Inspections and Appraisals
The Initial Agreement and Earnest Money Deposit:
A ratified agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential buyer and the seller.
Here are some important tips to streamline the buying process.
- Keep written records of everything. For the sake of clarity, it will be extremely helpful to transcribe all verbal agreements including counter-offers and addendums. Convert them into written agreements, and do not delete emails. We will assist you in drafting all the paperwork for your purchase, and then make sure that you have copies of your paperwork.
- If you stick to the schedule, or plan ahead of the schedule if you can. If you have a binding contract, you and the seller will be given a timeline. This marks every stage in the process of closing on the property, so keep on top of it. Meeting the requirements on time ensures a smoother flow of negotiations so each party involved is not in breach of their agreements. We will keep you constantly updated, during the whole process.
The Closing Agent:
An attorney is usually used as a closing agent in your transaction, but this isn’t always the case. An Outer Banks real estate company will hold the deposit in escrow, or possibly the closing attorney. The closing attorney will research the complete recorded history of the property, and also ensure that the title is free and clear of any encumbrances. By the date of closing all new encumbrances are properly added to the title, so make sure their are not any outstanding liens.
Some properties are subject to restrictions, which limit various activities such as building or parking restrictions. There may be recorded easements and encroachments, and so this could limit the rights to use your property.
How to Hold Title:
Once you contract a property, you may wish to consult an attorney or tax advisor on the best way to hold title. Different methods of holding title have different legal, estate, and tax implications. This is especially true when selling or upon death of the title holder. North Carolina is a “one to buy, two to sell” state, and that may be different from others.
Once your offer is accepted by the seller, you will need a licensed home inspector. Your inspector will inspect the property within the time frame that was agreed in your offer to purchase, but hopefully sooner. You may elect to have different inspectors inspect the property. Ideally you will obtain professional opinions from the inspections and appraisals in that specific area (eg. roof, HVAC, structure). Since you are purchasing a residential or commercial property, you should get an environmental health evaluation of the of septic/sewer. We can recommend several different inspectors, but talking to a few is best practice.
Depending on the outcome of these inspections and appraisals, one of two things may happen:
1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the close, or
2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).
Appraisal and Lending:
It is imperative that you keep in close communication with your lender, and critical to keep on top of the underwriting process. If you keep up, they will let you know when additional documents are needed to approve your loan application. If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the bank. Once completed, the lending institution can confirm the value of your property is accurate. Appraisers are specialists that determine the value of properties, and employ several approaches to value. The appraisal, based on a combination of square footage, building costs, recent sales of comparable properties, and operating income isn’t always accurate. When you are within two weeks of closing, double check with your lender and make sure the loan will go through smoothly and on time.
Your purchase may be conditional upon association approval, request the rules, regulations, and other important documents from the seller, and don’t wait. This occurs soon as you have an effective agreement to purchase Make sure that the application documents and processing fees are submitted to the appropriate person, and on time at the association. Fill out all of the information completely and legibly so there is no delay in processing the application. If you are required to meet with the association for your approval, make an appointment as soon as possible for the interview. Your closing agent will request a copy of this approval letter, and then your property will be recorded with the deed in the Dare/Currituck county public records. Usually the same day.
For a buyer, you will need to purchase a certain amount of hazard and flood insurance on the property, and so don’t skimp on coverage! If there is a loan on a property, insurance is almost always required. Your property value will depend on the lender and the purchase price of the property, but there may be discrepancies. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars, or maybe more on homeowners insurance by shopping, so shop around.
- Consider a higher deductible. By increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars, you can make a difference in your premium.
- Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able get a lower premium if your home has safety features such as locks, detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters or fire-retardant materials. If you are over 55 or a long-term customers, there may be other discounts.
- Insure your house and NOT the land. After a disaster your house may be damaged, but your land is not. If you do not subtract the value of the land when deciding how much homeowner’s insurance to buy, you are paying more than you should.
We are happy to recommend experienced knowledgeable insurance agents for your purchase, so reach out anytime!