Belmont is a great area and Gaston County is the next Charlotte-region boom area as builders are pouring millions into projects along that I-85 and West Blvd. corridors. Of course, meet with a mortgage banker that is licensed to lend in NC and then sit down with an agent who will take the time to go through understanding your needs, wants, and desires and share with you about the market here. This is as important step as the agent you choose will most likely not know you from Adam so getting to know you first and your goals helps to put you both on the same page.
Also, its important for them to share with you about what's happening in the market regionally and specifically in Belmont. Overall, our market is very healthy as we're sustaining an 8% appreciation year over year in spite of the mortgage hurdles. There are pockets of foreclosure activity but no where near the levels being experienced in cities of our size and that is one of the many why we're appreciating while others are stagnant or on the decline.
Understand too that we here don't have transactional brokers like you guys have in Florida and that's important to know exactly who's looking out for you.
Finally in your first steps, find a good website to search for real estate on. Trulia is great but it doesn't represent all of the listings available in eastern Gaston county. My site and others feature listings as they are updated daily and can notify you of a new listing that matches your criteria. That helps save you time.
Remember to interview a few agents to find one that works well with you. Its is our priviledge to assist you, not a burden on you or your agent. Hope this helps.