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how to buy a house in north carolina

Buying a House in North Carolina 🏠 | How to Buy a House in North Carolina

Last Updated on: 23rd March 2024, 01:15 am

Are you thinking about buying a house in North Carolina? With stunning coastal areas, scenic mountains, and everything in between, North Carolina offers diverse housing options for just about every want or need. Because North Carolina has a relatively low cost of living compared to many other states, homeownership is very affordable. If you’re asking, “Should I buy a house in North Carolina?” chances are, this guide can help. Whether you’re looking for the best place to buy a beach house in North Carolina or you’re a first time home buyer in North Carolina, there’s a lot to consider!

If you’re a first time home buyer in North Carolina, you’ll want to consider such things as location, budget, financing, inspections, and local regulations in your home-buying process. This can be overwhelming! This guide to buying a house in North Carolina can help ease your worries and give you all you need to ensure that your home buying experience is a smooth one. Here’s how to buy a house in North Carolina!

Buying a House in North Carolina 

buying a house in north carolina cost

You might be wondering what is needed to buy a house in North Carolina and where to start. It can feel overwhelming! Here are some easy steps to follow that will put you on the path to your dream house.

Get Your Finances in Order

Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll probably ever make. Before you dive in, you’ll want to make sure you are financially ready. When you’re questioning when to buy a house in North Carolina, finances should be at the forefront of your mind. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t get in over your head.

Determine Your Budget

How much does it cost to buy a house in North Carolina? Using a home affordability calculator can help you determine your budget by taking into account your income, debts, location, and down payment amount. The calculator will estimate your monthly mortgage payments based on your input and the home price. Remember that you’ll also have to add closing costs, property taxes, utility fees, and other monthly expenses into your budget, as well as extra funds for the inevitable home repairs. 

Strengthen Your Credit

The higher your credit score is, the better mortgage interest rate you will be able to qualify for. One percentage point can add tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. If your credit score needs help, you might want to hold off on buying a home until you pay off credit cards and/or resolve any credit disputes or delinquencies to boost your score.

How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage in North Carolina

first time home buyer in north carolina

There are many requirements to buy a house in North Carolina, but the mortgage is the most important. After your finances are sound, you’ll want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Talk to several mortgage lenders and find out about their average credit score requirements, the types of home loans they offer, and their average interest rate before deciding on the one you want to go with. Getting pre-approved is important because it shows sellers that you’re less of a risk of the deal falling through. Sellers are more apt to go with a pre-approved buyer than one who isn’t. 

Find the Best Mortgage in North Carolina for You 

Mortgages aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal. There are several different types of mortgages available in North Carolina. The best one for you will depend on your specific situation. Knowing which type you want ahead of time will help you determine how much you can borrow, so you’ll know how much house you can afford.  

Here are some of the main types of mortgages:

  • Conventional loan – the most common type of loan. They are private-sector loans that are not backed by the government. A conventional loan requires a minimum downpayment of 3.5% in North Carolina.
  • FHA loan – are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and are typically for people with lower credit scores who might not qualify for conventional loans. 
  • VA loan – for active or former service members and eligible spouses. They are similar to conventional loans but don’t require a down payment, cash reserves, or application fees. 
  • Jumbo loan – a type of conventional loan for houses that are more expensive than standard lending limits, which is $548,250 in most North Carolina counties.
  • Adjustable Rate loan – offers an adjustable interest rate. They typically start with a lower monthly payment, but after an initial fixed period of 3-10 years, the interest rate can be adjusted yearly based on current rates. These mortgages are unpredictable as your loan payments could go up or down, unlike a conventional mortgage. 

Find Out How Much Downpayment You Need

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Even in the cheapest place to buy a house in North Carolina, a down payment is generally between 3% and 20% of the home’s purchase price. The type of loan and your credit score are two main factors in determining the required down payment on a home. There are several advantages of a 20% downpayment, though. Typically, you’ll get a lower interest rate, and you won’t have to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is around 1% of your mortgage balance.

North Carolina offers several programs for first time home buyer grants in North Carolina and programs for low-income homebuyers. If you are eligible, you can receive a grant or second mortgage that can go towards closing costs or a down payment.

North Carolina Down Payment Assistance Programs

  • NC Home Advantage Mortgage – offers a loan of up to 5% of the first mortgage for both first-time and repeat homebuyers. Eligible first-time buyers and veterans may be able to receive an additional $8,000 through the NC 1st Home Advantage Down Payment. You only have to repay the loan if you sell, refinance, or transfer your home within 15 years of purchasing the property. 
  • Community Partners Loan Pool – offers a 0% interest, deferred second mortgage to eligible homebuyers. It may be combined with an NC Home Advantage mortgage to receive up to 20% of the sales price (up to $30,000) or up to 10% of the purchase price. Your credit score to buy a house in North Carolina must be at least 640 and your maximum household income cannot exceed 80% of the area median income to qualify. 

Find a Good Real Estate Agent 

A real estate agent is an important asset when buying a home in North Carolina. They find and show you properties, help you make offers, negotiate contracts, and navigate the closing process. They also can recommend title companies, inspectors, and other services you’ll need. Don’t settle on the first agent you find, though. Research agents and ask friends, family, and neighbors before you select one you’re comfortable with. 

The agent you choose should:

  • Be knowledgeable about the area where you are purchasing a home
  • Have years of experience (the more, the better)
  • Have completed a good number of transactions in the last year
  • Have experience in your price range
  • Have a good customer rating

Look at Homes in Your Price Range

When you start looking at houses, make sure you keep your searches for homes you can afford. Don’t fall in love with a house that’s out of your price range. Make a list of your “must haves” in the home you want, as well as your “nice-to-haves”. A house that meets every one of your “nice-to-haves” is rare, but try to find one that checks off some of them. Location is of utmost importance. Some things about a house you can change later, but location isn’t one of them. Choose a location you are comfortable with.

Make an Offer

After you’ve found your perfect home, it’s time to put in an offer. Your real estate agent can help you with that. If the seller rejects your offer, you can either make a counteroffer or walk away. The seller might counter, and you’ll have to decide whether to accept the deal or not. If the seller accepts your offer, you typically will need to put down a deposit toward the purchase of the house to hold it from other potential buyers. 

Get a Home Inspection and Appraisal

Inspections and appraisals help you evaluate the home’s condition and value before you commit to it. Inspections are done by a licensed professional, who checks the house for any unseen, unexpected, or potential issues. Appraisals are done by an appraiser, who is hired by your lender; they determine how much the home is worth. 

Home Inspections in North Carolina

If you want to buy a house in North Carolina, an inspection is a must. Inspections should include:

  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Electrical system
  • HVAC system
  • Plumbing

Sellers in North Carolina are required to disclose known issues to those interested in buying a house in North Carolina, but it’s ultimately up to you to ensure the property is safe. It’s important 

Before closing on a home, consider having the following inspections done:

  • Radon testing
  • Termite and pest inspection

Close on Your New Home!

House hunting in North Carolina isn’t easy, but the finish line is here. On closing day, you’ll meet at the title company to sign your final loan application, the deed, the mortgage promissory note, the disclosure statements, and other paperwork. The last thing is to pay your closing costs. These include lender fees, title and escrow charges, prepaid costs, and miscellaneous expenses. You’ll typically pay 3–5% of the purchase price in closing costs in North Carolina. 

First Time Homebuyer Programs in North Carolina

Now is the best time to buy a house in North Carolina, and as a first timer, you can get a lot of help! North Carolina has several programs to help first-time buyers

These include:

  • NC Home Advantage Mortgage – offers down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers.  
  • NC 1st Home Advantage Down Payment – provides up to $15,000 in down payment assistance for North Carolinians who have not owned a home within the last three years. The assistance is forgiven at 20% per year at the end of years 11 through 15 of living in the house, with the full amount forgiven at the end of 15 years. If you sell or refinance your mortgage before the 15-year mark, you’ll need to repay the balance. 
  • NC Home Advantage Tax Credit – you may be eligible to save up to $2,000 a year on your federal taxes by claiming a federal tax credit for 30% of the interest you pay on your mortgage and up to 50% of the interest on a newly built home. 
  • Community Partners Loan Pool – down payment assistance up to 25% of the home sales price to borrowers whose income is at or below 80% of the area median income. This is a no-interest, deferred 30-year second mortgage, so you won’t have any monthly payments as long as you live in the home.

Qualifications for North Carolina first-time homebuyer programs include:

  • Your credit score must be at least 640.
  • Must use a lender participating in the program.
  • Income must not exceed the program maximums and must be documented.
  • The house must cost less than the program maximums, typically $385,000.
  • Must move into the home as your primary residence within 60 days.
  • Must live in the home as your primary residence for as long as 15-30 years, depending on the form of assistance.

Are you buying a house in North Carolina? If so, now you know how to buy a house in North Carolina easily! When it’s time to move, give our North Carolina movers a shout! At Make A Move, we’re here to help you every step of the way. For a free quote, call 704-378-8588 today!

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