Traditional home in Grove Park, Asheville, NC

How to Land Your Dream Home in Asheville

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The Asheville real estate market is fast-moving and challenging for buyers. Inventory is low, while competition and prices are high. By following these tips, you’re more likely to land your dream home in Asheville!

Connect with a Realtor.

Of course, I’m biased…but I believe connecting with a Realtor is the best start for finding a home in Asheville. A local agent (like me!) can connect you with specific lenders who may be more adept at dealing with your individual situation. She can also start keeping an eye out for homes and areas that might be of interest to you. A well-connected agent can even make recommendations for temporary lodging, childcare, recreation, dining, and more.

Get pre-approved with a local lender.

This is absolutely imperative!! In order to make an offer on any property in Asheville, you’re going to need a pre-approval letter (NOT a pre-qualification letter…I’ll explain shortly!). I highly recommend that you connect with a local lender for the following reasons:

  • They are easier to get in touch with if challenges arise.
  • They are usually more willing to advocate on your behalf to listing agents.
  • The whole process typically runs a lot more smoothly if you have someone personally committed to helping you (and who wants to get your referrals later!).

In addition, there are certain cases that require a loan officer who knows how to get creative and think outside the box. Here are just a few examples:

  • Buyers with self-employment/1099 income
  • Buyers with a high net worth but limited/no income
  • Buyers who are first responders, teachers and medical professionals (special programs may be available)
  • Buyers who want to purchase investment properties
  • Buyers looking for second homes
  • Buyers who want to buy land and build a home
  • …and much more!

Of course, if you are a cash buyer, you won’t need a lender. You will, however, need proof of funds in the form of a letter from your personal banker or a PDF of your bank statement. I recommend the former, however, to protect your privacy.

Be prepared to pay a due diligence fee on top of your earnest money deposit.

I have been licensed in four different states, and North Carolina is the first one in which I’ve encountered the due diligence fee. This is a fee paid directly to the seller after acceptance of your offer, and is essentially a non-refundable earnest money deposit. You typically cannot get this money back for any reason – unlike the earnest money which you can get back if you cancel within your due diligence period. The fee does apply toward your purchase price at closing, however, so you aren’t just throwing money away.

Because due diligence money is non-refundable, it’s much more compelling to sellers than a large earnest money deposit. In highly competitive offer situations, a high due diligence fee can set your offer apart. A typical due diligence fee might be in the hundreds of dollars up to $1,000-2,000, but I have seen them go up to $10K+ in certain cases. I can help you determine the best option once you’ve selected a home on which to make an offer.

Be aware that you may need additional cash to make up the difference in a low appraisal and your purchase price.

Because of our super competitive market, we are commonly seeing appraisals come in at below the purchase price (sometimes significantly). When this happens, there are a few options worth exploring…but the most straightforward one is for the buyer to pay the difference in the appraised value and the purchase price.

In other words, if you are purchasing a home for $500,000, but the appraised value is only $450,000, you will be required to bring an additional $50,000 cash to closing on top of your down payment and closing costs. This doesn’t happen in every situation, but it’s best to be prepared in case it does.

Be ready to act quickly.

If you look at statistics for the Asheville real estate market, you might be fooled into thinking that homes typically stay on the market for a few weeks before selling. That may be true for certain homes (especially homes over about $1.5mil), but keep in mind that statistics are generally averages or median values.

More affordably priced, well-staged homes in desirable areas will typically sell within a couple of days. Oftentimes, homes are listed toward the end of the week, and they have multiple offers by the end of the weekend. If you are serious about finding a home in Asheville, you must be ready to make an offer!

Buyers closing on a home
Former clients of mine happily closing on their first home!

Understand that it may take some time.

Be prepared for the possibility that there may not be a home on the market that meets your needs right away. Your agent may even need to send letters and do a community outreach to find what you’re looking for. And once you do find a home you love, it may take making a few offers before you get a home under-contract.

Having a great agent who knows the market, communicates well with other agents, and is working hard for you is tantamount to finding your perfect home in Asheville. I would love to help you and welcome complex situations, so please get in touch with me to start your search!

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Lauren Dahl, REALTOR®

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