Most buyers, especially new buyers, rarely know in advance that lots of money may leave their account long before they purchase a piece of property. It's a difficult theory for some to follow, that your Due Diligence or inspection period is going to cost money, potentially lots of money. Even more difficult to grasp is that the buyer may well spend this inspection money and then not even buy the house!
Sure enough, your Buyer's Agent may be able to negotiate some seller contribution towards these costs but the reimbursement happens at the closing table, not when you engage the necessary professionals.
In North Carolina, an attorney is going to do your closing for you. At some point, the title research will begin. The attorney wants to be sure that the property you are purchasing does not have any history in the title that would prevent you from enjoying full ownership. If a flaw is discovered and you choose not to close, that attorney deserves to be paid for the work that was done on the buyer's behalf.
Personally, I'm an advocate for a new survey for every purchase. It isn't required in NC but if the buyer really wants to know what they are purchasing and to be sure no rights of way or other easements have been granted to others that would prevent full enjoyment or use of the property, it makes sense to hire a surveyor. There haven't been many times, but in 11 years of real estate there have been a few deals fall apart because the new survey uncovered something disturbing. Guess what? Yes, the surveyor must be paid and that can be a significant cost.
A thorough home inspection in my opinion is critical. In our area, depending upon how much scrutiny the buyer wants to have done the costs add up. Home inspection $350-425, pest/wood destroying insect inspection $75-100, water test $50-75, radon test $100, chimney sweep $200, plumber $60, electrician $75 for just basic inspections. If the buyer is planning to possibly make structural changes, there could be costs associated with having a general contractor, painter, carpenter or flooring person come out for an estimate.
If there is a loan involved, there is an appraisal involved. Here in our area, these typically run $450-600 and are paid for upfront when the loan is applied for. If the property doesn't appraise for the purchase price, you can try to re-negotiate but the seller is under no obligation to do so. If the buyer doesn't have the extra money to bring to closing, the deal dies and you've spent for the appraisal fee.
Will there be tax consequences with the purchase? Accountants and tax advisors do not work for free.
With the exception of the legal or loan associated fees, most of these inspections in NC aren't required unless the lender requires it.
When I first got started in real estate, buyers were often able to wait until closing to pay these professional individuals at closing. That hasn't happened for a long time though. There were enough closings that didn't happen and the service providers never got paid. Personally, the pay as you go method makes more sense. I've always found that buyers take things much more seriously when they have to pay for them.
As Buyer's Agents, we always work towards negotiating sufficient closing costs to cover the loan associated costs and out of pocket expen$e$ but it doesn't always work out that way.
In North Carolina, not only should the buyer beware (we are a Caveat Emptor state) but the buyer should also prepare for out of pocket expen$e$. At a bare minimum, it is best to have at least $1000 at your di$po$al to pay
for your inspections.
After all, buyers are about to embark on the most important and expensive purchases of their lives. Doesn't it make sense that one would want to inspect that purchase first and doesn't it seem fair that the service providers deserve to be paid?
We'll help you get a fair bargain on your real estate purchase but be prepared that it will cost you more than the purchase price!