Get Answers to Your Real Estate Questions

Have a pressing question about buying a home in the Triangle? Chances are, you're not alone. On this page, you'll find answers to some of the questions we hear most often from buyers in the Triangle. Have a question about buying a home that we haven't covered here? Please don't hesitate to give us a call!

Home Buying, Simplified

From applying for a mortgage to deciding which home is right for you, here are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions!

What do I need to do before I think about purchasing a home?

Get your finances in order. Here are some things you should do before you buy your next home:

Check with a lender to see how much you qualify for. (We highly recommend Steve Cooper of Prime Lending. Of course, you are welcome to use any lender. We just find Steve takes excellent care of our clients. You can call/text him at (919) 412-9868 or email him at

When you talk with your lender you will want to have access to the following information:

  • Annual income
  • Amount of cash you have for a down payment
  • Other home loans
  • Credit card balances
  • Other loan balances (vehicles, etc.)
  • Other factors affecting your income (e.g., tax payments, dividends, etc.)

Do I need to be pre-qualified?

It is generally a good idea to get pre-qualified. Many sellers require a pre-qualification letter with your offer to purchase. So you should have that readily available when it comes time to make an offer. This typically makes your offer stronger. It speeds up the selling process and the seller knows you can get the money.

Is there a fee?

There is no cost associated with getting pre-qualified.

What is pre-qualification?

Prequalification is where you have spoken to a lender about a possible home loan. This is when you have spoken to a lender, usually over the phone. You will provide him with the information described above. They, in turn, will give you an estimate of what they believe you would qualify for if all the information you have given them is accurate. Remember though, it does not mean you are qualified.

People often think because they are prequalified they can get the loan when they find the home of their dreams. That simply is not true. At this point in the loan process they have not run a credit check or verified any of the information you have provided. There may be things on your credit report that are inaccurate or that you have forgotten about that may hinder the loan process or affect the loan amount.

If I find a home that is not listed by you, can you still show it to me?


We are able to show you ANY home no matter who the listing broker is. If you see a home advertised — or if you drive by a home that interests you — please contact your Gilliam & Associates Realty agent. If you visit an open house or a new home community, please tell the seller's agent in the home that we are representing you.

Remember, home information is always available to us, even if it is not one of our listings.

When we find a house we like, how do we buy it?

There are many steps involved but here is a brief overview of the process:

You will need a due diligence and an earnest money check to accompany the Offer to Purchase. This may be in the form of personal checks or in some cases, a certified checks. A combined minimum of 1% of the sales price is deemed adequate in most cases. When your written Offer to Purchase is presented to the seller, they have three choices:

They can accept your offer
They can reject your offer
They can make a counteroffer

Negotiations, after the initial written offer, are conducted verbally until an agreement is reached. When the seller accepts your offer — or you accept their counter offer in writing — you have a binding contract for sale on that property. Your due diligence check will be cashed by the seller and the earnest money will be deposited in the listing broker's trust account to be held until closing.

Is it best to make a really low offer at first?

If your offer is too low you may take some unwanted risks.

It is important to remember that if you make a low offer on a home and the offer is rejected or countered, another prospective buyer may submit an offer that may be accepted by the seller before you have the opportunity to submit another offer or accept the seller's counter to your offer. We have even heard of experiences where a buyer made a low offer to the seller and the seller was insulted and refused to entertain any more offers from that client.

Would it be in my best interest to work with several Realtors and not just one?

It is in your best interest to work exclusively with one of us.

We have access to every home in the Multiple Listing Service. We are also self-employed and not on an expense account. Our fee will be paid by the seller only when we find the right home for you. Your loyalty is appreciated, and in return, you will receive the best service our whole team can provide. What's more, all of our time and professional advice, experience and assistance is FREE to you!

Looking for More Home Buying Resources?

We can help with that. For home-buying tips, tricks, and tools to help you find success, please give us a call today. Allow our team to guide you through a successful, and stress-free, home-buying experience in the North Carolina Triangle.

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