About Buying


Choosing The Carswell Team to represent you is the right choice. We have 4 licensed Realtors on our team to make sure you are well informed through the entire process of searching for and buying your next property.

As your Buyer’s Agent it is our responsibility to help you find the right Mortgage Lender with the right loan program for the type property you want to purchase. Next we will find the right property and guide you through the entire process of making the offer and getting an acceptance. Once you have a property under contract we will help you select all the needed inspections. We will work to get you all the way through the process of closing on your property.

We want to be involved in helping you make the best possible decision in your purchase.

The Carswell Team consists of the following team members to serve you:

Paul Carswell

828-228-2111 Paul@CarswellTeam.com

Seller Consultation: Property Evaluations/Pricing, Market Advisor & Statistics

Income Property Specialist: Commercial, Multi-Family & Investment Properties

Meredith Miller Carswell

828-850-1732 Meredith@CarswellTeam.com

Visual & Online Marketing: Photography, Property Description,

Staging & Curb Appeal Consultant

Buyer Specialist: Residential, Farm, Acreage, Commercial,

Multi-Family & Investment Properties


Kimberly Lingerfelt Rogers

 828-446-3661  Kimberly@CarswellTeam.com

Closing Coordinator: Communication Specialist

Property/Building Inspection Advisor & Coordinator

Buyer Specialist: Commercial, Residential, Farms & Acreage

How to get started with the real estate buying process:

Before you begin your property search be financially prepared to make an offer.  We recommend that every buyer have at least $2,000+ for Earnest Money Deposit & Due Diligence Deposit money before making the offer. Also, you will need around $600-$1,200+ for inspections. Yes, inspections can be paid for at closing but what if you terminate the purchase? If you terminate the inspection invoices are due at that time and that will include any attorney fees incurred during the process. Generally we don’t do inspections during the first week you are under contract so you do have some time to think about it before getting everything started.

Start with getting your loan process going with your lender.

VERY IMPORTANT… Know that a preapproval letter is NOT a Guarantee of getting a Mortgage Loan. You will not know you are fully approved until your file goes through underwriting with the lender.  Please ask your lender to take your file through underwriting immediately so that you are not delayed (or declined) in the purchase process.  If your lender feels they can’t get you through underwriting before making an offer on a property please make sure they have received all of your financial information, income tax information and pay stubs needed to review.  If you are Self Employed PLEASE make sure you spend time with your lender going over all that they will need.  You need the peace of mind to know there will be no issues with getting your mortgage loan.

Don’t start looking for a property in person if you do not have the financial part completed first.  I don’t even recommend looking online until you have your preapproval or poof of funds letter as you should use that time to gather all your financial information for your lender.

VERY IMPORTANT – Don’t do anything to decrease your credit score or change your financial responsibilities during the time you are looking for or under contract on a property.

Don’t do the following (Unless your mortgage lender approves in writing) & keep us informed on any financial changes in your life?

  • Don’t Finance anything or apply for credit cards
  • Don’t Quit your job, get fired, change jobs or decrease the hours you work
  • Don’t miss or be late on payments for your current mortgage, credit cards, utilities, etc.

What you will need the day your offer is accepted:  Two Certified Bank Checks from your bank.  These checks can’t be from another person’s account unless your lender has approved.  The lender must have a paper trail of the funds coming from you.  If the funds are not coming from you please discuss this with your lender during the preapproval process.  A gift letter may be required if the funds come from someone not included in the mortgage loan.  If you know you are looking for real estate on the weekend please have a certified bank check prepared in advance for Earnest Money.  The earnest money check is to be made out to your closing attorney’s trust account.  Discuss the amount you will likely need when making an offer.  This will all depend on the price range of the property you are intending to purchase.  You will not know who the Due Diligence check is to be made to in advance of making an offer.  In this case please have a personal check available or be prepared to make an electronic money transfer.  Please do not bring cash for due diligence or earnest money deposits.

Lender contacts:

Highlands Mortgage/Andrew Aaron: 828-446-3971


Atlantic Bay Mortgage/Ruth Shrader: 828-291-0562


Once you know you can get the loan and have a price range from your lender lets get started. Have your lender email your approval letter to me at MrsCarswellTeam@gmail.com

Now, let’s start looking for the right property.  Fill out the form we have on our website to show us what you want in a property.  In the form you will be able to type a description of What is Important to YOU in your words so that we get a better picture of what YOU want.  This form is sent directly to us so that we personally set up your search in the Multiple Listing Service and that means you get Live Property Updates.  You can rest assured that you will not miss the perfect property because as soon as it hits the MLS System it will arrive in your email as long as it fits the criteria that you requested.  Don’t waste time searching all the random real estate websites because they can’t give you live updates and often have incorrect information about properties.  The MLS System is the system Realtors use daily to input their new property listings and the NC Real Estate Commission requires that the information be correct.

Important details about why you want to use the MLS System and not other sites:

Websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia pull listings from the MLS system. These sites are not always up-to-date. They often show properties as being “active” when they are actually under contract. There is also usually a delay. It takes most sites 24-48 hours to “sync” new listings to their website. By allowing us to set you up on a search in our MLS system you will get the most up-to-date information, as well as see properties within minutes of when they are listed. This gives you an advantage over other buyers so that you will be one of the first to see new listings.

Finding properties you love is the fun part.  Please put a heart beside the ones you love in the MLS Portal that we sent to you and we will be able to see the properties you selected.  Lets start looking either in person or by video tour.  We make it easy for you. If you can’t get to a property to view it we can view it for you, make a video and we can even talk with you from the property so that you can interact with us and ask questions.  We make it possible to buy a property virtually.  You don’t have to be present for any part of the property search, inspections or closing.  Everything can be done by video, electronic signature for contract documents, phone, email and the closing attorney can overnight a closing package to you to sign in front of a Notary.  Your comfort and ease in the process is our main concern.

Once you are under contract on a property please send a copy of the contract to your mortgage lender. If you have selected a different lender from the one who sent us the preapproval letter please update your Buyer’s Agent and your Closing Attorney with the new lender’s contact information.

Inspections are very important for any type of Real Estate.  Remember, no home, building or piece of land is perfect and all inspection reports have areas noted for improvement. The focus should be on the big ticket items like survey issues, structural issues, HVAC system, plumbing, electrical and roof. As your “Buyer’s Agent” we negotiate repairs with the “Seller’s Agent” of the property. Your Buyer’s Agent will work with you to create a list of the most important items that you want the seller to address and we will present that to the seller’s agent. Your inspections and your Due Diligence Request (Repair Request) need to be completed at least 7 days before your Due Diligence Date so that there is time to negotiate with the seller and allow them time to get quotes for the needed repairs.  With a little work our goal is to get some of the larger issues on your inspection report taken care of by the seller so that you are comfortable moving forward with the purchase.  Please note this advice: Don’t ask for every little thing on the inspection report to be repaired by the seller. Only ask for the items that are truly a big deal.  No home is perfect and if you are buying a home that has been lived in there will be lots of small items that are to be expected in most any home.  You are likely to get more of what you want if the sellers sees your request as “Reasonable”.

Hopefully this helps you understand the process a little more. Just know we are here for you and we do our best to make the experience as stress free as possible.

Information we need from you to make an offer

  • Preapproval Letter from your financial institution stating you can get the loan for the offer price OR Proof of Funds if you are paying cash.  Proof of funds can be a letter from your financial institution stating you have the cash available for the amount of the offer or bank statement (account number/social security number marked out please).  If using a mortgage loan and a substantial cash deposit both a Preaproval Letter and Proof of Funds Letter is needed to give the seller confidence that the deal will close.
  • The Offer Amount is the price you are willing to pay for the property. In this “Seller’s Market” we recommend going in with your highest offer first if the home is new on market.  Homes are selling as soon as they hit the market in many cases and most homes are selling over list price.  Vacant Land seems to have more negotiation room unless it has water on the property.  Water makes some land sell fast and high.  Offices and Commercial Spaces are in high demand.  Farms are also in high demand and usually go under contract with a buyer fast.  Keep this in mind when you are considering your offer price.
  • Full Legal Names of purchasers as noted on your drivers license or other official identification
  • Amount of Due Diligence Money you are putting down. This money goes toward the purchase when you close on the property but is given directly to the seller.  This money is NOT Refundable.  Due Diligence Money is important to show you are a very serious buyer.
  • Amount of Earnest Money you are putting down.  This money is held by your closing attorney in their trust account and goes toward your purchase at closing.  Earnest money is refundable until 5pm on your Due Diligence Date if a written termination form is signed by buyer and sent to the listing agent and all buyers and sellers sign the termination to release the Earnest Money back to buyer.
  • Due Diligence Date and Closing date are needed for the offer.  The Due Diligence Date is the day by which you will either terminate the contract or continue towards closing.  To get an appraisal, inspection and survey you will likely need at least 3 weeks out for the Due Diligence Date (consult with your lender for this date).  The Closing Date (consult with your lender for this date)  is the date selected to sign all closing documents at your closing attorney’s office or in front of a notary if you choose to have your closing attorney mail the closing package to your location.  Note: You do not own the property at signing.  Ownership is conveyed when the closing attorney Records the Deed at the Courthouse.  
  • Closing Attorney Name.  If you do not know who you want to use we have a preferred list of closing attorneys. NC uses Closing Attorneys to represent the buyer in real estate transactions.
  • If your Offer is Contingent on Selling another property we need a copy of the Signed Contract, copy of that buyer’s preapproval letter and any Back-Up Contracts on your property to go with the Offer to Purchase.  The listing agent will need these documents to present with the offer to seller at once.

Outline of what happens when you go under contract on a property with a Mortgage Loan:

  • Immediately contact your lender and make sure they have a copy of the contract
  • Your Lender will order appraisal and they will likely ask you to pay for this in advance
  • Deliver earnest money check (Certified Bank Check Please) to your closing attorney made out to their Trust Account
  • Send Due Diligence money to the seller (Certified Bank Check/specific address will be provided by your Buyer’s Agent)
  • Closing attorney will begin the title search on the property
  • Your Buyer’s Agent will work with you to fill out the Professional Services Form & coordinate your inspections.
  • Lender will provide you with a copy of the appraisal (please let us know when you receive it as we do not get a copy)
  • Lender will probably ask for more documents during the process. Please be prepared to get documents to them as soon as possible
  • Lender will provide you with a Closing Disclosure at least 3 days prior to closing for you to review. Your lender does not send this to us but we need to verify that it is correct.  Please send us a copy to review with you.
  • Closing Attorney will have you on the schedule to close on your contract closing date as long as the lender is ready. If you find out that your lender will not be ready it is urgent that you notify the closing attorney and your Buyer’s Agent.
  • If you need a specific day/time for closing please coordinate with your Closing Attorney’s office and let your Buyer’s Agent know the day and time.  Also, if you can’t be present at closing your closing attorney needs to know this several weeks before to prepare  a “Mail Away Closing Package”.  This package must be signed in front of a Notary and overnighted back to your closing attorney.

****Please remember that the work completed by the appraiser, attorney & inspectors/service providers has to be paid even if you terminate the contract****

Please let your Buyer’s Agent know if you have any questions or concerns.


The Carswell Team at RE/MAX A-Team

1811 N Center St Hickory, NC 28601

(currently we are working remotely due to COVID-19)

Mortgage Lending for Homes, land

and Multi-Family properties under 4 units:

Alcova Mortgage/Nicole Carson: 828-315-0110

Highlands Mortgage/Andrew Aaron: 828-446-3971   https://highlandsmortgage.com/agents/andrew-aaron/

Atlantic Bay Mortgage/Ruth Shrader: 828-291-0562 www.ruthshrader.com


Mortgage Lender for Commercial properties and multi-family properties:

Carolina Trust

Mortgage Lender for Farms:

Carolina Farm Credit: https://carolinafarmcredit.com/home.aspx

Once you have your loan qualification letter you will be ready to make an offer. The Carswell Team is available to help you find the right property.

NC Offer to Purchase paperwork and what terms mean:

Offer Price:  What a buyer is willing to pay for the property

Contract Price: What a seller agrees to accept by signing the buyers Offer to Purchase.

Due Diligence Fee:  This is non-refundable money paid directly to the seller.  This money does go toward the purchase.  Paid by certified bank check (no cash) and must be from the buyer’s account if there is a mortgage loan.  Lenders require a paper trail to make sure the money came from the borrower.

Earnest Money Deposit: The earnest money deposit may be refunded to the buyer if the buyer terminates the purchase contract in writing before 5:00 on the “Due Diligence Date”.  Paid by check (no cash) and must be from the buyer’s account if there is a mortgage loan.  Lenders require a paper trail to make sure the money came from the borrower.

Due Diligence Date: This is a negotiable date on the contract. During the due diligence period the buyer should have the home inspected and appraised.  This is also the time to make sure that the mortgage loan is moving forward and the lender has everything needed for a successful loan closing.  The buyer must communicate with their lender to make sure the appraiser goes out in a timely manner and that the appraisal comes back before the due diligence date.  Legally the lender does not have to talk to the buyer’s Realtor.  The buyer is the client of the lender and there are privacy laws in place to protect the buyer.  If you are paying cash please be sure that the cash is available by checking with the financial institution holding the funds. Let them know when you will need the money transferred to your closing attorney.

Closing or Settlement Date: This is the day that you sign at the closing attorneys office or in front of a notary in the event of a “mail away” closing.  The property is not transferred to the buyer until the attorney records the deed at the courthouse.  Signing at the attorney’s office is not the official closing.  The deed must be recorded and then the keys are available to the buyer.  The buyer’s closing attorney represents the buyer and there are privacy laws in place to protect the buyer.  Never assume the closing attorney has informed the Realtor of anything.  The attorney’s loyalty is to their client.

Can a buyer back out of the NC Offer to Purchase?  Consult the real estate attorney representing you in the purchase of the property as only an attorney can interpret legal documents.

Can a seller back out of the NC Offer to Purchase?  Consult the real estate attorney of your choice to represent you as a seller.  The attorney hired by the buyer does not represent the seller. If you plan to back out of a contract it is very important to have legal representation.