Charlotte North Carolina Skyline With Blue Sky

Living In North Carolina: Facts, Pros And Cons, Plus Tips For Buying A House

Erica Gellerman5-Minute Read
December 29, 2020

When you’re looking for a change of scenery and you’re ready to make a big move, North Carolina might top your shortlist for places to consider. North Carolina not only offers an excellent quality of life, but the scenery is beautiful — you can go from the mountains to the beach in the same day.

Ready to learn more about moving to North Carolina? This article will help walk you through everything you need to know.

Why Move To North Carolina?

So many people love the Tar Heel State, and it’s easy to understand why. From the beautiful mountains to the fun-filled cities, North Carolina offers a little something for everyone. And with the steady job growth in the region, North Carolina real estate can be a solid investment. Not only will you likely watch your property value appreciate, but if you’re a landlord, you’ll probably get a healthy ROI on your investment property.

Top Real Estate Cities In North Carolina

There are a lot of wonderful cities in North Carolina. Here are the five top real estate cities in North Carolina.

Charlotte

Charlotte reflection in water

The second-largest banking center in the country, Charlotte residents enjoy many opportunities in the financial industry. But it’s not all banking — Charlotte is home to professional sports teams in basketball, baseball, hockey and football.

Charlotte Real Estate Listings

Charlotte Trend Report

Raleigh

Raleigh Skyscrapers

Looking to work in tech but you don’t want to live in Silicon Valley? Raleigh has become the tech hub on the east coast. Part of Research Triangle, an area made of up Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, you’ll find multiple top-rated universities.

Raleigh Real Estate Listings

Raleigh Trend Report

Winston-Salem

Winston Salem Skyline

Just west of Greensboro and north of Charlotte is Winston-Salem, a former hub for the tobacco industry. Winston-Salem has undergone a revitalization and now has a lively downtown with restaurants, apartment buildings, and fun public events (like summer concerts).

Winston-Salem Real Estate Listings

Winston-Salem Trend Report

Greensboro

Greensboro Baseball Field

Just 20 minutes from Winston-Salem is Greensboro. The city makes good on its name with multiple green spaces and plenty of public parks for residents to enjoy.

Greensboro Real Estate Listings

Greensboro Trend Report

Wilmington

Wilmington Waterfront Bridge

Head out to the coast and enjoy all that the city of Wilmington offers. This picturesque town is the gateway to some of North Carolina’s beautiful beaches, including Wrightsville beach. Any fans of the TV show “One Tree Hill” will recognize the scenery — the show was filmed here.

Wilmington Real Estate Listings

Wilmington Trend Report

Pros And Cons Of Relocating To North Carolina

Before making a big relocation to another state, it’s important to take a look at the pros and cons of living in that state.

Pros

For the most part, the pros of North Carolina outweigh the cons. But that does depend on your personal situation and your preferences.

  • Moderate temperatures: if you’re not excited to live in a place that gets a lot of snow, North Carolina’s moderate winter temperatures will appeal to you.
  • Low cost Of living: the state overall boasts lower cost of living and your money will stretch farther here.
  • Culture: with plenty of museums, concert venues, and gourmet restaurants, you’ll find plenty of culture here.
  • Beautiful natural elements: whether you want to spend the weekend in the mountains or at the beach, you can do it without leaving the state of North Carolina.
  • Good public universities: if you have kids who might attend a university someday, North Carolina offers some excellent choices.

Cons

While North Carolina is a fantastic state, there are some negatives that might make it less appealing to some people.

  • Hurricanes: while North Carolina has moderate weather during the winter, it does get hit with hurricanes during the summer and fall.
  • Poor education system: depending on what ranking you use, North Carolina’s education system isn’t usually in the top 50%.
  • Little public transportation: if you’re hoping to hop around the state via train or bus, you might have some difficulty. North Carolina doesn’t have an easy to use public transportation system running through the state.
  • High crime rates: North Carolina has higher crime rates than many other states in the country (for example, they are the state with the 19th highest crime rating on Statista).

Tips For Buying A House In North Carolina

If you’re relocating to North Carolina or buying your first home, it’s important to understand the nuances of real estate in the state. Not everything works as it does in the state you’re moving from.

Find A Trusted North Carolina Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate agent who understands the market and can explain how things work in the area can be a great help. To find a great agent, consider working with a Rocket HomesSM Verified Partner Agent.

Understand The North Carolina Market

Buying a great home can come down to patience and timing. If you’re in a seller’s market, it means there are more buyers than available inventory and prices will be on the rise. In a buyer’s market, the opposite is true. There are more homes available and buyers will have their pick (and can potentially negotiate a lower price.

A good agent can help you understand what the market is like in North Carolina and how the specific market is performing in your area.

Know Your Financing Options

If you’re a first-time home buyer in North Carolina, you may be able to take advantage of the NC Home Advantage Mortgage. This program offers stable, fixed-rate mortgages as well as down payment assistance — up to 5% of the purchase price.

Other financing options that aren’t North Carolina specific include FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

Look Into Hurricane Insurance Coverage

Because hurricanes can cause extreme damage, you’ll want to be covered in case disaster strikes. Some homeowners insurance covers windstorm damage but it’s important to check your specific policy to be sure you’re protected.

Buy In The Spring For Selection, Winter For Savings

Timing might be everything when it comes to buying a home in North Carolina. Spring and summer do give you more options to buy a home because that’s typically when the majority of the inventory hits the market. But looking in the fall and winter may mean that you can score a deal, as buying during these seasons usually means a drop in prices.

Plan To Pay Average Closing Costs

When buying a home, you will have to pay closing costs. It’s important to estimate these closing costs so you have an idea of exactly how much out of pocket you’ll be responsible for paying. According to Business Insider, average closing costs in North Carolina are at the lower end, when compared with average closing costs nationally.

Expect Low Property Taxes

You’ll pay property taxes for as long as you own a home, and in North Carolina those property taxes will be lower than average. The effective property tax rate is 0.85%, the 20th lowest tax rate in the U.S.

Understand The Role Of Attorneys At Closing

When you close on a property, expect to see a real estate attorney in attendance. In some other states, escrow or title companies handle closing paperwork. In North Carolina, real estate attorneys fill that role.

The Bottom Line On Living In North Carolina

Now that you have more information on the pros and cons of living in North Carolina, you can head into the home buying process with more context. Learn more about home buying and next step by reading our home buying articles.

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    Erica Gellerman

    Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom and more.