If you've made an offer then you should be applying for a mortgage as you have a defined period of time (the due diligence period) listed in your Offer to Purchase and Contract in which to secure your loan. It sounds to me as if you're applying for a mortgage and this is why the lender is rightfully requesting money.
In North Carolina buyers use attorneys to close transactions, you don't have a choice and you should have had the entire home buying procedure explained to you before you ever made an offer.
I read your email and shudder, as it's apparent you don't really know what the process is, what your legal obligations are, and what the financial risks to you are. You don't seem to be working with anyone here in North Carolina who seems to know what you should be doing and I can easily see your transaction ending in disaster for you and everyone involved.
You need either an experienced buyer broker (Which it doesn't sound like you have) or at this point an experienced real estate attorney to represent you and to answer your questions and help keep you out of financial trouble. Stop wasting time on the Internet, and find yourself an experienced attorney today. Your lender might be able to help you with some names and numbers.
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There is a difference between pre qualifying before you start shopping and a formal pre approval once you have a contract on a house. The first requires no appraisal the second does.
In years past you could pay for the appraisal at closing; however the appraisers got burned by those buyers who, for whatever reason, did not close.
It is very common for these items to be paid in advance.
As for the attorney, NC does not use a title company to close escrow. It is done by an attorney who does basically the same thing as the title company.
Some lenders, if they really want your buisness, will waive the Credit fee.
A year or two ago, some lenders were ofering free Appraisals.
To compare two Lenders and get their GFE; maybe this is the cost.
Your REALTOR should explain why the lender is asking for this. I've not seen this in my area, but different lenders have different requirements.
As for needing an attorney to close, we are an attorney state vs. a closing company state. The attorney does the same work and is required to close properties in North Carolina.
Hope this is helpful!
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