Pat Brooks, Relocation Director
Steps to Home Buying
Real Estate Terms
County Property Taxes


Our relocation staff has had the pleasure of working with many newcomers to our area over the last 35 years. 

Whether you are moving across the town, state or the nation, call me for relocation assistance and services.



How to Buy a House in Wilkes County


The Agreement
A Get pre-qualified with your lender!  Offer to Purchase and Contract is signed by buyer and accompanied by a deposit of agreeable between Buyers and Sellers. Upon contract acceptance, this is placed in a non-interest bearing account in Broker's Trust Account or Closing Attorney's Escrow Account
  A.1 A typical contingency is obtaining a mortgage.  Usual inspections are termite, whole house, radon, mold, lead paint.
  A.2 Seller agrees to convey by warranty deed.*NOTE foreclosures are typically conveyed by a special deed
  A.3 Average time to closing (transfer of title) is 30 to 60 days, but is negotiable and could be less time depending on parties desire.
  B Offer to Purchase and Contract accepted and signed by seller.
Obtaining The Mortgage
C Buyer submits formal loan application to Lender and signs docs to begin the process.
  D Lender orders credit report and a certified appraisal.
  E Lender approves buyer's credit and property being purchased as collateral for loan.
  F Lender, having certified buyer's employment, approves mortgage application and forwards documentation to buyer's attorney or loan officer.
  G Loan applications for more than 80% LTV (Loan to Value) will require private mortgage insurance approval also.
Closing and Transfer of Title
H Buyer's attorney institutes title search, begins computation of the closing statement and other necessary documentation. An attorney selected by the seller prepares the deed.
  I Termite inspection, component inspections and environmental inspections.
  J Buyer exercises right of pre-closing inspection of property as soon as possible after contract acceptance. 
  K Closing (transfer of title).
  K.1 Held at office of buyer's attorney or lender's office.
  K.2 Usual buyer's closing costs include:  attorney's fees, loan origination fee, appraisal, survey, credit report, title insurance, recording fees, inspection fees and any discount points and pro-rata taxes.
  K.3 Closer completes closing statement, disburses funds, records documents at Register of Deeds office.
  K.4 Husband and wife usually take title as "tenants by the entirety."
  L Buyer takes possession immediately unless otherwise specified in the contract.


AGENCY A legal relationship in which an owner-principal engages a broker-agent in the sale of property or a buyer-principal engages a broker-agent in the purchase of property.


APPLICATION FEE A fee, often not refundable, charged by the lender to cover your application processing costs.


APPRAISAL A formal, written estimate of the current value of your home.


ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) A mortgage which permits the lender to adjust the interest rate upwards or downwards in accordance with a specified index.


APR (Annual Percentage Rate) The cost of your credit expressed as a yearly rate. Pertaining to mortgage, it takes into account interest, points, loan origination fees and any mortgage insurance required by the lender.


ASSESSED VALUE The valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor as the basis of property taxes.


BROKER A person licensed by a state real estate commission to act independently in conducting a real estate brokerage business. Although requirements for a broker's license vary, an individual must usually have at least one year of experience in the industry and pass an examination.


CLOSING COSTS Money paid by borrowers and/or sellers to close a mortgage loan.


CONTINGENCY A condition that must be met before a contract is binding.


DEED A legal document conveying title to a property.


EARNEST MONEY A portion of the down payment given to the seller by a potential buyer indicating the buyer's intent to complete the purchase of the property.


MARKET VALUE The highest price a buyer will pay for a property and the lowest price the seller will accept.


ORIGINATION FEE Fee charged for processing the loan.


PITI "Principal - Interest - Taxes - Insurance." The total of your monthly home loan payment.


POINTS A dollar amount paid to the lender for making the loan. A point is 1 percent of the loan amount; also called discount points.


PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI) Insurance issued to a lender to protect it against loss on a defaulted mortgage loan. Its use is usually limited to loans with high loan-to-value ratios. The borrower pays the premiums.


RATE GUARANTEE (Lock in) A guarantee that the rate in effect on a given date will be the final rate on your loan when closed. Usually expires after a specified period of time.


TERM The number of years before your loan is scheduled to be paid off. The most common terms are 15-year and 30-year.


TITLE A document that is evidence of ownership.


TITLE INSURANCE A policy which protects the lender and/or purchaser against loss due to problems or defects in connection with the title.



Property Taxes In Wilkes County

Most newcomers to our area are pleasantly surprised at our low property taxes. State law requires that each county re-evaluate property every 8 years. The last evaluation in Wilkes was in 2013. It is important to know that tax appraisers do not appraise property in the same method that real estate agents and certified appraisers do. Usually they do not have access to the interior of the home and may not be able to determine quality, basement finished space, etc. Because of this, discrepancies between tax value and market value can occur.

The first thing to consider when computing taxes is whether or not the property is inside the city limits of either Wilkesboro or North Wilkesboro.

If the property is in Wilkes County but not in the city limits of either town, the property will be assessed for a County tax as well as a fire tax. Fire tax rates for the various volunteer fire departments vary between .05 and .14. The County tax rate for the current year is published in July. The current rate is 0.670 per $100.00. See the following example:


Property valued at $125,000 in a fire district with a .05 fire tax would be computed by multiplying 125,000 x-0.720




If the property is in either of the cities, there will be taxes due to the County as above and also to the city in which the home is located. North Wilkesboro's rate is 0.520 and Wilkesboro's is 0.48 per $100.00 valuation. There is no fire tax rate imposed on property inside the city limits.


If you live in the City of Wilkesboro, you would pay 0.48per $100.00 valuation, as well as 0.670 per $100.00 valuation for County Taxes. There would be no fire tax rate added because you live in a paid fire department district (Wilkesboro Fire Department). Example of a home valued at $125,000 x 1.15



x 1.15


If you live in the City of N. Wilkesboro, you would pay 0.520 per $100.00 valuation, as well as 0.670 per $100.00 valuation for Wilkes County. Again, there would be no fire tax since you live in a paid fire department district (N. Wilkesboro Fire Department).


x 1.19


Pro-ration of taxes on closings taking place before the rate is set each year, i.e. between January 1 and June 15, will be based on the previous year's rate.


Tax bills are generally mailed out the first to the middle of August and are not past due until after December 31 although discounts for early payment are offered.


Many people ask what the towns provide for the taxes. City water and sewer are two of the things available in the city limits that is not available in the County. Even in some areas in the city, city sewer is not available. You should be sure to ask whether the home at which you are looking is on a septic system or city sewer.  Septic systems require periodic maintenance, i.e. pumping. Recommendations vary depending on your family size and usage. Be sure to ask for a brochure on septic tanks. Average fee for pumping is in the $175.00- $250.00 range and should be done every 2 - 5 years depending on usage. Failure to maintain your system could result in a costly repair.


In the city, garbage pick-up is free. Outside the city limits, you are responsible for hiring your own waste disposal company, and prices are vary depending on the company.


Your homeowners' insurance policy will be slightly less expensive if you live in the city limits versus out in the County because you live in a paid fire department district as opposed to a volunteer district.


County law enforcement is our Sheriff's Department. North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro also have their own police departments which patrol neighborhoods within the city limits of the two towns.


Personal Property tax on licensed vehicles is charged and collected annually when you pay your registration fee.  It is paid to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.