Are you considering a move to North Carolina? Finding a home in one of the most sought-after destinations might be more complicated than you think! Charlotte, NC ranked as one of the top real estate markets in the US in 2021. This should give you an idea of how competitive the stakes are for locking in a home under your name.
To successfully close a deal in a hot seller’s market like Charlotte, NC, there are a few things you should know. To ensure that you find the home of your dreams, you must find a qualified guide –– a Charlotte realtor. Expert real estate agents like Nancy Braun of Showcase Realty will be by your side from the moment you pre-approve your mortgage to inspections, appraisals, and negotiations.
Keep reading to get into the nitty-gritty of the top things to know before buying a home in Charlotte, NC!
12 Things to Know When Buying in Charlotte NC Homes
Here are our top tips for buying a home in Charlotte, NC.
1. Find a Trusted and Local Realtor
First things first –– find an experienced and trustworthy local Realtor to guide you through the entire process!
Most people think that they’re saving money by choosing not to hire a real estate agent. But here’s the deal: you’ll likely spend more time, energy, and money by skipping this top tip!
Realtors are experts in wading through the entire home buying process. This means that they can connect you with the best attorneys, mortgage providers, and inspectors. What’s more, they know how to look into your local real estate market, which means there’s a higher chance that you’ll score a great deal!
They have a fiduciary responsibility to work in your best interests and protect your finances. When you’re dealing with a competitive seller’s market like the one in Charlotte, here are the top factors you should look for in a realtor:
- Great reputation
- Solid connections and references
- Extensive knowledge of the local market
- Proactive and responsive
If you're looking for a solid reference, Nancy Braun of Showcase Realty is one of the top real estate agents in Charlotte, NC. She’s included in the top 10 Best in the Nation by Wall Street Journal.
2. Determine What You Want in a Home
There are many factors to consider in your future home, and trying to pinpoint each one can be overwhelming!
A reliable realtor who puts in the effort to understand your personal needs, budget, and goals will bring you one step closer to your dream home.
To start, you can prepare a wish list of what you’d like in the home of your dreams ! Here are just a few questions to ask yourself:
- What is my price range?
- Am I looking for a brand new home, foreclosure, or fixer-upper?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I want?
- Am I looking for a large kitchen? Yard? Garage? Family room?
- What amenities and upgrades do I need?
Call up your realtor because your wish list will help you review your finances, depending on the down payment and closing costs you can afford.
3. Understand the Local Real Estate Market
This tip is one of the most complex, especially if it’s your first time buying a home. An experienced realtor can help you get your local information straight.
To give you an idea, though, here’s what you should know about the Charlotte, NC real estate market:
Charlotte home prices usually run about 5.5% year-over-year, but in 2020 home prices rose by 12.5%. From this current trend, buyers need to know that waiting for the home prices to drop might kick you off the Charlotte real estate market entirely.
Some homebuyers think that realtors just want to get a sale, but here’s the deal. The Charlotte housing bubble isn’t likely to end in the next few years. In fact, Charlotte’s been in the seller’s market for over five years.
The market will become more aggressive and competitive. All the more reason you should listen to your realtor about the facts of your local market!
4. Get a Pre-approved Mortgage
The mortgage pre-approval process can be daunting. It will involve getting in touch with your bank or lender, and they will closely review your:
- Credit history
- Work history
- Current employment
- Debt to income ratio
- Home loan qualification
Becoming pre-approved for a mortgage will save you time and energy, so you don’t go looking for homes you can barely afford. It will also make it easier for you to find the best deals and interest rates.
A realtor can make you some good references to get a good deal for your home loan. It wouldn’t hurt to do your own research, either. You should start learning about processing fees, junk fees, and hidden costs.
5. Scouting for Your Home
After getting a pre-approved mortgage, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford. Now onto the exciting part, looking for a new home and neighborhood!
Speak to your realtor regarding your primary concerns about your future home, such as location, amenities, size, home style, and proximity to work and school. They’ll be able to give you some valuable insight on all these factors, even before you start visiting houses and neighborhoods in person.
Your buyer’s agent will schedule appointments for home viewings. It’s vital that you don’t rush the process. You’ll start to notice what you like and what you don’t want in a home. Share your feedback with your realtor so they can help you look for a home that suits your needs.
6. Bidding Secrets
Bidding is one of the most delicate steps to the home buying process.
You shouldn’t make an opening bid that is unreasonable and will offend the seller. Most people think they should lowball their offers off the bat, but a realtor will know that that isn’t the case.
Your opening bid should take into account two factors:
- How much you can afford
- How much the property is worth
Take note that understanding both of these requires help from an expert. To determine how well you fare for both considerations, your realtor can help you get expert evaluations with a mortgage provider and a home inspector.
Another thing a realtor will do is check the county clerk’s office if the seller is behind on their property taxes. This will give a good idea of how to navigate the negotiation.
7. Making an Offer and Dealing With Negotiations
After finding the home of your dreams, it’s time to make an offer. Before making a move to begin negotiations, ask your real estate agent for a copy of the offer. They will conduct thorough research on similar homes in the area to understand the conditions and terms to discuss with the seller. This will give you an idea of the best purchase offer to make.
An experienced realtor is an expert negotiator, and they’ll be responsible for making sure that you get your dream home at a great value. You should also know that negotiations can take 30 to 45 days or more until all parties agree.
It will be best to exercise patience during this period and trust your agent. They have your best interests at heart!
8. Dealing With Appraisals
Take note that after you’re under contract to purchase the home, your lender will order an appraisal. Your lender can help you look for a trustworthy closing attorney to perform a thorough title search on the house to ensure that it’s free of liens and encumbrances.
You should also know that the closing attorney is in charge of holding your earnest money in escrow. They’ll be helping you close the deal on the transaction.
During this time, your lender will start processing your loan. An experienced realtor will help you stay on top of your loan through constant communication with your lender during the processing period. This step is crucial as it’ll determine that there aren’t any delays so you can close the deal as planned.
9. Emphasizing on Property Inspections
While it will cost you more money, we want to emphasize the importance of getting your home inspected. The only exception is if the house is brand new, which means it’s likely under warranty from the builder. In this case, it might not be necessary to order a home inspection. However, it’s still the buyer’s discretion, so make sure to ask your realtor for advice if you’re not sure.
Once your home inspection results come back, your realtor will go over the report with you and suggest what repairs the seller needs to take care of before closing. Your realtor can prepare the repair request on your behalf, which will be presented to the seller.
Another thing to note is that if you’re buying a foreclosure, the home will be sold as-is. This means that the seller is not required to make any repairs on the property.
10. Getting Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners insurance will cover damages and losses to your home and its assets. Generally, it will cover:
- Interior and exterior damage
- Loss or damage of personal assets
- Bodily injury while on the property
You can ask your realtor to provide a list of homeowner insurance providers for your home. Take note that you’ll usually get a better deal if you combine your homeowner’s insurance with your auto insurance.
11. Avoiding Border Disputes
Nothing can be more stressful than having an enemy next door! Even before you move in, make sure to get a survey done on your property to know exactly what you’re buying. This will give you an idea of where your property lines are, and it will save you from any unnecessary disputes with your neighbors.
It will also help get your realtor involved in the dialogue, as they’re expert negotiators on land disputes. Rest assured that they’ll have your best interests at heart while also listening to your neighbors’ side of the story. They can help you review Land Registry plans alongside title deeds.
If additional support is needed, your realtor may suggest getting expert assistance from a chartered surveyor arbitrator.
12. Considering Homeowners Associations (HOA)
There are pros and cons to buying real estate with a homeowners association. Here’s what you should know off the bat:
- They will take care of your community maintenance. Sometimes, they will even deal with exterior maintenance such as landscaping, general maintenance, roof, and siding
- They ensure that the neighborhood abides by rules to maintain security and integrity.
- You’ll have to pay monthly HOA fees
- You might disagree with some of the HOA rules and regulations, but you’ll have to accept them
Buying a Home in Charlotte - FAQ
Before giving you our top tips, we’ll answer a few questions most homebuyers in Charlotte want to know.
What Is the Salary Needed to Buy a Home in Charlotte?
The Charlotte, NC real estate market is expected to have a combined growth rate of 20% by the end of 2021. That’s factoring in the growth of home prices and sales growth.
This means that median home prices in the metro Charlotte area are expected to bump up year after year. To calculate the salaries needed to buy a home in Charlotte, it’s also necessary to look at how much you need to have a comfortable lifestyle in the area.
A study by Finder.com in 2020 factored in:
- Median house prices
- Average 30-year interest rate (20% deposit)
- Average non-mortgage debt in Charlotte
- Average non-housing expenditures
- Mortgage payments with mortgage interest
The median home value in Charlotte is around $260,100, with a required salary of $58,200. This salary is down by 4.10% since 2018, and interest rates are low across the US. Overall, Charlotte sees significant population growth year-over-year.
Is Charlotte Getting Expensive?
Charlotte came in as the 25th most expensive city in the nation, with an average of $2,150. Because more millennials and high-income earners are renting in the area, construction of luxury homes for sale in Charlotte, NC has increased.
According to a report, homes that rent for $1000 or more increased by about 5 million in recent years. Consequently, homes that rent for $600 or less dropped by 3 million. This will give you an idea of the huge potential of Charlotte, NC investment properties for the renter’s market.
Competitive Real Estate Market: Is Charlotte, NC good for real estate?
As one of the most populous cities in the state, Charlotte is also one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation. With its unemployment rate steadily dropping at 4.4% as of April 2021, Charlotte is becoming more and more attractive due to its fast-growing sectors and services.
These sectors and services include:
- Professional and business
With strong demand for housing and limited supply to go around, homebuyers in Charlotte need all the help they can get amid rising home prices.
Buying a home in a hot seller’s market like Charlotte, NC will require the expert guidance of a local and trusted Realtor.
Realtors make it easier for you to pinpoint your dream home according to your budget, needs, and assets. Aside from that, they’ll connect you with the best references (lenders, closing attorneys, contractors, home inspectors, etc.) to ensure that you get the best service and rates up until you close the deal.
The best real estate agent in Charlotte, NC is Nancy Braun of Showcase Realty. With over 50 agents on their team, Showcase Realty guarantees efficient and top-notch real estate services in the Carolinas.