have a sample of the water tested. It is a small fee and provides some real peace of mind.
  • Septic – Septic systems are a little more difficult and costly to inspect. In general a septic can be pumped dry and then inspected for cracks or other anomalies that might constitute some concerns. The cost of having the inspection can run as high as $300-$500 and may not give a complete view of the health and performances of your system. Generally speaking it is pretty darn easy to tell when a septic system has failed. There will be apparent water standing over the drainage field and more than likely a very noticeable odor. Just make sure that you have an approved installation document from the county, attesting to the correct installation of the septic system.

Understanding the Results of Inspections in Asheville, NC

It is important to note that the inspection report does not say these things must nor need replacing; the report simply makes recommendations based on the shape the system was observed in at the time of inspection. Once you have the inspection report you may then ask the seller to fix or replace any or all items mentioned in the report. The seller, in North Carolina, at that time may or may not agree to any or all of the repair items. In the event the seller refuses any request you may be able to walk away from the contract, continue with the contract as written or renegotiate the contract.

Ok, now you know you have the funding and you know you have the right agent for you, let us look at finding a home in Asheville, Weaverville, Mars Hill or other locations.

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Land Survey

DO NOT BUY REAL ESTATE WITHOUT A SURVEY! The importance of this cannot be overestimated.

Buying rural real estate that has not been surveyed within at least the past 15 years is a huge mistake. I have seen property owners who thought they had 60 acres based on an old deed and once surveyed only had 32 acres. Not only does a survey prove actual acreage, but it can show other important features such as right-of-ways for roads and utilities, or other structures that exist on the property, etc…

Residential Lots and Surveys

For residential clients buying within a subdivision, the property and all lots have been surveyed. Make sure you get a copy. With a copy in hand make sure there are no encroachments on your property by your neighbor’s driveway or other structures before purchasing.

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Closing Attorneys

Now that you have negotiated your contract and you feel that you have a good deal, what is next? Next is the task of choosing an attorney who will assist in the closing of this real estate transaction, otherwise known as a closing attorney. The closing attorney performs the essential service of insuring that you are receiving a free and clear title to the intended property, called a General Warranty Deed. They do this by performing a thorough title research on the property to insure the seller’s ability to pass clean title without any liens, easement issues, zoning or other impending matters of litigation that might affect your use of the property. They also perform the function of handling the transfer of all monies at closing and the preparation of the HUD1 statement, which is a breakdown of all monies spent by both parties in the transfer of the property. A great closing attorney can make this part of the transaction painless and is worth every penny and then some.

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